Goodness, after yesterday's extravaganza, I'm really hoping that Wednesday's lady will treat me a little kinder, especially as I have very little time today. For those who remember my daughter, you will be horrified to learn that she is 18 today! I personally don't believe it, as I think she is only around 6 or something. I feel old. Moving on. Today's subject is probably the latest-lived of our ladies, but proof that the ideas of Victoriana and Pre-Raphaelitism stretched well beyond the nineteenth century. Say hello to Violet Brunton...
Violet Ella Evelyn Brunton was born in Brighouse in Yorkshire on 28 October 1878. Her parents, Arthur (1848-1919) and Eliza (1849-1919) had married at Christmas 1877 - both were children of engineers and when they married, Arthur listed his occupation as an engineer. In the 1881 census he had become a 'corresponding clerk'. By 1891, Violet had been joined by little brother Harold (1882-1967), and both Arthur and Eliza are listed as painters, living in Birkdale on Merseyside - Arthur was a portraitist and Eliza, a miniaturist. In a piece on Violet's art in 1927, she said her mother had done a thousand pieces in miniature and portraits in coloured chalk by the time she died.
|Yarrow's Field (1915) Arthur Brunton
By 1901, Arthur and Eliza had combined their art with teaching at the Southport School of Art, and Violet started by attending the Southport School of Art, then moved to the art school on Mount Street in Liverpool. She very quickly started to win medals in the National Competition (to which all art students could apply). In 1902, Violet gained a bronze medal for a design for a bronze panel which was reportedly 'good in design but somewhat careless in the treatment of figures.' In 1903 she won another bronze, this time for her design for a sundial, which appeared in art journals...
Please excuse the ropey image, it's still good to have it and you get the impression that Violet's art had less of the 'prettiness' about it than you would expect. Her sculpted figures have a power and immediacy that is striking even now...
The International Studio in 1904 reported that Violet's work had gained her the County Palatine Scholarship of the city of Liverpool and was subsequently offered a place at the Royal College of Art - 'Violet Brunton is especially strong in modelling and her scholarship requires her to study in London. Her absence from Liverpool will be felt as a loss to the school.' This might have been when she also gained a silver medal for her work which is breath-taking...
|Alfred Oliphant as the Old Squire (1932)
|Mary Queen of Scots (c.1934) Edmund Dulac
|The Gossips (1926) signed Victor du Lac
|Illustration from Ecclesiasticus (1927)
|Captain Graham Archibald Hope RA Governor of the Province
|Captain Graham Archibald Hope RA as a Barbary Envoy (1927)
|Portrait of An Old Chief (undated)