Landscape with Figures origin / Exhibitions database / Isabel and Dodd / Joseph and pope Leo XIII

Having posted rather a lot recently, and conscious of the need not to overpopulate peoples’ mailboxes, I’ll restrict myself to no more than one posting a week from now on.  JR.

Fanny Rollo Wilkinson (1855-1951). Image: Twitter.

LANDSCAPE WITH FIGURES, a painting identified August last year, may have been owned by famed horticulultarist, suffrage campaigner and relative of women’s rights champion Millicent Garrett Fawcett Fanny Rollo Wilkinson.

Many of Annie’s paintings were owned by people involved in the suffrage cause, often later being donated to public galleries. Fanny donated two paintings to Manchester Art Gallery, The Dreamer and The Olive Gatherers, in 1936, so evidently had paintings by Annie in her possession.

In her later years, Fanny lived in Snape, Suffolk, where the current owner bought Landscape with figures in 1995. While there’s nothing other than circumstancial evidence, it could well be that the picture was in Fanny’s possession and remained in the village after her death in 1951, eventually finding its way into an antiques shop there.

pageTHE EXHIBITIONS PAGE has changed form, now being an annotated list of exhibited works by Annie, as well as those of her husband Joseph and friend Susan Isabel Dacre.

There are links at the head of the page to information on where works are in public collections today, as well as details and images from the four exhibitions dedicated to Annie – 1923, 1924, 1956 and 2018.

Special thanks to Grant Waters for information provided.

Francis Dodd – self-portrait

FOUND A MENTION about how Annie’s close friend, Isabel, shared a studio with a very young Francis Dodd in 1895. The information comes from Men and Memories by William Rothenstein (artist and general commentator on the arts), Tudor Publishing Company, New York, 1920:

… Francis Dodd … shared a studio with another Manchester painter, Miss Dacre. His work was most promising, especially his pastels of Manchester people and street-scenes. Nevertheless, he could scarce earn a living. But when a few years later he moved to London, he did not have long to wait for success.

Francis Dodd lived in Manchester in the period 1895 to 1904, and was thirty years younger than Susan. Rothenstein appears to be referring to the year 1895, but his style of writing means one can’t be certain as he sometimes refers to events outside the ostensible time frame of his text.

winifredANNIE’S HUSBAND, the sculptor Joseph William Swynnerton, carved the statue of St. Winnifred at Holywell, Flintshire, Wales.

There is an account of its blessing by pope Leo XIII in South Wales Daily News, 27 Aug 1896, giving Joseph’s own version of the encounter.


Father Beauclerk has received the following letter from Mr J. W. Swynnerton, of Rome, who has sculptured the new white marble statue of St. Winefride.

Yesterday (August 14th) the Holy Father blessed St. Winefride. I will try and give you an account of it all. His Holiness gave me permission, through his private secretary, Monsignor Angeli, to carry the statue into the Vatican gardens, and place it where he wad accustomed to mount bis coach. But after seeing the spot – the open air – and considering that the Pope had not left his apartments for over ten days, and it was uncertain when he would go out, I approached him again through another channel, and he was pleased to say I might carry the statue into his ante-chamber and place it wherever I pleased. The permission was for Wednesday.

On Tuesday I saw Monslgnor Pifferi, Sacrista del Vaticano, and confessor to his Holiness. He looked up the name of St. Winefride to see if any relic existed in the Vatican of the saint. In an old volume be produced the name as written Sante Wenefrida,” but no relic exists. I saw him again yesterday just before the Pope blessed the statue, and he said that at one time there was a relic of the saint at the Vatican, but it no longer existed. I said how greatly pleased you would be to have such a relic for your new church, but he shook his head – ‘Non existe,’ No one knows what has become of it.

On Wednesday I arrived at the Vatican with St. Winefride safely packed in a huge case, weighing in all over a ton, with 11 strong men, ropes, rollers, &c., prepared to drag her upstairs to the second loggia and then into the Pope’s private apartments. We found it no easy task, and by the time I gob to the last few steps of the first floor I began to fear for the floors of the ante-chambers. At this Doint Commendatore Galli, director of the sculpture museum, came forward and declared it was not safe to introduce such a weight into the ante-chamber. Commendatore Veapigriani said the arches would bear it, bub he feared for the rooms.

Then orders came to stop from the Maestro di Casa until he consulted his Holiness, who had no idea of the weight. The Maestro di Casa returned with orders to carry the statue into the garden, which is ruin for my statue, I said, for it was raining then. By this time the statue was on the first floor, where are the loggias painted by Giovanni d’Udini. The Maestro di Casa and Galli returned upstairs again, and soon came back to say I could place the statue in the Loggia di Giovanni d’Udini, and his Holiness would come down and bless it when he came out. I had declared I should drag it into the Hall of St. Peter if it were necessary to get the Pope’s blessing, and that the statue was not going away until it was blessed.

So it was placed in a beautiful light near to the entrance to the Borgia rooms of the Museum, and with a shawl round the pedestal she looked lovely. The statue was given in charge of the Papal gendarmes there on duty. I was so pleased to see that in all things they had to consult his Holiness, and do nothing without special orders.

Monsignor Misciatelli, the prelate in attendance on his Holiness, said I should be told some hours before the Holy Father went out. Yesterday the Eve of the Assumption, my friend came to tell me at 1 o’clock that the Pope would go out at 5, and bless my statue on the way.

Before 5 I was beside my statue in evening dress, and punctually at 5 the Pope came out. His Holiness was borne in his Sedan chair by servants in their beantiful costumes. The Sedan chair was put down half a dozen yards from my statue, and I went forward and bent one knee, and kissed the ring of the Fisherman.

“His Holiness: Oh, this is the statue and the sculptor?

“Monslgnor, Here he is, Sante Padre.

“His Holiness: What is your name? Has it been made in Rome?” – “The model I made in London, and the marble work here. My name is Joseph Swynnerton.”

Here his Holiness placed his right hand on my left shoulder and walked with me to the front of the statue, asking questions all the time. I will try and remember them in the order tbey were put.

“For where is this statue made?” – “In Holy-well, in North Wales, your Holiness.”

“Oh, where there is the miraculous spring of water?” – “Yes, your Holiness.”

“Was she virgin and martyr, or virgin only?” – “Both virgin and martyr, you will see by the palm.”

“In what century did she live?” – “I believe the fifth century.”

“Oh, the time of Gregory the Great and Augustine. Why have you given her a sad expression?”

Here I said that the statue was not finished, and that I should be very glad to make any alteration his Holiness suggested. He said, “No, no, e’tella.” Then he asked me how it would be conveyed to England and how packed, and should I accompany it? All the while he leaned familiarly and kindly on my shoulder, giving me little pats and saying, “Bravo!” I explained to him that the ornaments of the dress and the crozier were all Celtic of the period. Finally, he said that he hoped that the statue would be for the conversion of many to the true faith. I said I was sure it would be when blessed by him. He then blessed it, and then me, I kneeling.

I forgot to say he said “The first idea was to get it into my ante-chamber, but it was too heavy,” with a smile. Then he entered his chair and blessed me again as he passed. More kind, more fatherly, or more tender he could not have been, and some who were present said they had rarely seen such a scene. I followed him into the garden, and Cardinal Maeeni gave me a bunch of flower to carry away.

I forgot to say that I told the Pope that thousands go each year to the well, that there are many miraculous cures, and that two had taken place in Rome. He said be had been told of them.”

The statue will shortly be shipped to Cardiff, where it will be conveyed by a pilgrimage by road to Holywell.

One thought on “Landscape with Figures origin / Exhibitions database / Isabel and Dodd / Joseph and pope Leo XIII

  1. grant.waters

    Thank you Jonathan, you have done an incredible job in pulling all that information together.One minor comment re the 1956 exhibition, the Alpine Club is just a venue available for hire, often by art dealers. The most important point is that the dealer putting the show on and selling work was Mr R E A Wilson. He also knew Ambrose McEvoy in the 1920s as well as ALS and his widow continued to own paintings by both these artists when I first met her circa 1970. The stock books may yield more specific information. Kind regards,Grant 

    Liked by 1 person

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