THIS WEBSITE is currently under re-development and content may change or be absent for periods. There will be no blog posts during this time. This work is intended to be complete by mid-February – join the email list (right) to be notified when it is fully up and running again.
This website showcases the work of Annie Louisa Swynnerton, the late-19th and early-20th century portrait, landscape and ‘symbolist’ artist, presenting all works for which images can be found from visits to galleries, private collections, auction houses and sources on the internet.
Annie lived at a time when female artists were generally under-valued by the mainstream, male-dominated art establishment. Access to art school training, gallery representation and art institutions were all generally denied. When women did produce quality work, it was seen as a novelty rather something to be valued in its own right.
Annie broke the mold. She was undeniably gifted and imaginative, but that was a problem in itself. In the words of John Singer Sargent, a leading artists of the day and an admirer of Annie’s work, she was “too good to be popular,” undermining the customary view that only men were capable of creating technically and intellectually meaningful works of art.
Ultimately she did achieve acceptance, in 1923 becoming the first woman to be admitted into the Royal Academy of Arts, and by the end of her artistic life had become recognised internationally. However, having not had the opportunity to build up a large public portfolio of work, her fame rapidly diminished and she has received only limited attention since.
Annie had only one major exhibition in her lifetime, in Manchester Art Gallery in 1923. The same gallery held a second exhibition in 2018-2019, gathering together twenty-eight of her finest paintings to coincide with the centenary of women gaining the right to vote – Annie was a keen supporter of the suffrage movement and had known the Pankhurst family well.
Annie is known to have produced hundreds of paintings in her lifetime, but only forty-three survive in public galleries today and a handful are known from private collections. Images of a further fifty can been found in old publications, bringing the total number of images known to just over one-hundred, although many of these older images are of poor quality.
It would be wonderful to rediscover some of Annie’s lost work … can you help?
If you know of any works of Annie, or believe you may own one, please contact me at the email address below, ideally with an image of the work included. My sole interest is to display the diversity of Annie’s work on this website and shed a little extra light on her artistic career.
No personal information regarding the ownership or location of paintings will be displayed on this website or retained by myself. Original emails are permanently deleted from my email server after retrieval so that there is no electronic trail to image origins.
I’m not an academic researcher, just an interested amateur and occasional artist myself. This site is strictly non-commercial. Any adverts that appear are placed by the web hosting company over which I have no control. Images on this site are water-marked with the site logo to discourage commercial reproduction.
Jonathan Russell – Jan 2019