▪The Suffolk Ropes

If geneticists are looking for proof that a gene-pool can often concentrate certain talents, it might be worth their looking at the Rope Family.
As family research into Marga’s life continues, it becomes very clear that many of her immediate relatives were more than usually accomplished and strong-minded.
It is also interesting to note that most of these gifted relatives were women.

The Suffolk side

The artistic gifts in Marga’s extended paternal family first become most clear with George Thomas Rope (1846-1929), Marga’s paternal uncle.
The paternal branch of her family was based in Suffolk (her father, Henry, left Suffolk as a young man, to set up in practice in Shrewsbury).

The wealth of talent among the Suffolk Ropes is evidenced in the work ‘Suffolk Painters’, which lists no fewer than six artists related by blood to Marga! See them listed below.
The most famous of them are Ellen Mary Rope, who exhibited internationally, and Margaret Edith Rope, a fellow stained-glass artist.

Ellen Mary Rope – sculptor and designer of ceramics; aunt to Marga. Below you can see her memorial to her nephew.

Dr Henry Rope Triptych

Margaret Edith Aldrich Rope – stained-glass artist who was as well-known as Marga and even more prolific; Marga’s cousin
Dorothy Anne Aldrich Rope – another cousin, almost exactly the same age as Marga; she pursued her art career (sculpture & ceramics) by moving to London with Ellen Mary (her and Marga’s aunt). It’s possible that Marga and she shared lodgings in the early days in London
George Thomas Rope – Marga’s uncle, who exhibited at the Royal Academy in his lifetime, and whose landscape and wildlife watercolours can still be seen today at Ipswich Museum & Art Gallery.
Edith Dorothy Rope – aunt to Marga
Emmeline Anna Rope – Marga’s first cousin once removed

Yes, it’s possible that genteel Edwardian ladies may have had few other permissible outlets than art for their ambitions, but for the majority of them to also achieve national profiles is surely unusual…
Whether through the influence of genetics or environment, or both, this is certainly an outstanding pool of artistic sensibilities and talent!

The other notable characteristic of the women listed here is that all of them chose to remain unmarried (as did Marga).
Is it possible that these women, who lived at a time when women’s emancipation was on the rise, chose deliberately to eschew the doubtful privileges of marriage, and also reinforced each other’s choice? If so, it shows quite a collective strength of mind…

Shrewsbury relatives

A similar pattern emerges with Marga’s maternal extended family, based in Shrewsbury, though, in this instance, it is a startling sense of drive and ambition that emerges rather than an artistic sense.
But, yet, again, it is the women who stand out most.

(An accompanying Shrewsbury Relatives post is in the process of being written. Watch this space.)

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