Anna Alma-Tadema

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Anna Alma-Tadema
Miss Anna Alma Tadema, by Laurens Alma Tadema.jpg
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Anna Alma Tadema, oil on canvas, 1883, Royal Academy of Arts[a]
Born 1867
Died 1943
Nationality English

Anna Alma-Tadema (1867–1943) was a British artist, daughter of painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. She created drawings and paintings of portraits, interior scenes, flowers and buildings. She was influenced by her father, and showed her works at exhibitions with her father and step-mother, Laura Theresa Alma-Tadema. Her work was shown at national exhibitions, like the Royal Academy of Arts, and the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago where she won a prize. She also won a medal at the 1889 Paris exhibition.

Early life[edit]

Anna Alma-Tadema was the second daughter of Dutch painter Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and his French wife, Marie-Pauline Gressin de Boisgirard[2][3] who lived in Brussels.[3] Her older sister, Laurence, was born in 1864. The girls' mother died in 1869.[2] Lawrence and his daughters then moved to England.[3] Her father married for a second time to Laura Epps in 1871, when Anna was four years old.[2]

Laurence received her education at home and it is believed that Anna was home-schooled, too.[2] She grew up in London. Anna Alma-Tadema appears at least twice in paintings by her father. In 1873 she and her sister were depicted in This is Our Corner and her father painted her portrait in 1883.

Anna Alma-Tadema, portrait photograph
Lawrence Alma-Tadema, This is Our Corner, also known as Laurense and Anna Alma-Tadema, 1873, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

Anna's mother, father, and step-mother were painters.[4] Lawrence was inspired by words from antiquity and developed a style that was emulated by Laura, Anna and other artists. Once he died, the popularity of his works and style waned for about six decades.[5] Anna's sister, Laurence was a poet, novelist, critic, playwright, and short story author.[4]


Alma-Tadema painted portraits, like Miss Tessa Gosse. This and other works, like The Misty Valley and The Gold Room, were shown at the Royal Academy of Arts.[2] She also made paintings of flowers,[6] pencil and chalk portraits, and watercolor paintings of house interiors and buildings.[7]

Anna Alma-Tadema made watercolour paintings of the interior of the Alma-Tadema family house, Townshend House, Tichfield Terrace, near Regent's Park in London.[8] It was extravagantly decorated by her father to resemble a Roman villa.[5][7] The Drawing Room, which she painted when she was a teenager,[9] was exhibited in 1893 at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.[10] shown at the April 2011 Victoria and Albert Museum's exhibition, The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 in London.[9] The Gold Room, also made in 1885, was made of the house's interior.[9] Alma-Tadema was described by biographer Helen Zimmem as a "delicate, dainty artist who has inherited so much of her father's power for reproducing detail."[11]

The Drawing Room, Townshend House, 1885, Royal Academy of Arts, London
Eton College Chapel, 1886

Alma-Tadema exhibited works in England from 1885 to 1928.[2] In 1889 she won a medal at the Paris exhibition.[5] For instance, she exhibited The Idler's Harvest at the Royal Academy in 1898.[12] Anna, father Lawrence, and stepmother Laura all exhibited and won prizes at the World's Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.[13] John Hipkins made an etching of one of her works that he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1897. The Women Painters of the World (1905) book by Walter Shaw Sparrow included her self-portrait.[2]

Personal life[edit]

She was committed to women's right to vote and signed the Some Supporters of the Women's Suffrage Movement in 1897.[14] Neither Anna Alma-Tadema or her sister married. They were poor and did not have successful careers in their later years.[2]


  1. ^ The portrait of Anna Alma-Tadema by her father is on the cover of The Awkward Age in Women's Popular Fiction, 1850-1900.[1]


  1. ^ Sarah Bilston (22 July 2004). The Awkward Age in Women's Popular Fiction, 1850-1900 : Girls and the Transition to Womanhood: Girls and the Transition to Womanhood. OUP Oxford. pp. Front cover, back cover. ISBN 978-0-19-155676-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Sara Gray (2009). The Dictionary of British Women Artists. Casemate Publishers. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-7188-3084-7. 
  3. ^ a b c The Intelligence: A Semi-monthly Journal of Education. E.O. Vaile. 1900. p. 172. 
  4. ^ a b The Lady's Realm. Hutchinson. 1898. p. 34. 
  5. ^ a b c Ian Chilvers (2009). The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists. Oxford University Press. p. 14. ISBN 0-19-953294-X. 
  6. ^ Ray Desmond (25 February 1994). Dictionary Of British And Irish Botantists And Horticulturalists Including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. CRC Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-85066-843-8. 
  7. ^ a b Ellen Gosse (1894). "Laurens Alma-Tadema". The Century. XLVII (64). Century Company. pp. 484–497. 
  8. ^ Elree I. Harris; Shirley R. Scott (26 November 2013). A Gallery of Her Own: An Annotated Bibliography of Women in Victorian Painting. Routledge. pp. 53, 245, 248. ISBN 978-1-135-49434-6. 
  9. ^ a b c "The Drawing Room, Townshend House, 10th September 1885". Collections. Royal Academy of Arts. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Halsey Cooley Ives (1893). World's Columbian Exposition, 1893: Official Catalogue. Part X. Department K. Fine Arts. W.B. Conkey. p. 139. 
  11. ^ Helen Zimmern (1902). Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, R.A. G. Bell & Sons. p. 8. 
  12. ^ Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain); Henry Blackburn (1898). Academy Notes. Chatto and Windus. p. 25. 
  13. ^ Journal of the Society of Arts. Society of Arts. 1894. pp. 444, 602. 
  14. ^ Deborah Cherry (12 November 2012). Beyond the Frame: Feminism and Visual Culture, Britain 1850 -1900. Routledge. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-135-09483-6. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gere, Charlotte, Artistic Circles: Design and Decoration in the Aesthetic Movement, V & A Publishing, 2010

External links[edit]

Media related to Anna Alma-Tadema at Wikimedia Commons