Biographical snippets – 1880-1889


Annie, mid- or late-1880s. “… from a photograph by Suscipj, Rome” (The Queen, 15 Mar 1890). Lorenzo Suscipj, 1802-1885, was an Italian photographer.

JANUARY – “The art classes associated with the Manchester Society of Women Painters began work again [today] after the Christmas vacation. Classrooms have secured in Barton House.” (The Guardian, 8 Jan 1880.)

JULYISABEL SINGLED OUT FOR SPECIAL PRAISE – “ROYAL MANCHESTER INSTITUTION EXHIBITION OF WORKS OF ART IN BLACK AND WHITE … Miss Susan Isabel Dacre is a young artist … Manchester may some day feel proud [of] … Miss Dacre … like out great and good Sir Joshua, sees that the portrayal of the human form and face can be associated with something more than mere imitative skill … this portrait … is worth to rank with the best work in the art of portraiture.” (The Manchester Courier, and Lancashire General Advertiser, 4 Jun 1880.)

SEPTEMBER – “MANCHESTER SOCIETY OF WOMEN PAINTERS. – The CLASSES for the NEXT TERM COMMENCE Tuesday, October 5, 1880. = For particular apply by letter to Miss J. Atkinson, Assistant Secretary, The Laurels, Sale.” (The Guardian, 28 Sep 1880.)


AN Association, termed the Society of Women Painters, was formed in Manchester some twelvemonth since and the Society proposes to hold an exhibition of works by members and associates. The paintings to be exhibited will include examples of landscape, figure, and genre art, and among the contributions will be sketches of Venice and St. Mark’s. The Society at present is made up of the following members and associates:- Members: 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 Mrs. JULIA POLLITT. Associates: Miss JESSIE POLLITT, Miss FLORENCE MONKHOUSE, Miss FANNY SUGARS, and Miss JESSIE KINGSLEY. These will all contribute specimens of their work. The exhibition will be held in the form of an “At Home” reception on Tuesday, the 30th inst., and the two following days.

The Architect, 27 Nov 1880, p336.


  • President: S. Isabel Dacre.
  • Secretary: Annie L. Robinson.
  • Treasurer: Emily Robinson.
  • Other members: E. Gertrude Thomson, Eleanor S. Wood, Jane Atkinson, Julia Pollitt.
  • Associates: Jessie Marion Kingsley, Jessie Pollitt, Emeline Petrie, Fanny Sugars, Mary Florence Monkhouse.

Amongst contributions will be some sketches of Venice and of St. Mark’s … [and] examples of landscape, figure and genre art.” (The Guardian, 22 Nov 1880) “… in the studio of the president, Miss S. Isabel Dacre, at Barton House, Deansgate, To-day there will be a second private view, and tomorrow and Friday the pictures will be open for the inspection of the public. There have been eleven contributors, and the works shown are eighty-eight in number, the greater portion of them being in oil. Miss Dacre and Miss A. L. Robinson alone furnish thirty-three oil paintings.” (The Manchester Evening News, 1 Dec 1880.)

THE SOCIETY OF WOMEN PAINTERS. – … gave their first exhibition of pictures yesterday in the studio of the president, Miss S. Isabel Dacre, at Barton House, Deansgate …” (The Manchester Evening News, 1 Dec 1880).

Annie and Isabel go to Italy.

Miss S. Isabel Dacre and Annie L. Robinson … have gone to pass the winter and persue their studies … in Italy. The picture by Miss Robinson, entitled the “Tryst,” or the “Salford Lass,” has been purchased by Mr. Henry Boddington, Jun., for presentation to the Art Gallery at Peel Park, Salford.”” (Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, 29 Dec 1880).


Second Exhibition of the Society of Women Painters.

JANUARY – “The second exhibition of the Manchester Society of Women Painters, at the Old Town Hall, closed yesterday evening. The sales have been exceedingly satisfactory to the exhibitors … Miss Annie L. Robinson‘s “Santa Croce, Florence” (£20), “Mother and Child” (£15 15s); Miss S. Isabel Dacre‘s “Loretto” (£15 15s) … [all the sales] realising £479 18s. We learn that Miss Robinson‘s fine portrait “Il Frato” will be sent to the forthcoming exhibition of the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts at the Royal Institution, and that the same lady’s “Incarnate April,” when finished, is intended for exhibition at the Royal Academy.

“The picture by Miss Annie L. Robinson, “The Vision of Spring,” … has been sold for 100 guineas. We are informed that immediately after the sale a well know picture collector made an offer for its purchase.” (Manchester Weekly Times and Examiner, 28 Jan 1882.)

Other artists mentioned: Jane Atkinson, Emily Beresford, Julia Pollitt, Isabel C. Scott, Fanny Sugars, Eleanor S. Wood. (The Guardian, 21 Jan 1882; unidentified newspaper, 5 Jan 1882.)

JULY – “Miss Robinson, Miss Dacre, and Miss Atkinson [have] been working during the spring at Clovelly, and Miss E. G. Thompson near Barmouth.” (The Artist and Journal of Home Culture, 1 Jul 1882, p209.)




St. Mark’s Church, Marylebone (Google Maps).

6 July – “… [Annie] married Mr Joseph W. Swynnerton, the well known artist” (The Queen, 15 Mar 1890, p371) … “6th July 1883 at the parish church in the District of St Mark, St Marylebone, London, after banns. The witnesses were her friend Susan Isobel Dacre [spelling as in article] and Paul W. Chapman. Annie’s address was 5 Langham Chambers and Joseph’s was 23 Alma Square. Annie was given no occupation in the marriage certificate and her father was listed as Frank Robinson, solicitor” (Journal of the Swinnerton Society, 13(6), Dec 2008, p147).


22 September – THE MANCHESTER SOCIETY OF WOMEN PAINTERS propose to HOLD an EXHIBITION of their WORK in October. – Further particulars can be obtained on application to S. ISABEL DACRE, Altrincham, Cheshire.

Third Exhibition of the Society of Women Painters – Annie living in Rome.

NOVEMBER – “The Manchester Society of Women Painters will hold their third annual exhibition next week in the studio of the president, Miss Susan Dacre, in South King-Street. The exhibition will open on Tuesday for private view, and afterwards to the public. The chief exhibitors will be Miss Dacre, Miss Annie L. Robinson, Miss E. G. Thomson, Miss Atkinson, and other members and students of the Society. Miss Robinson, who is now living in Rome, sends several interesting works; and Miss Thomson will exhibit a large cartoon of Britomart* defending the Red Cross Knight – one of a series of stained-glass designs she has in hand for the Women’s College at Cheltenham. The exhibition promises to be one of considerable interest.” [* A character in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (1590), a female knight.] (The Guardian, 17 Nov 1883.)

Miss Robinson, who is now living in Rome, sends several interesting works [to the third exhibition of the Society of Women Painters] …” (The Guardian, 17 Nov 1883).

The president of the society, Miss Dacre, is seen at her very best in the capital portrait of M. Guillaux, a French artillery officer, in which drawing and colour are very powerful … Mrs. Swinnerton (née Miss Annie L. Robinson) send from Rome … “The Reading Girl.” “Oleander,” and a large fine seascape, “The Cruel Sea.” (The Manchester Evening News, 23 Nov 1883.)

… now open in the studio at 10, South King-street … so much good and strong colour in so small an exhibition. This result is largely due to Miss Isabel Dacre‘s contributions … It is a great pity [Isabel Dacre‘s] portrait of M. Guillaux, a captain in the French artillery, arrived from France too late for the autumn exhibition … [He is] standing in an easy attitude, but still erect, as becomes the soldier, and looking straight at the spectator. He holds a cigarette in one hand, and there is an entire absence of pose or stiffness in the figure, which is characterised by the most masculine simplicity … It fulfils Fromentin’s great requisite of a good figure – it has a back to it … it is difficult to speak too highly of Miss Dacre‘s really remarkable contributions as a whole. Other contributions by Miss Dacre are “La Rêveuse,” a seated figure in white … a clever landscape study of the gorse-clad “Court Hill, Clovelly,” two portraits of children, and a large and ambitious picture, “Watching the Swans” … it is difficult to speak too highly of Miss Dacre‘s really remarkable contributions as a whole. Miss Annie Robinson does not send so many comtributions as usual, and her large seascape – “The Cruel Sea” – is rather the promise and forshadowing of a picture – a beautiful one, it is true – than a picture. But her “Oleander” has only one fault, that it reminds one too strongly of Mr. Alma Tadema. … There is some charming work in the “Reading Girl” …” (The Guardian, 22 Nov 1833.)

Other artists mentioned: Miss Jane Atkinson, Mrs. Beresford, Miss N. Butterworth, Miss Crabtree, Miss Edgar, Miss J. M. Kingsley, Mrs. Magan, Miss M. F. Monkhouse, Mrs. Morgan, Miss Pitcairn, Miss Jessie Pollitt, Miss Fanny Sugars, Miss F. Thomas, Miss E. G. Thomson, Miss Eleanor S. Wood, Miss M. A. Wroe, Miss Mary McNicoll Wroe. (The Guardian, 22 Nov 1833; The Manchester Evening News, 23 Nov 1883.)


JULYAnnie elected an member of the Manchester Academy (The Guardian, 7 Jul 1923).


OCTOBER – “Joseph and his wife are in London. In fact he has left Rome as a residence and has taken a studio in London. They come over here now and then. His address is – 5 The Avenue, Fulham Road, London.” (Letter from Charles Swinnerton to his son, 8 Oct 1888, Journal of the Swynnerton Society, 13(6), p147).


Annie and Isabel sign the Declaration in Favour of Women’s Suffrage.