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Artist Helen Mary Elizabeth Allingham (1848-1926)

Helen Allingham

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 illustrator.


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 where 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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Owen Bowen

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