Thursday, February 5, 2015

WOMEN ARTISTS: Anne Frances Byrne

The featured artist for February, in my series of Women Artists, is:


"Roses and Grapes"

Here are 10 things to know about Anne Frances Byrne, along with a few examples of her work:

1.  Anne Frances Byrne was a British painter (1775-1837).  She was among a group of late 18th to early 19th century artists who painted still lifes of flowers and fruit.

2.  She was born in London, the eldest daughter of a landscape engraver, William Byrne.  
She became one of her father's pupils and assistants.  

3.  She became proficient in both flower and fruit painting, and exhibited her first piece at the age of twenty-one.

"Grapes and Strawberries"

4.  At first, Anne painted in oils, but later took up and devoted herself to watercolors, in which she became very proficient.

5.  At that time, there were very few women watercolor painters.  She was elected to membership at the  Society of Watercolour Painters, in London, in 1809.  In fact, she was the first and only female member of the Society of Watercolour Painters until 1821.

6.  Over the years, she resigned, rejoined, and resigned again, from the Society -- largely because of gender discrimination, the disapproval of her genre, and other disagreements.

"Honeysuckle, & Poppies, Etc.", watercolor on paper, 13" x 17"

7.  She painted and exhibited her watercolor paintings of flowers and fruit, along with some studies of birds -- at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.  With the exception of a few pieces, Byrne focused primarily on flowers -- usually sprinkled with fruit, bees, butterflies, dewdrops, and other accessories, to bring them to life.

8.  Her flower paintings glowed with refreshingly rich colors, combined with a charming freshness and a deft technical precision with the watercolor medium.

9.  Her three siblings were also artists -- her sisters, Elizabeth and Letitia were well-known engravers, and her brother, John, was also a watercolorist.

"Roses & Grapes"

10.  Byrne was originally a teacher, but soon decided to devote herself to her painting, which she continued for the rest of her life.  She died at the age of 62, in 1837.

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