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Beryl de Zoete (1879-1962), Orientalist and critic

Sitter in 2 portraits
Born in London in 1879 into a family of Dutch descent. Trained originally in ballet, she advocated eurythmics (rhythmic gymnastics). She was interested in dance ethnology, travelling to see dance in different cultures. In 1935-6 she went to Bali, working with the photographer and film-maker Walter Spies and they published a book, Dance and Drama in Bali (1937). She went on to study Hindu dance in Southern India and Ceylon. Married in 1907, she practised celibacy and vegetarianism but it broke down. Thereafter her partner was the translator of Chinese poetry Arthur Whaley. She lived with him from 1936 until her death. She produced articles about dance, and was on the fringes of the Bloomsbury circle.

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Beryl de Zoete

by Cecil Beaton
bromide print on white card mount, 1941
NPG x14058


Beryl de Zoete

by Rachel Pearsall Conn ('Ray') Strachey (née Costelloe)
oil on board, 1925-1937
NPG D258