More biographical snippets. ‘The Lady in White’ sells for £12,500.


  1. A mention of three painting sold by Annie in 1882 for the remarkable sum of £105 (£12000 in today’s money).
  2. A notice in a suffrage journal of 1891 about the purchase of the portrait of Lydia Becker by Annie’s friend, Susan Dacre, and plans for a memorial sculpture to be created by Annie’s husband, Joseph. Lydia Becker was a key women’s suffrage campaigner who had died the year before.
  3. A notice from the same journal for 1893 about three murals by Annie for the World’s Columbian Exposition (a fair held in Chicago in that year to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbas’s arrival).

The Lady in WhiteTHE LADY IN WHITE, Annie’s early portrait of an unidentified lady in a voluminous white dress and holding a bouquet of flowers, sold today at Christie’s (11 December 2018) for £12,500, not including fees.

Estelle ‘Sylvia’ Pankhurst page updated.

In her studio (c. 1904-5).jpg
Sylvia in her studio, c. 1905.

As an artist and a Pankhurst, Sylvia was presumably well acquainted with Annie, although stylistically they were very different. Her page on this site as part of Annie’s circle has been updated with a few new images. There are very few to be found on the web. As with Annie, there must be unknown works ‘out there,’ but they are even harder to uncover.


‘A winged soldier’ and ‘A Study of Hands.’

AN INDEPENDENT ARTICLE from 1999 mentions that the author Anissa Helou once owned two Annie Swynnerton works, ‘a winged soldier‘ and ‘A Study of Hands.’

The guest bedroom on the first landing is dominated by an Annie Louisa Swynnerton painting of a winged soldier (in the workroom upstairs is the more evocative Study of Hands by the same artist). The Independent, 16 May 1999.

Anissa sold her entire collection at Christie’s in 1999 in a radical move to downsize and concentrate on her culinary writing. She has kindly replied to an email, saying that she has no visual record of either work, but describes the winged soldier as ‘a beautiful large painting of an angel looking over a recling figure.’

In Annie’s posthumous studio sale catalogue of 1934, two works are listed which may refer to these – ‘Lot 89. An Angel of Mercy. Arched top. 155 x 107 inches (393.7 x 271.8 cm).‘ and ‘Lot 145. … A study of hands,‘ as well as ‘Lot 136. … A study for “The Angel of Mercy,”‘.

I am attempting to acquire a copy of the 1999 auction catalogue, which hopefully will be illustrated or at least have further details of the two works.

As an occasional food blogger myself, I recommend Anissa’s culinary blog and books, and am looking forward to trying some of her recipes. My efforts can be seen here.

Jonathan Russell


Annie and Zuccarelli.

IN THE POSTHUMOUS STUDIO SALE OF 1934, lots 159-160 are “Paintings by Guercino, Moroni and Zuccarelli,” with no further information given.

Just came across this mention in a Christie’s auction of 7 October 1999: two paintings, oil on canvas, unframed and unstretched, “Tobias and the Angel” and “Sybils praying before a brazier” by “a follower of Francesco Zuccarelli,” provenance “Anne L. Swynnerton A.R.A. Christie’s, London, 9th February 1934, lot 160.” They were sold as a pair for £1,035.

I can’t find images of Annie’s pictures, but this is another version of the same subject by Zuccarelli, sold by Sotheby’s in 2014.


Jonathan Russell


Two paintings at auction: ‘A Distant View of the Sabines’ and ‘The Lady in White.’ ‘Joan of Arc’ renamed ‘Faith’.

A NEW ‘ATTRIBUTED’ WORK, a landscape titled ‘Distant View of the Sabines,’ appeared at auction on 11 November and is now included on this website.

A Distant View of the Sabines

The 1934 posthumous studio sale catalogue mentions “Lot 70. A Distant View of the Sabines. 22 x 19½ inches. Exhibited Huddersfield.”  The size given is 20% smaller than that indicated in the 11 December sale catalogue, but other painting sizes given in the old catalogue are often incorrect when compared to known surviving paintings from that sale.

On the reverse the words ‘Swynnerton’ and ‘Distant View of the Sabines’ are written. The name and title being written together strengthens the case of the attribution as that information is unlikely to have been known to previous owners unless genuinely one of Annie’s works. However, being without a firm provenance it has to be ‘attributed,’ but I’m personally confident of Annie as the author.

THE LADY IN WHITE‘ is being auctioned at Christie’s on 11 December. It was formerly sold at auction in 2017, fetching £4,600.

The Lady in White


Upper Gallery … Faith … Mrs. Swynnerton … This is not the kind of faith that believes but “hardly thinks it likely.” It is the faith that brings calm and peace in the mind. The setting sun irradiates the face and shining armour of the figure; in her hands she holds the sword of truth, with the blades against her fingers, confident it will not hurt her; the background falls into shadow with the approach of night.

Joan of ArcThis is the second reference contemporary with the painting that names it ‘Faith’ and not ‘Joan of Arc’ that I have come across (the latter name being the one it is commonly known by today), so I have renamed the painting ‘Faith’ on this website. This places it more in line with works such as ‘New Risen Hope‘ and ‘Illusions‘ with their metaphorical, symbolist titles.

There’s a possibility, of course, that the Whitchapel catalogue might be referring to some other version of the painting, but without contradicting evidence I’ll assume there was only ever one completed and exhibited Faith/Joan of Arc picture.

Jonathan Russell

Little Visitors remains ‘attributed.’

In the 1883 Christmas edition of The Graphic, a popular weekly journal of the late Victorian period, there is an image of a painting stated to be by Annie.

Having examined the print, unfortunately there is no signature or monogram reproduced in the image, and with no other evidence, it has to be an ‘attributed’ work. (Newspapers did occasionally make errors in their attributions, which although a rare occurrence, has to be considered.)

Little Visitors

The print is a very fine quality piece in itself and a real tribute to some unnamed artist who finely copied an original painting, the fine lines of the drawing being done onto a plate and the surrounding areas etched away by acid. At least four plates would have been created, one for the black ink and others for the coloured areas. The skill and labour involved is quite remarkable, especially considering this journal had a circulation of tens-of-thousands, and at its height well over 100,000 copies a week, so whoever did this work had to be able to do so at quite a pace because of the rapid turnover.

Little Visitors - brown-eyed girl

The image now has a dedicated page on this site, where I give my reasons for thinking that the original painting was by Annie.

Jonathan Russell


A possible ‘new’ painting by Annie – “Little Visitors,” 1883.

A newly identified painting by “Miss. Annie L. Robinson,” or rather a Victorian copy of it, appeared on Ebay this week, entitled “Little Visitors.” A web hunt identified the same images on a couple of other web sites (,


1883 Little Visitors (ALR)

The Ebay sale describes it as “Little Visitors, Annie L. Robinson – original antique lithographic print 1883,” and as being a ‘chromolithograph‘ – a black-and-white image over-printed with coloured inks – and published in ‘The Graphic‘ Christmas Number, 1883 (The Graphic was a weekly publication similar to the better-known Illustrated London News).

Being a drawn copy an original, it doesn’t have the same painterly qualities, but the subject matter is very typical of Annie, and as she was becoming a well-known painter by this time it is extremely unlikely that any other ‘Annie L. Robinson’ would be being referenced. Annie married in 1883, so the use of the maiden name would be correct as the painting would have been completed before that date.

While I believe it to be a copy of an Annie painting myself, it’s a matter of case not proven. The painting of children as little adults in mourning-style dress (fashionable in the day) is in keeping with some of her mannerisms, and along with the title gives an allegorical/symbolist feel to the picture. However, I know of no other reference in auction or exhibition catalogues to a painting called ‘Little Visitors,’ and the bright background to the figures – the pale drape over the seat – is odd-looking. I’d have expected something darker. As thing stand it’ll have to be an ‘attributed.’ I’m hoping Annie’s monogram or signature will be visible in the print, which should arrive in the post in a few day’s time.

Jonathan Russell

A visit to the V&A. Web address change.

Image: Victoria and Albert Museum.

CAME ACROSS THIS in ‘Review of the Principal Aquisitions During the Year 1915,’ published by the Victoria and Albert Museum, page 36:

Five seventeenth-century Italian chairs were given by Mrs. Swynnerton in memory of her late husband, the late Mr. J. M. Swynnerton. They are of figured walnut veneered on the same wood, and are enriched with marquetry, and were purchased by Mr. Swynnerton from the church of St. Francis at Assisi.

The V&A only has only three such chairs in it’s online database (, which confirms them as ‘Gifted by Mrs. Swynnerton in memory of her husband, Mr. J. M. Swynnerton of Fulham Road, SW London.’ None were on display when I visitied this week.


THERE ARE PORTRAITS BY GEORGE FREDERICK WATTS of members of the Ionides family in the Victoria & Albert museum. Annie is said to have been much influenced by Watts, and also painted at least one of the family, Agathonike, daughter of Euterpe Craies (née Ionides) and grandaughter of Agathonike Ionides, wife of Constantine Ionides, Manchester cloth-merchant and art collector who left the bulk of his 1000+ pieces to the museum.

Agathonike   Euterpe   Agathonike, Daughter of W Craies Esq

Agathonike Ionides (1844-1920) and Euterpe Ionides (1861-1955) by G. F. Watts, and Agathonike Craies (née Ionides, 1885-1947) by Annie L. Swynnerton.

THE WEB ADDRESS for this site is now simply ‘’ automatically redirects to the new address.

‘Un Putto’ sold in Scarborough and renamed ‘Half-portrait of a child with red hair.’

A work by Annie previously listed here as ‘Un Putto,’ the name used in a 1994 auction (, appeared in Scarborough last week entitled ‘Half-portrait of a child with red hair,’ and fetched £1,700. I’ve renamed the image on this web site using the Scarborough auction title.

The auction web page ( had excellent images of the work, previously known only from a small black-and-white image.

Half-portrait of a child with red hair

Half-portrait of a child with red hair - detail