Mary Sargant Florence

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Mary Sargant Florence (21 July 1857–14 December 1954) was a British painter of figure subjects, mural decorations in fresco and occasional landscapes in watercolour and pastel. She was born in London, née Sargant; a brother was the sculptor Francis William Sargant. She studied in Paris under Luc-Olivier Merson and at the Slade School under Alphonse Legros. She was a member of the New English Art Club and the Society of Painters in Tempera.

In 1888 she married Henry Smyth Florence, an American musician. They had two children: Philip Sargant Florence, the economist, and Alix Strachey, the psychoanalyst and translator of Freud. After her husband's death by drowning in 1891, she moved to Marlow, Buckinghamshire, and built her house "Lordswood" (1899–1900), where she lived until 1940.

She is known for her works Children at Chess (c.1903), Suffer Little Children to Come unto Me (1913) and Pentecost (c.1913). She painted fresco decorations at the Old School, Oakham, Rutland (c.1909–14), and at Bournville Junior School near Birmingham (1912–14). Her frescoes at Oakham School were commissioned by the headmaster, her brother, Walter Lee Sargant, and illustrate the Arthurian story of Gareth.[1]

She was a suffragist, a supporter of the Women's Tax Resistance League, and a member of the committee for the Hague Peace Congress of 1915.[2] With the Cambridge scholar and editor Charles Kay Ogden, she published a book on militarism and feminism, which argued that women had the prerogative and responsibility to combat international militarism.[3]

In 1940, she wrote Colour Co-Ordination, a work on the history, theory and aesthetics of colour.[4] She edited two volumes of the Papers of the Society of Painters in Tempera.

She died at Twickenham, Middlesex.


  1. ^ The quest for the Grail: Arthurian legend in British art, 1840-1920 (p68-9) by Christine Poulson
  2. ^ Sharon Ouditt. Fighting forces, writing women: identity and ideology in the First World War, Routledge, 1993 ISBN 0-415-04705-6 ISBN 978-0415047050
  3. ^ C.K. Ogden and Mary Sargant Florence. Militarism versus Feminism: An Enquiry and a Policy Demonstrating that Militarism involves the Subjection of Women, London: Allen and Unwin, 1915
  4. ^ M. Sargant Florence. Colour Co-ordination, London: John Lane, 1940

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