Biographical notes: 1930-1939.

< 1920s


[A friend travelled to Rome with Annie and] was stunned [when she saw Annies house] . ‘This is a wonderful house – so beautifully clean – wonderful – the roof garden and studios are delightful. The marble steps, the great doors, painted ceilings – all luxury. Why doesn’t Mrs S. live here always in comfort?’

Inigo Thomas (27 Sep 2018) London Review of Books, 40(18), pp28-9).


Annie photographed in 1931 (Royal Academy web site).


Annie at Hayling Island with her dog, Marcus. (Exact date of photo uncertain.)



In a small studio in a cul-de-sac off the Fulham Road, London, lives one of Englands foremost painters,

She is Mrs Annie Louisa Swynnerton, who, at 87, has just had two pictures accepted for the Spring Exhibition of the Manchester Art Gallery …

Mr John Tweed, the famous sculpture, who works in a neighbouring studio, said:-

“Although Mrs Swynnerton is 87 she paints for long hours daily in her studio and still sends pictures to exhibitions. I hold that she is the best living painter in England. At present she is at her bungalow on Hayling Island, Hampshire, painting by the sea.”

Mrs Swynnerton was born at Hulme, Manchester, in 1845 [error in original article], and began her training at Manchester School of Art. When she was 28 she went to Rome and studied for two years, and afterwards studied in Paris …

[*John Tweed (1869-1933). Scottish-born monumenta sculptur and friend of Rodin. Worked from London from 1890.]

Waikato Times (New Zealand), 1 Apr 1932, p5



Hampshire Telegraph and Post, 17 February 1933.


We regret to announce the death of Miss Susan Isabel Dacre, the painter. She died at Blackheath yesterday [20 February], three days after entering her nintieth year.

The Guardian, 21 Feb 1933.


The Star, 26 March 1932.

Shortly before her death in 1933, Annie said that she had “fought and suffered” for recognition. “I have had to struggle so hard … You see, when I was young, women could not paint – or so it was said. The world believed that and did not want the work of women, however sincere, however good.” (BBC news item on Painting Light and Hope exhibition, 4 Mar 2018.)


We regret to announce the death … of Mrs. Annie L. Swynnerton, the distinguished artist, which occurred at Hayling Island, Hants … Annie Louisa Swynnerton was born in Manchester, the third of seven daughters … She derived her education chiefly from the use she made of her father’s splendid library, where she acquired a passion for reading that always remained with her.

The Manchester Guardian, 25 Oct 1933, p4.

… Even this year, after reaching her 87th birthday, Mrs Swynnerton was engaged in painting “An Image of Desire” and another picture, which were intended for the Academy.

Dame Laura Knight, noted for her pictures of circus life, who is now the only woman A.R.A., [1] paid tribute to Mrs Swynnerton yesterday.

“She was a great artist and a brave soul,” said Dame Laura. “Few people can understand what a fight it must have entailed for her to reach such perfection in her work, considering the difficulties she must have had in her early years, when it was by no means easy for any woman to study a subject seriously. I should like with profound respect and affectionate regard to pay this tribute to her memory – one of the greatest artists of her century and an original genius of the highest order.”

[1] Elected Associate 1927, full member 1936.

The Scotsman, 25 Oct 1933, p12.


The Daily Gleaner, 3 November 1933:

Annie Swynnerton Dead in England … senior woman associate of the Royal Academy, whose “Dream of Italy” hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, died [October 24] at the age of 88.

In spite of failing sight and other infirmities, the veteran artist continued painting until a few months ago … “The Unrelenting Past” in Ottowa is one of her best known works.

Annie’s grave, St. Mary’s Church, Hayling Island.

The inscription reads “I have known love and the light of the sun.”

(Source: Kirsty Stonell Walker at The Kissed Mouth blog.)



ANNIE LOUISA SWYNNERTON, Deceased. Persuant to the Trustee Act, 1925, Section 27 (as ammended). / PERSONS having claims against the estate of Annie Louisa Swynnerton, deceased, late of 1A, The Avenue Studios, 76, Fulham Road, London, S.W., and also of Sicilia, Hayling Island, Hants, a Widow, A.R.A. (who died at Sicilia, Hayling Island aforesaid, on the 24th day of October, 1933, and whose Will was proved in the Principal Probate Registry on the 11rh day of January, 1934, by the National Bank Limited, the sole executor), are requested to send written particulars thereof to the undersigned before the 27th day of March, 1934, after which daye the said executor will distribute the estate, having regard only to the claims then received. – Dated this 17th day of January, 1934. / STEPHENSON HARWOOD and TATHAM, 16, Old Broad Street, London, E.C.2., Solicitors for the said Executor.


Gloucestershire Echo, 1 Feb 1934:


Sale Of He Palette Just As She Left It

Over 170 pictures by the late Mrs. Annie Swynnerton, A.R.A., from her studio in Fulham-road, are to be sold at Christie’s on February 9, along with a number of frames, easels, and her palette as she left it at her death.

… In the collection now to be sold there are 34 finished paintings, 136 unfinished (including some studies for her Academy exhibits), and a number of works by other painters.

… Her largest picture, “An Angel of Mercy,” measuring about 13 feet by 9 feet, is also among the unfinished works and there is another entitled “The Charmer,” painted on a 10 feet by 7 feet canvas.

… There are many Italian studies in the collection, and among the painter’s little treasures are many pieces of 17th century foience of which she was very fond.

Finally there is a panel of 16th century Flemish tapestry, some Persian rugs, a white marble bust of a Cardinal, and a little bronze figure of a woman, inscribed “Winifred” by the artist herself.

The Yorkshire Post, 10 February 1934:


£600 for Pictures of Mrs. Swynnerton.

From our London Correspondent


When Mrs. Annie Swynnerton A.R.A., died, she left in her studio about 170 pictures, mainly rough and unfinished sketches abd these were sold at Christie’s today [Friday 9th]. Only about a score of them were finished and framed paintings; the remained being in a crude state on loose, unstretched canvas.

One portrait of Mrs. Charles Hunter that had been exhibited in Doncaster fetched the highest price, 85gns [£89 and 5 shillings, or £4,900 at 2022 value]; while a seascape shown at the Royal Academy drew 55gns [£57 and 15 shillings, or £3,310 at 2022 value].; and a small portrait of Henry James, the novelist, 18gns [£1,040 at 2022 value].

For the rough sketches there was very tame bidding, and the larger they were the lower the price. Three lots, including a 10ft. by 7ft. canvas, brought no more than one guinea [£69 at 2022 value].

The total realised for the collection was £601 [£33,200 at 2022 value].


The Guardian, 21 February 1936:

“The Art Gallery Committee has been considering how best to use a bequest of £500 [£27,600 at 2022 value], left to Manchester by Mrs. Annie L. Swynnerton, “for the advancement of art.” … Mrs. Swynnerton can be claimed as a Manchester painter …”


Dunee Evening Telegraph, 16 July 1937:

“Manchester Art Gallery Committee decided to offer a £125 [£6,560 at 2022 value] scholarship out of a bequest by the late Mrs. A. L. Swynnerton, a Manchester artist, to enable a Manchester artist to study for a year in London, Paris, or elsewhere.”

< 1920s