Esther Lahr

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Esther Lahr, 1925

Esther Lahr, 1925
Oil on canvas, 50.8 cm x 40.6 cm

Esther Lahr (1897–1970) was born Esther Argeband into a family of Jewish refugees in London. On leaving school, aged thirteen, she worked at Rothman's cigarette factory in the East End, where she was an organiser for the International Workers of the World movement. She was also a member of Sylvia Pankhurst's Workers Socialist Federation, and was a well-known open-air speaker. She had informally changed her name to Archer before, in 1922, she married Charles Lahr (1885–1971), who had left his birthplace in Germany in 1905, to avoid military service, and whom she had met at the Socialist Club in Charlotte Street. She bought a bookshop at 68 Red Lion Street, Holborn, which she later ran with her husband as the Progressive Bookshop. She was a close friend of William Roberts's wife, Sarah, and Roberts designed covers for her husband's literary magazine the New Coterie, and also contribued illustrations for the books which Lahr published under his wife's maiden name, E. Archer, to avoid anti-German prejudice.
PROVENANCE: Tate Gallery (T01184, presented in 1970)
EXHIBITION HISTORY: London Group (1) 1926

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