American-born painter, patron, and hostess who became a British citizen in 1916. She was born at Newport, Rhode Island, and settled in England with her wealthy socialite parents in 1879. In 1894 she went to Paris, where she studied for several years under Carrière (see académie) and met her lifelong companion, the painter Anna Hope (‘Nan’) Hudson (1869–1957), who was also American-born. ‘They were basically two independent, individual women, whose mutual love and understanding rescued them from the loneliness of spinsterhood’ (Wendy Baron, Miss Ethel Sands and Her Circle, 1977). Sands's father died in 1888 and her mother in 1896, leaving her a substantial fortune that enabled her to spend lavishly on entertaining. From 1898 to 1920 her main home was the Manor House at Newington in Oxfordshire, but she also spent much time in London and France.

Text source: A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press)

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