Biographical snippets: 1870-1879


20 September – Joseph witnesses the breakthrough at Rome’s Porta Pia by Victor Emmanuel’s troops, during the ‘Risorgimento,’ the military campaign to unify Italy. (He later befriended Garibaldi, whose bust he made.)


The Robinson family recorded as living in two rooms in a terraced house near Hulme (World Socialist Web Site, 31 Jul 2018).

Annie starts attendance at Manchester School of Art (Swinnerton Society Journal, 13(6), Dec 2008), along with her sisters Emily and Julia.


Joseph awarded Gold Medal for sculpture at the Accademia, the medal being presented by the Pope (Swinnerton Society Journal, 13(6), Dec 2008).


DECEMBER – “MANCHESTER SCHOOL OF ART … Awarded by the Science and Art department. Princess of Wales Scholarships: … Annie L. Robinson, £11 … gold medal for a 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.” [Eleanor Stuart Wood, later a founding member of the Manchester Society of Women Painters, also won several awards.] (The Manchester Guardian, 24 Dec 1873.)


DECEMBER – “MANCHESTER SCHOOL OF ART … Silver Medals: Emily Robinson, oil painting still life … Bronze Medals: … Julia Robinson, painting in oil … Queen’s prizes: Susan Dacre, painting fruit in oil … Third Grade Prizes: … Annie L. Robinson, oil painting, Julia L. Robinson, paintiagia* oil.” (Manchester Guardian, 23 Dec 1974. *Typography as in original document.)


SEPTEMBER – “YORKSHIRE EXHIBITION OF ARTS AND MANUFACTURES … Several new pictures were shown for the first time. One was a cleverly-executed painting of an Italian girl by Miss Susan Dacre.” (The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 25 Sep 1875. p6.)

Annie leaves Manchester School of Art. (Swinnerton Society Journal, 13(6), Dec 2008.)


NOVEMBER – “CAPED, DUNN & PILCHER … will sell by auction … WATER-COLOUR DRAWINGS … Fruit and flower drawings by E. S. Wood, Annie L. Robinson, and Annie F. Hastling …” (The Guardian, 2 Nov 1876.)


MARCH – Exhibition at the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. Susan Isabel Dacre singled out for special praise.

  • Miss Annie L. Robinson.
    • Love Birds.
    • Roses. “… a large and ambitious portrait of a lady in a white satin dress, with a bunch of red roses in her hand … The pose of the figure is pleasing and somewhat original, although founded on similar attitudes to be found in Sir Joshua Reynolds’s works … we cannot detect the presence of the human form divine underneath the grand satin dress. There is an absence of flesh and blood …
  • Miss S. Isabel Dacre. ” … Miss Dacre’s work is as far removed as possible from the ordinary standard of young ladie’s art, and she is … entitled to first place among them.
    • Phryne. “… a nude academic figure … the sole example of this class of art in the exhibition.”
    • Geoffrey. “a portrait of a boy.
    • For God and the Cause.
    • Giovanina. “… being a portrait of a handsome Italian girl.
    • The Venitian. “… one of the gems of the exhibition.
  • Miss Emily Robinson
    • A Little Market Woman.
    • Shower.
    • The Lover’s Errand.

(The Manchester Evening News, 16 Mar 1877. The Manchester Courier, and Lancashire General Advertiser, 15 Mar 1877.)

NOVEMBER – “MANCHESTER ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS ANNUAL EXHIBITION … Miss Susan Dacre has a good vigerous study of a head … Miss A. L. Robinson send an ambitious work this year entitled “Amor and Psyche.” Whilst we commend the artist for her desire to realise something in the higher walks of art, we cannot but regret that she should have attempted so difficult a subject as Cupid and Psyche … all is prosaic, crude, and and inclining to vulgarity. … Miss Eleanor Wood, Mrs. Pollitt, and Miss Dacre are also fairly represented, although we miss the vigorous fruit pieces of the first-named lady.” (The Manchester Courier, and Lancashire General Advertiser, 2 Nov 1877.)


FEBRUARY – “BLACK AND WHITE EXHIBITION … [galleries of] Mr. W. E. Hamer … A fair proportion of ladies are numbered among the exhibitors. Miss Thompson’s graceful little sketches of gamboling faeries and submarine marvels … among the other ladies … Miss Dacre, Mrs. J. R. Pollitt, Miss Magnus, Miss Breakell, Miss Robinson, and Miss E. S. Wood.” (The Manchester Weekly Times, 16 Feb 1878.)

MARCH – “[At] THE MANCHESTER ACADEMY’S EXHIBITION … There are also [in addition to the many male artists mentioned in the article] contributions from the following ladies:- A. L. Robinson, E. Magnus, F. Monkhouse, E. Wasse, L. M. Hindle, E. S. Wood, J. R. Pollitt, A. E. Hastling, E. Robinson, I Dacre, F. Barker, M. S. Breakel. The Manchester Academy has not the magnanimity to admit women artists to tis full privileges, not is it so unjust as to exclude them entirely. They are neither “members” nor “associates,” but “lady exhibitors.” … Have artists yet to learn that admission to an academy of fine arts should depend solely upon the artistsc merits of the candidate?” (The Manchester Evening News, 5 Mar 1878.)

Isabel singled out for special praise again: “Manchester Academy of Fine Arts inaugurated it annual exhibition [on Tue 5 March] … Miss Susan Isabel Dacre gives evidence in “A Portrait” … we are strongly incluned to think that that the work before us indicates genius …” (The Manchester Courier, and Lancashire General Advertiser, 8 Mar 1878.)

Miss Annie L. Robinson has a large full-length portrait of Mrs. Eason Wilkinson … and although defective in some respects, gives promise of better work in the future.” (The Manchester Courier, and Lancashire General Advertiser, 8 Mar 1878.)

1878-1879 – Annie at the Académie Julian, Paris.


Annie and Isabel return to England (Inigo Thomas (27 Sep 2018) London Review of Books 40(18), pp28-9).

Annie’s first exhibit at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, a ‘Portrait of a lady.’ Annie’s address give as ‘Miss A. L. Robinson, 5 Denmark Road, Greenheys, Manchester.

Manchester Society of Women Painters

SEPTEMBER – “Some of the lady artists of the district are about to form an association “to provide facilities for the members working together and studying from the life, and to disseminate the principles of true art among art students generally, who are desirous of more thorough training, wider experience, and a higher culture” … The Society as at present consistuted consists of Miss S. Isabel Dacre (president), Miss Annie L. Robinson (secretary), Miss Emily Robinson (treasurer), Miss E. Gertrude Thomson, Miss Eleanor S. Wood, Miss Jane Atkinson, and Miss Julia Pollitt …” (The Guardian, 27 Sep 1879.)

OCTOBER – “MANCHESTER SOCIETY OF FEMALE PAINTERS. A society under this designation has just been established in Manchester …” (Manchester Weekly Times, 4 Oct 1879. The society’s established name became the Manchester Society of Women Painters.)