Born in London, Elinor Bellingham-Smith was the daughter of the surgeon and art collector Guy Bellingham-Smith and niece of the artist Hugh Bellingham-Smith. Having studied music and dancing she decided to concentrate on art and studied at the Slade 1928-31 under Henry Tonks. In 1931 she married the painter Rodrigo Moynihan. During the 1930s she held shows with the London Group and at the Leicester Galleries where she held her first one-man show in 1948. She also worked as an illustrator providing material for Shell, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. In 1951 she painted The Island for the Festival of Britain, the painting then being acquired by the Arts Council. She was noted for her sensitive figurative work and for landscapes of the Fens and East Anglia where she later lived. Works by her are in the collection of the Tate Gallery and many provincial galleries and a Memorial Exhibition of her work was held at the New Grafton Gallery in 1989. Restless Lives: The Bohemian World of Rodrigo and Elinor Moynihan, by their son John Moynihan, was published in 2002.
The collection of John Moynihan, the artist's son.