Like many Budleigh residents of the past, the artist Cecil Elgee had an Anglo-Indian background and it was for this that her name will be known by those familiar with 'Costumes and Characters in the Days of the British Raj', the book which appeared just before her death. But her work as a painter and illustrator covered a wide range of subjects.
Born in 1904, Cecil Elgee, better known by her family nickname as Moppie or Mops, went out to India to join her parents in Bombay in 1922 when she was 18 and studied at the Bombay School of Art. On her return to England in 1927, the family settled in Budleigh Salterton and she continued her art studies at the Exeter Art School, founded in 1854 as part of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
During World War 2 she served as a Naval VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) at the Royal Naval Hospital in Plymouth. She went through the Plymouth Blitz and at the end of the war she was one of the twelve Naval VADs in the Victory Parade in London. When demobilised she returned home to look after and subsequently nursed her elderly father and later her widowed sister.
Working from her home at 9 Copplestone Road in Budleigh Salterton she proved to be a prolific and versatile artist. Her work was always in demand, especially when she portrayed animals - both family pets, and working animals. Cecil Elgee died in 1984 but her name lives on in the Cecil Elgee Memorial prize, awarded by the Budleigh Salterton Art Club.
The latest acquisition is the fifth of her watercolour paintings in Fairlynch’s collection.
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