Biographical snippets: 1870-1879

Annie in the mid-1870s

23 Dec 1879 (Annie and Isabel aged 35) – Annie and her sisters, Julia and Emily, along with Isabel Dacre, are awarded prizes at the Manchester School of Art – “[at the] annual meeting … prizes to the successful students were … awarded as follows – Awarded by the science and Art Department. Princess of Wales scholorships: … Annie L. Robinson, £11 … for group in oil … / Julia Robinson, bronze medal for group in oil and chalk drawing … / Queen’s prizes: Emily Robinson, painting from life … / Third Grade Prizes: Emily Robinson … (The Manchester Guardian, 24 Dec 1873, p8).

Susan Dacre” is also mentioned as having won a prize at the same ceremony (The Manchester Weekly Times, 26 Dec 1874, p7).

24 Sep 1875Isabel exhibiting – “[At the] YORKSHIRE EXHIBITION OF ARTS AND MANUFACTURES … was a cleverly-executed painting of an Italian girl by Miss Susan Dacre” (The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 25 Sep 1875).

15 Mar 1877Annie and Isabel praised at the Manchester Academy annual exhibition – “MANCHESTER ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS ANNUAL EXHIBITION … The third gallery is interesting on account of the works of lady members of the Academy, Miss Annie Robinson’s full length portrait of a lady being the most remarkable … / Miss Isabel Dacre send some excellent work this year, the one entitled “Giovanina” being a portrait of a handsome Italian girl … There are two clever little heads … the one entitled “The Venetian” being to our thinking one of the gems of the exhibition …” (The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15 Mar 1877, p6).

Isabel singled out for special praise – “”Love Birds,” No. 357, by Miss Annie L. Robinson, is a bright, clever little bit, very nicely painted, and good in colour. No. 360, “Geoffrey,” a portrait of a boy, by Miss S. Isabel Dacre, is a good picture carefully painted … Miss Dacre exhibits two remarkable works, “For God and the Cause,” No. 387, and “Giovanina,” No. 393. … Miss Dacre’s work is a 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 associates, entitled to the first place among them” (The Manchester Evening News, 16 Mar 1877).

4 Oct 1879Manchester Society of Women Painters established – “MANCHESTER SOCIETY OF FEMALE PAINTERS. A society under this designation has just been established in Manchester, with Miss. S. Isabel Dacre as president, Miss Annie L. Robinson as secretary, and Miss Emily Robinson as treasurer. The object in forming the society, the promoters state, is the “firstly, to provide facilities for the members working together and studying from life – there being now no course open for such advantages, except by leaving Manchester; and secondly, to disseminate the principles of true art among art students generally, who are desirous of more thorough training, wider experience, and a higher culture.” Those who are desirous of assisting the committee in carrying out the object thus set forth are invited to communicate with the secretary at 10, Barton House, Deansgate. Several classes have already been formed, the course of instruction including elementary drawing, drawing from the antique, and drawing and painting from the living model (Manchester Weekly Times and Examiner, Sat O4 Oct, 1879).

“… an exhibition of the work of the women painters is also contemplated … The society as at present consists of [the chief officers as above, and] Miss E. Gertrude Thomson, Miss Eleanor S. Wood, Miss Jane Atkinson, and Miss Julia Pollitt” (The Guardian, 27 Sep 1879).

[Emily Gertrude Thomson became well known as an illustrator of children’s books, Eleanor Susannah Wood was a portrait and still-life painter, Jane Atkinson also painted portraits (little is known of her work), and Julia Pollitt was an author as well as painter (and was married, so was not ‘Miss’).]