Papers of Dora Gordine

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This is a small collection consisting of 5 items:

  • Ars Asiatica, 1931, vol. XVI, Les Collections Khmeres du Musee Albert Sarraut a Phnom-Penh, Par George Groslier. Inside front cover bears inscription "Richard Hare, Dorich House, Kingston Vale, SW15".
  • A sheet of paper marked "Slides, Ars Asiatica" with plate details in the same hand.
  • A receipt from Lloyds Bank to Hon. Mrs. D.G. Hare.
  • A loose plate with photograph of Buddha from Pangkalan, Ipoh, Perak".
  • A black & white photograph inscribed on verso with "Malay Head, Dora Gordine, Town Hall, Singapore".

Administrative / Biographical History

Dora Gordine was born in Latvia, which at that time was a province within the Russian Empire, of Jewish parents. Her exact date of birth she took care to keep secret and cultivated a mystique about her past. She grew up in Estonia where she trained as a sculptor, and lived both in Paris (1924-1929) and the Far East (1930-1935) before settling in London in the 1930s. In November 1936 she married the Hon. Richard Gilbert Hare (5 September 1907 – 1966), son of Richard Granville Hare, 4th Earl of Listowel and Freda Vanden-Bempde-Johnstone. They created and lived at Dorich House, London. She also created studio houses in Paris, Singapore, and Highgate, London.

Her career as a sculptor was somewhat diminished by the outbreak of the Second World War. Richard Winstedt, then Director of the Royal Asiatic Society asked her to give a series of lectures at the Society between 1940 and 1944 on Asian Sculptures. She also contributed a series of Articles to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society between 1943 and 1947. This patronage also opened up other lecturing opportunities.

During the 1940s/50s Gordine's work was exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the Society of Portrait Sculptors and elsewhere. Bronzes from this time have ironic or humorous titles, relating to the pose, such as 'Great Expectations' or 'Mischief' and, of an RAF Officer, 'Above Cloud'. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors in 1949. In 1948 she was commissioned to produce a sculpture to stand in the new mother and baby unit at Holloway Prison in north London.

Her husband, Richard Hare died suddenly of a heart attack in 1966. Gordine continued to live and work at Dorich House until her death in December 1991.

Arrangement

Due to the small nature of the Collection the items have been listed individually at file level.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the archivist. nc@royalasiaticsociety.org The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID

Acquisition Information

It is unknown how this material entered the Collection. It was probably in the period of 1941-1947 when Dora Gordine lectured at the Royal Asiatic Society and submitted articles to the Journal.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued in February 2017 by Nancy Charley, Royal Asiatic Society Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Appraisal Information

It is unknown how this material entered the Collection. No original order was available so the material was listed sequentially.

Related Material

The Royal Asiatic Society holds within its Collections:

  • Bronze Sculpture of the head of Sir Richard Winstedt (1878-1966) by Dora Gordine (Head Catalogue No.02.005). Winstedt was a colonial administrator, Professor of Malay at SOAS, University of London, and President of the Royal Asiatic Society. The sculpture, created in 1943-44, is 1/4, black patina and was first exhibited at the Royal Academy of London in May 1944. The circumstances of its acquisition by the RAS is unknown.
  • Portrait of Professor Charles A. Storey, signed in pencil by Dora Gordine. The portrait is 60.5 x 49 cm and dates to c.1960. The circumstances of its acquisition by the RAS are unknown but it probably came into the Society after Storey's death in 1967 when he bequeathed his estate to the Society.

Dora Gordine was invited by Sir Richard Winstedt to lecture at the Royal Asiatic Society. Some of these lectures became articles in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society:

  • The Beauty of Indian Sculpture , JRAS, 1941, pp.42-48 with 7 plates
  • A Lecture on the Sculpture of Indochina, Siam and Java , JRAS, 1942, pp. 132-138 with 5 plates.

Dora Gordine further contributed to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society with a series of short articles called Masterpieces of Oriental Art which appeared in the JRAS between 1943 and 1947.

The RAS Library holds a copy of Dora Gordine: Sculptor, Artist, Designer by Jonathan Black and Brenda Martin, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2007 in which the Richard Winstedt sculpture is listed.