Joan of Arc / Dacre exhibition / racehorse / improved images / pony / ‘The Lady in White’ identified?

CAME ACROSS a photo in The Times, 25 Nov 1922, showing Annie standing by Joan of Arc, but the image has differences to the version known today, most noticeably the arched corners of the picture. It is either another version or Annie reworked parts of the canvas after the photo was taken. The Southing of the Sun is also visible in the photo.



It’s nice to see the photo from the point of view of attribution, as it establishes without doubt that these are her works. The attributions have never been in quesion, but one can’t have strong enough evidence!

ANNIE’S LIFE-LONG FRIEND, Susan Isable Dacre, had a solo exhibition at Walker’s Gallary, Bond Street, London, in 1912, the only occasion I’ve come across of this happening:

… at Walker’s Gallery the charming works of an artist less well known in London, the “Little Pictures of Italy” of Miss Isabel Dacre. We can call to mind few modern painters who can render the different phases of Italian colour with greater accuracy than this lady, who evidently lived in the country and learned to love it in all its moods and tenses. Perugia, Assisi, and Siena seem to be her favourite places, and her pictures of the hill-landscapes around those cities are singularly faithful.

The Times, 12 March 1912, p11.

“ANNIE LOUISE” was the name of a racehorse run by a “Mr. W. Robinson” in Salford, Manchester, 1877. Annie’s maiden name was Robinson, daughter of Francis and Ann Robinson, so this would appear to be a relative christening a horse with her name, or a remarkable coincidence. Annie was not entirely consistent in the spelling of her name earlier in her life, sometimes using ‘Anne’ and ‘Louise’ instead of ‘Annie’ and ‘Louisa.’

SALFORD BOROUGH CUP of 200 sovs. … Mr. W. Robinson … Annie Louise, 6 yrs, 6 St. 4 lb. … The distance post was reached when Annie Louise began to compound, the favourite at the same time shooting away four lengths from his field, easing up, however, in the run home, and winning in a canter by two lengths from Harriet Laws, who beat Harry Bluff a similar distance in their places. Annie Louise was a very bad fourth …

The Times, 26 May 1877.

THANKS AGAIN to Grant Waters for providing better quality images than ones I’d previously had for Portrait of Bessie, wife of Col. Massy and Sketch for an equestrian portrait. I’d previously though that the latter, having had only a poor quality reproduciton, was a drawing, but now see that it is a painted canvas.


HAVE JUST NOTICED a possible similarity between the 1922 photograph and oil sketch of a pony. Not certain about this, but it did make me think about other examples of Annie doing detailed experimental sketches, which then made me wonder if this was an explaination why there were so many ‘unfinished’ canvases in her studio after her death. She may have simply have been an artist who liked to experiment separately a lot – lines, colours, compositions – rather than ‘create on the canvas.’


The painting had no specific title in the 2017 auction, but was named ‘The Woman in White’ by Christie’s for the 2018 auction.

THE LADY IN WHITE‘ only known from two auction records, Gorringe’s in 2017 and Christie’s in 2018, is, I believe, a portrait of Louisa Letita Wilkinson (1826–1889), daughter of the American farming expert George Walker (1789-1838) and mother of British horticuralist Fanny Rollo Wilkinson (mentioned in the previous posting in connection with Landscape with Figures.)

After her father’s death, Louisa Letita Wilkinson moved to Greenheys, Manchester – the same suburb as Annie – and married a physician, Matthew Alexander Eason Wilkinson on 27 July 1854. Annie exhibited a painting, ‘Portrait of Mrs. Eason Wilkinson’ at the Royal Manchester Institution in 1878. Sadly, Mr. Wilkinson died early in the same year.

‘The Lady in White’ (signed and dated 1878), fits the description of the painting from The Manchester Courier, “Miss Annie Robinson’s full length portrait of a lady … remarkable on account of its size … the pose of the painting is pleasing and somewhat original, although founded on similar attitudes to be found in Sir. Joshua Reynold’s works … grand satin dress.” (The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15 Mar 1877. The verbose parts of the description, typical of the era but uninformative, have been removed from the quote.)

The auction canvas is 6½ x 3¾ feet (1.9 x 1.2 metres). Joshua Reynolds tended to paint women in ‘action’ poses rather than just as passive sitters.

Against my theory is Louisa’s age at the time of the portrait, 50, but the youthful look could just be ‘artistic licence’ and partly a consequence of the skewed angle of the auction photograph. The date, size and mention of the voluminous dress makes me think this is, indeed, the ‘Portrait of Mrs. Eason Wilkinson,’ but without quite enough clinching detail, it remains ‘The Lady in White‘ on this site. I’d welcome opinion on this.

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