Rhind, Ethel (1877–1952), mosaic and stained-glass artist, was born 1 December 1877 in Arrah, Bihar, India, daughter of Robert Hunter Rhind, an Edinburgh-born civil engineer in the Indian civil service, and Hannah Rhind (née Tate), a native of Whiteabbey, Co. Antrim, and a relative of the Gore-Booth family of Lissadell, Co. Sligo. She was educated at the Londonderry High School and went on to study at the School of Art, Belfast, where she was awarded an art teacher's certificate (1900). She received a scholarship (1902) to study the technique of mosaic under the tuition of a Miss Holloway at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art, and while there was an early student of Alfred E. Child who had been appointed (1901), from Christopher Whall's studio in England, to teach the craft of stained glass. Her student work was shown at the Irish international exhibition (1907). Sarah Purser (qv) opened her glass workshop, An Túr Glaoine, in January 1903 and Child worked there as a part-time manager, thereby establishing a direct link between the art school and the developing Irish arts and crafts industry. Many of his students went on to work in the glass workshop. Rhind was admitted to the studio (1907/8) to work both in stained glass and opus sectile (the setting of a mosaic of flat glass pieces into plaster), a craft at which she excelled.
As early as 1907 she installed her window ‘Harmony and Fortitude’ in the Lissadell church for the Gore-Booths. Her window in the Old Court chapel, Strangford, Co. Down, won first prize at the RDS (1908). She designed and painted many stained-glass windows, mainly for the Church of Ireland, including three two-light windows illustrating parables (1909, 1922, 1925) for the presbyterian church, York Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. The Honan chapel, built in the grounds of UCC (1916), contains the best of Irish craftsmanship, and Rhind's ‘St Carthage’ is one of a series of windows depicting patron saints of the dioceses within the Munster region. At this period, she was living with her sister Sophia, a secretary at the RIA, at 39 Pembroke Road, Dublin, not far from the workshop in Pembroke St. When Purser queried her staff on the hours spent in ‘the shop’, Rhind replied (18 December 1918) that she was making every effort to get to work earlier, and was keeping a book to record her times of arrival and departure. ‘The shop’, as Purser called it, was cold and often uninviting in winter; and even she recalled how, in the early days, they gathered close to the kiln for heat.
Rhind was a talented craftswoman, and the artistic principles governing the glass workshop allowed her the freedom to follow her own ideas through. She also completed designs made by Wilhelmina Geddes (qv) who had left the studio (1922) due to ill health. She was a member of the Guild of Craft Workers since 1917 and many saw her work in opus sectile as her most significant contribution to the reputation of Purser's studio. Her designs in this medium were unique and showed a deep understanding of the techniques involved. The stations of the cross made in St Enda's church, Spiddal, Co. Galway (1916–28), are unusual in that they are irregular in size and unframed. For the stations made in Loughrea cathedral (1929–33) she exploited the medium's static, archaic quality to maximum effect, remembering that each station required a moment of contemplation. She used subtle hues against the neutral tone of the wall and each station was framed with a narrow border of Connemara marble. She completed another set of stations (1934–6) for the Franciscan friary, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Also in opus sectile is the war memorial ‘Archangel Michael’ (1921) on the exterior wall of All Saints' church, Grangegorman, Dublin.
A tapestry, ‘Smuainteach’, designed by Rhind (1912) and woven by the Dún Emer Guild in Dundrum, is in the National Museum of Ireland. Many of her designs for stained glass and opus sectile were exhibited at the Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland (1910, 1917, 1921) and two examples of her stained glass can be found in America, one in the Sacred Heart Convent chapel, Newton, near Boston, Mass., and the other at Brophy College, Arizona. Rhind retired from the studio in 1939 and died 6 March 1952, aged 75, in a nursing home in Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.