Helen Allingham (nee Paterson) was born
in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, but was brought up in Cheshire and
Birmingham. She studied at the Birmingham School of Design, the
Royal Academy Schools and the Slade, initially making a living as an
After marrying William Allingham, a
well known Irish poet and magazine editor in 1874, she turned to
watercolour painting full time, soon exhibiting at the Royal Academy and
Royal Watercolour Society.
They moved to the country (in Surrey)
in 1881 and she then did numerous pictures of country cottages, flower
gardens and other aspects of the countryside.
In fact Allingham almost built her
reputation on pictures of thatched cottages and was an exceedingly
prolific artist with a long career. These pictures are both relatively
common and highly priced to this day. Regretfully these paintings are
often sentimental and were no doubt even popular in their day partly as
a reminder of an age that was rapidly passing (if it ever existed with
clean looking peasants with frolicking children in an idyllic
countryside, and the sun always shining) - as a result they are banned
from this web site but you can see lots of them on the web site
mentioned below. However, as a painter Helen Allingham was certainly
very competent as can be seen in the picture above.
Her pictures are so popular that there
is a Helen Allingham Society with a web site at
a more complete biography and other examples of her work are given.
Other examples of her work can be seen
in the book Victorian Flower Gardens by Andrew Clayton-Payne.
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