Photos: Jonathan Russell.

Annie “was invited to paint the portrait on the recommendation of the sitter’s daughters, Meta and Julia. It was her most important commission to date. Meta and Julia also helped her establish her artistic career in London. They introduced her to artists John Everett Millais and Edward Burne-Jones.” (Notice by picture, Manchester Art Gallery, 2018.)

It was the Rev. Gaskell himself who in 1879 chose to be painted by Annie, remarking ‘My daughters tell me that she has painted a portrait which they like very much.’ (Rev. Gaskell quoted in B. Brill, William Gaskell, 1805-84: a portrait, Manchester Literary and Philosophical Publications, 110-11.)

This morning … a bust of the Rev. W. Gaskell was presented to the institution [Portico Library, Mosley Street, Manchester], and … a portrait of the rev. gentleman was presented to himself. … The bust, which is one of white marble, has been executed by Mr. J. W. Swinnerton … The portrait has been painted by Miss A. Robinson, of Manchester, and is an excellent likeness.

Manchester Evening News, 3 Oct 1979.

William Gaskell was a charity worker and supporter of working class educational needs. His wife was novelist and biographer of Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Gaskell.

  • Media: oil on canvas.
  • Dimensions: 711 x 866 mm (0.62 m²), assumed unframed size.
  • History: has ALR monogram and is dated 1879; 1879 presented to Rev. Gaskell at Portico Library, Mosley Street, Manchester; exhibited Manchester Art Gallery 1923; bequeathed [to Manchester Art Gallery] by Mrs M. E. Gaskell (5 Feb 1837 – 26 Oct 1913, daughter of William Gaskell), 1914; exhibited Manchester Art Gallery, 23 Feb 2018 to 6 Jan 2019.
  • Location: Manchester Art Gallery.


  1. Pingback: Notes on St. Martin’s Summer, The Sense of Sight and A Dream of Italy. – ANNIE LOUISA SWYNNERTON (1844-1933)

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