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 Marian L. Barnes

(1867- 1963)


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Artist Marian Lavinia Barnes

Marian Barnes is best known as an artist who painted flower pictures in watercolours, and the above is one of her larger works - in fact exceptionally large for a watercolour. She exhibited pictures primarily in London during the years 1890 to 1913. For example she exhibited 22 works at the Royal Academy, 22 at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, 19 at the Royal Society of British Artists, 18 at the Society of Women Artists and 4 at the Royal Hibernian Academy.  Marian Barnes was born in St. Georges, Deptford in south east London and later lived in Blackheath and Lewisham where her mother Matilda seemed to run a photographic business with her daughters.  In later life the family moved to Cliftonville and subsequently Westgate-on-Sea near Margate in Kent. She is buried in Margate Cemetery with three of her four sisters. Her father, Robert, was a sea captain and allegedly none of his daughters married because the suitors were never good enough for their father.

The following is a quotation from the "Evening Standard" of June 9th, 1910, referring to an exhibition of her paintings at the Newman Gallery in Oxford Street, London: "All A-Blowing! - If not a-growing are the flowers, painted in water-colour by Miss Marian L. Barnes, now on view at the Newman Art Gallery. The good flower painter pursues a method exactly opposite to that recommended in grasping a nettle. By means of a light hand in arrangement and a loose touch in painting, Miss Barnes manages to preserve the breath and freshness of her subjects to a remarkable degree. Her flowers are not scattered all over the shop; they are arranged, but in bold masses, and lighted so that the interest is concentrated, with the result of a decorative unity. In all her work there is a pleasing simplicity of arrangement, purity, and at the same time sobriety of colour, and an entire absence of the 'tightness' that is so common in flower painting."



Pictured right is a portrait photograph of Marian Barnes, and below is a photograph taken in her studio in Blackheath (the first painting above can be seen on the left of the picture - it has since been reframed). There appear to be self-portraits in this scene, or they could be of her sisters, and there are also some landscape scenes. Apparently she in addition produced some sculptures but these were mostly destroyed when the house in Blackheath was bombed during the second world war.

Marian Barnes used to frame the pictures herself, doing the creation of the intricate mouldings and gilding.





The photographs on this page and the lower two paintings are shown courtesy of Rita Townsend who acted as a chauffeur for the sisters in the early 1930s when they lived in Margate.


For more information go to the following page: Barnes2

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