Eileen Soper

Eric Liddell, 1902 - 1945. Athlete and missionary (About 1925)

About this artwork

This drawing is a study for Soper’s portrait of Eric Liddell, which is also in the National Galleries of Scotland Collections. The portrait was painted in 1925, a year after the runner’s famous victory at the men’s 400 metres at the Paris Olympics. Soper was a family friend and it is no small achievement that he allowed her to paint his portrait as he was a strict evangelical Christian and a pillar of the Scottish Congregational Church, who preached against personal vanity and who disapproved of pictures on religious grounds. No other portraits of him exist.

Eileen Soper

Eileen Soper

Best known as the original illustrator of Enid Blyton's books, Eileen Soper was particularly fond of depicting children and animals. She was born in Enfield, Middlesex, and then moved to Hertfordshire where her artist father, George, created a wildlife sanctuary in their garden. Soper sketched many of the animals living there, including deer and badgers, and made etchings and engravings from an early age. She also wrote several books for children and produced a series of natural history books.