Annie Swynnerton

I forgot to say that, while I was in Manchester, I went to the art gallery and came across an exhibition of paintings by Annie Swynnerton (1844-1933). Some were familiar, but it was fascinating to see so many together, to follow how her art developed over the decades, to admire her skill and focus . . . and all this accomplished when women didn’t do such things. Not surprisingly, she was a feminist and a suffragist.

Her portraits were outstanding. Some of the paintings of children were too sentimental for my taste, and the allegorical ones were so-so. Her depiction of Italian light . . . well, nowadays we all know what the Mediterranean is like, but in Swynnerton’s work you really do experience the delight of someone brought up in Victorian Cottonopolis on discovering pure sunlight.

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