1923 Exhibition Catalogue


Annotated transcript of the exhibition catalogue, ‘PAINTINGS by Mrs. Swynnerton, A.R.A.,” held at Manchester Art Gallery, July 1923.


  • The Right Honourable the LORD MAYOR (Councillor WILLIAM CUNDIFF)
  • Chairman – Alderman TODD, J.P.
  • Deputy-Chairman – Alderman CARTER, O.B.E.
  • Alderman Sir CHARLES BEHRENS, J.P
  • Alderman GOLDSCHMIDT, J.P.
  • Alderman DERWENT SIMPSON, J.P.
  • Councillor BEEDLEY
  • Councillor WALTER FLINN
  • Councillor HILL
  • Councillor LARMUTH
  • Councillor LITTON
  • Councillor PARK
  • Councillor SUTTON, J.P.
  • Councillor WESTCOTT, O.B.E., J.P.
  • Professor Sir W. BOYD DAWKINS, F.R.S.
  • Professor JAMES TAIT, F.B.A.
  • Curator: LAWRENCE HAWARD, M.A.
  • Assistant Curator: WILLIAM BATHO

The Art Gallery Committee desire to express their gratitude to all those who have generously lent works to the Exhibition. 


Mrs. Swynnerton is no exception to the general rule that the milestones in an artist’s career are formed by acts rather than by facts. An official biography would have little to record in her case beyond the fairly regular production during a long career of a number of pictures, many of which, as this catalogue shows, have found homes in public institutions as well as private houses. To the notable list of Art Galleries fortunate enough to possess pictures by Mrs. Swynnerton should be added three to which, mainly on grounds of distance, it was impossible to make application for a loan. These three are the Melbourne National Art Gallery which owns her ”Hope,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art [incorrect, the Brookly Museum is the correct institution] in New York which has “A Dream of Italy,” and the Johannesburg Municipal Art Gallery for which one of her favorite pictures, a Portrait of Mrs. Fenwick was bought by that shrewd collector of masterpieces the late Sir Hugh Lane.

A few personal details, however, may be of interest to those who come to see this Exhibition, which attempts to give for the first time a general birdseye view of Mrs. Swynnerton’s output by including in a single show some representative examples of the portraits, landscapes, and ideal subjects which have for long been the delight of lovers of art and have recently brought the painter public recognition in the form of election to the Associateship of the Royal Academy.

Born in Manchester, she passed through the School of Art in tlie days when, like the Manchester Academy, it had its head. quarters in the building which was erected a hundred years ago by the Royal Manchester Institution and has since become the City Art Gallery. A brief course in Julien’s studio in Paris was succeeded by a two year’s visit to Italy with her old friend and contemporary Miss Isabel Dacre, after which Miss Annie L. Robinson (as she then was) left Manchester for London with an introduction from Miss Gaskell to Burne-Jones. Many famous artists, more especially George Frederick Watts and Mr. Sargent, have helped her in various stages of her career, but it is to Burne-Jones that she herself acknowledges the deepest debt of gratitude for a loyal friendship extending over a number of years, and for advice and encouragement given at a time when it was difficult not to be discouraged. Miss Gaskell’s introduction to Burne-Jones Mrs. Swynnerton regards in fact as the turning point in her life. To paint successfully out of doors not merely landscapes but full-length portraits of children and family groups against a sunny landscape background – this has been her main ambition and her chief claim to fame. She has done it in Yorkshire, in Sussex, in Surrey and other pleasant corners of England, and also in Italy. It was there in the eighties that she met and married Mr. J. W. Swynnerton the Sculptor (who was born in the Isle of Man but spent most of his life in Rome) ever since when Rome has claimed her for one half of the year, this country for the other. Whether painted in Italy or in England her work has a strength and vitality, expressed with directness of touch on a firm basis of decorative design, that have won the admiration of artists, whilst her gifts of imagination and of sympathy with all that is youthful and fresh in life have endeared her wherever the value of these qualities in landscape or in human nature are rightly appreciated.




1. Evelyn. / Painted at Alderley Edge. / Lent by Vernon Bellhouse, Esq. Listed on this web site as Portrait of Evelyn, daughter of Vernon Bellhouse.

2. “Where tides of grass break into foam of flowers” Swinburne. / Painted in Hampshire. / Lent by Miss F. R. Wilkinson. Listed on this web site as Where tides of grass break into foam of flowers (Swinburn). (Was formerly listed as ‘Landscape with figures.’)

Paintings 3 to 10 are not visible in the photographs.

3. Music. / Painted in Rome. / Lent by Mrs. Marc.

4. The Dreamer. / Painted in the Isle of Man.

5. Subiaco. / Lent by the Hon. Mrs. Denison. This may be Suviaco from Scholastica

6. The Restive Horse. / Painted in the Isle of Man. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Hunter.

7. Midsummer. / Painted in Sussex.

8. Henry James. Listed on this website as Portrait of Henry James.

9. The two sons of Sir Wilmot Herringham. / Painted in Surrey. / Lent by Sir Wilmot Herringham, C.B., K.C.M.G. Listed on this web site as Portrait of Geoffrey and Christopher Herringham.

10. The Carricky Bay. / Painted in the Isle of Man. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Hunter.

11. Mater Triumphalis. / Painted in London. / Lent by the Musée National de Luxembourg.

12. Cupid and Psyche. / Lent by the Corporation of Oldham.

13. Billy and Tommy. / Painted at Hill Hall, Epping. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Hunter. Formarly known on this web site as A boy with a Shetland pony.

14. The Southing of the Sun. / Painted at Nemi.

The sparrow meek, prophetic-eyed

Her nest beside the snowdrift weaves,

Secure the ozier yet shall hide

Her callow brood with mantling leaves.

But thou, by Science all undone,

Why only shall thy reason fail

The see the Southing of the Sun?


15. David and Jonathan. / Painted at Temple Dimsley. / Lent by Mrs. Swan.

16. July. / Painted at Chigwell, Essex. / Lent by the Hon. Cecil Baring.

Paintings 17-22 not visible in photographs.

17. Mary. / Painted at Porlock. / Lent by George Spiegelberg, Esq.

18. Britomart. / Painted in Sussex.

Our heritage still lives its ancient splendor,

Arrayed in green, and garlanded with gold.

19. Peter on Grey Dawn. / Painted in York. / Lent by Lady Grant Lawson.

20. Faun. / Painted at Ravello.

21. The Olive Gatherers. / Painted at Siena. / Lent by Mrs George Garrett.

22. Sense of Sight. / Painted at Shepherd’s Bush. / Lent by the Corporation of Liverpool.

23. The Oreades. / Painted at Rome. / Lent by the Trustees of the Tate Gallery.

24. Oceanid. / Painted at Rome. / Lent by the Corporation of Bradfors.

25. The Sabine Mountains from Tusculum. / Lent by Mrs. George Garrett.

26. New-risen Hope. / Painted in Sussex. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Hunter.

27. Capri. / Lent by Mrs. Ellis.

28. The Rock Pool, Capri. / Lent by Mrs Charles Hunter.

29. The Barren Figtree. / Painted at Lake Albano. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Hunter.

30. John Lambton. / Painted at Newmarket. / Lent by the Hon. Mrs. Georger Lambton.

31. Study for “The Soul’s Journey.” / Painted at Ferentino.

32 . Christmas Eve, Siena.

33. On his Mother’s Knee.

34. The Cumaen Sibyl, guarding the Secret of the Tomb. / Painted at Rome.

35. A swell on the Water. / Painted at Capri. / Lent by John S. Sargent, Esq. R.A.


36. Mrs. Charles Guthrie.

37. Elizabeth. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Hunter. This may have been the Portrait of Elizabeth Williamson.

38. Billy. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Hunter. This may have been Oil sketch of a pony, if the pony in Billy and Tommy is ‘Billy’.

39. John and Nancy. / Painted at Newmarket.

40. Lady Mercy Greville. Presumed to be the work listed on this site as Equestrian Portrait of Lady Mercy Greville, and confirms a longstanding issue that the correct title is ‘… Lady Mercy Greville’ not ‘… Lady Mercy Marter.’

41. Head of a Bacchante. / Painted at Rome. / Lent by Mrs. Shute.

42. Mrs. Swynnerton and Mrs. Charles Hunter. / Painted by John S. Sargent, R.A.

43a. Portrait of Mrs. Swynnerton (at the age of three) and her sister. / Painted by M. Wasse. Artist unidentified. An artist Arthur Wasse (more famous in Germany, where he lived his later life) was born in Manchester in 1854, so perhaps ‘M. Wasse’ was an ancestor of his.

43. Mr. Stanley Baldwin (Uncle of the Premiere). / Lent by C. F. Brockworth, Esq.

44. The Rev. William Gaskell. / The property of the Corporation of Manchester.

45. Count Zouboff. / Painted at Salsomaggiore.

46. Charles. / Painted at East Haddon. / Lent by Mrs. Swan.

47. Mrs. Scott-Elliot and Children. / Painted in Norfolk, / Lent by Mrs. Scott-Elliot.

48. Elizabeth at Wemmergill. / Lent by Mrs Charles Hunter.

49. Master and Man (Portrait of Mr. Swynnerton). / Painted at Rome.

50. Miss Craies. Possibly the Portrait of Agathonike Sabina Craies. The 1923 photograph image is to obscure and distorted to be certain, also the only known image of the actual work is a newspaper sketch which may be inaccurate. This is the only painting visible in the 1923 exhibition photographs of such uncertainty.

51. Miss Agnes Garrett. / Painted in Sussex. / Lent by Lionel Crane, Esq. Loan information incorrect. (An accidental duplication of information for no. 52?) Actually loaned by Mrs. George Garrett (née Louisa Wilkinson), Agnes’s sister-in-law by marriage to her younger brother [information from Elizabeth Crawford].

52. Myfanwy. / Painted in London. / Lent by Lionel Crane, Esq.

53. The Cupbearer. / Painted in London.

54. The two daughters of Mrs. Charles Guthrie. / Painted at East Haddon. / Lent by Mrs. Charles Guthrie. Listed on this web site as Portrait of Margaret and Christian Guthrie.

Paintings 55-59 are not visible in the photos.

55. The Intruder. / Painted in Sussex. / Lent by Mrs. George Garrett.

56. “Springtime, the only pretty Ringtime.” / Painted in London. / Lent by Mrs. George Garrett. The title if from the song It was a lover and his lass in Shakespeare’s As You Like It.

The Intruder and Springtime were left to the Tate in Mrs. George Garrett’s will, the the gallery has no record of them. [Information from Elizabeth Crawford.]

57. The Young Mother. / Painted at Clovelly. / Lent by the Corporation of Dublin.

58. Portrait of Mrs. George Garrett. / Painted in London. / Lent by Mrs. George Garrett.

59. The Tryst. / Painted in London. / Lent by the Corporation of Salford.


60. Endymion. / By J. W. Swynnerton. / The property of the Corporation of Manchester.

61. Ganymede. / By J. W. Swynnerton. / The property of the Corporation of Manchester.

62. The Offering. / By J. W. Swynnerton.

63. Virginia. / By J. W. Swynnerton. / Lent by Dr. Harold Snape.

64. Saint Winifred: Ora pro Nobis. / By J. W. Swynnerton.