‘The Lady in White’ is “Roses”?

Annie’s The Lady in White has only been known of for a few years, having appeared in auction at Gorringe’s, Lewes, East Sussex in 2017, “Property of a deceased estate.” It s signed and dated, “Annie L. Robinson, 1878.”

I just came across a description of a work in The Manchester Evening News, 16 Mar 1877, which says [At the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts exhibition] No. 378, “Roses,” by Miss Annie Robinson, a large and ambitious portrait of a lady in a white satin dress, with a bunch of red roses in her hand, is worthy of the highest commendation … .”

Although a year before the date on The Lady in White, there are obvious similarities – the size at almost two metres (6½ feet) tall, the white dress, the roses.

In spite of the date difference, this could be “Roses.” Annie could easily have continued to work on the painting and signed it later. At the same time, she was evidently working on other portraits and figurative works, the vast majority of which are untraced, so there is no certainty.


The same article (The Manchester Evening News, 16 Mar 1877) is interesting for mentioning Annie’s sister Emily and her friend Susan, and the fact that Annie was getting nudes exhibited even at this early date in her career.

No 360, “Geoffrey,” a portrait of a boy, by Miss S. Isabel Dacre, is a good picture carefully painted, but the flesh tints seem a trifle too high, even for a young lad. Miss Dacre exhibits two remarkable works, “For God and the Cause,” No. 387, and “Giovanina,” No. 303. Both of these are painted with extreme strength and directness, and in both the flesh drawing and modelling are excellent, and the colour rich and harmonious. Miss Dacre‘s work is as far removed as possible from the ordinary standard of young ladie’s art, and she is, we think, with all due respect to the other lady associated, entitled to the first place among them.

“A Little Market Woman,” No. 363, by Miss Emily Robinson, is marked by the tendency to crude red-and-whiteness which frequently detracts from the merit of her really clever productions. The same remark applied to this lady’s “Shower,” No. 375, but “The Lover’s Errand,” No. 379, although somewhat cold and chalky in colour, is much better. The picture is well conceived, the story plainly told, and the drawing commendable.

“Phryne,” No. 370, a nude academic figure, is also a good work by [Annie], and is noticeable if only from the fact that is is the sole example of this class of art in the exhibition.


Jonathan Russell

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