Tudor-Hart’s precise relationship with the Communist Parties in Austria and Britain is shrouded in mystery, but she may have been an active member as early as 1925. In London, she moved in circles closely connected to the Party, occasionally photographing its demonstrations. The Communist Party’s strong anti-fascist politics attracted the sympathy of a number of exiled artists and intellectuals and Tudor-Hart was an important contact, known for her hospitality. Comradely networks were close, secretive, and after the Second World War increasingly embattled.
Alfredda Brilliant Sculpting Paul Robeson, London, Owen Logan, Edith Tudor-Hart, 1939 − ¬© Photograph by Edith Tudor-Hart
From the mid-1930s, the Communist Party attempted to broaden its policies, appealing to the anti-fascist sympathies of a wider public. This so-called ‘Popular Front’ de-radicalised the Party and was ultimately directed from Moscow. However, it generated extensive support for progressive causes, most significantly the collection of aid for Republican forces fighting the Spanish Civil War. Faced with the scale of the Nazi threat few Communists dissented from Popular Front politics and culture. Like Tudor-Hart herself, most of her comrades toed the party line, whatever their private misgivings.