Anthony R. Montalba

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Anthony Rubens Montalba (1813–24 July 1884) was a Swedish-born, naturalised British painter and the head of a family of renowned artists that based itself in Venice in the later part of the nineteenth-century. Montalba edited and published The Famous Fairy Tales of all Nations, illustrated by Richard Doyle, in 1849.


Front Piece of the US Edition of Fairy Tales of all Nations.

Montalba edited and published The Famous Fairy Tales of all Nations, illustrated by Richard Doyle, in 1849.[1] In the introduction to his book, Montalba declared that the folly of declaring fairy tales to be immoral had now been "cast off".[2]

The London Athenaeum described Montalba's book in the following terms:

Mr Montalba has put a girdle round the earth, and brought home a sprite from most countries under the moon, to gambol upon our clean-swept hearths, in a Christmas night, or on our garden terraces when the midsummer sun is sinking, and there is scarce light enough left to read by. Mr Doyle's illustrations do their full part in making the book attractive". [3]

Family life[edit]

Venice by Clara Montalba
Henrietta Montalba painted by the Princess Louise
Self Portrait by Ellen Montalba, 1885

Montalba married an English[4] woman Emeline Davies in 1839. The couple had five children, four daughters and a son:

  • Clara Frederica (1842–1929)[5] Clara studied in Paris under Eugene Isabey and later in Venice, where her family moved, at the Accademia di Belle Arti. She attained international recognition following exhibitions in Europe and America. She specialized in watercolors, most notably scenes from her family's home in Venice, where she lived at the end of the 19th century. Her work was exhibited at the 1893 exposition of British Women Painters.[6]
  • Ellen Emeline (1842–1902), who studied at the Royal College of Art and in Europe, being based in Venice along with her family. She painted a number of portraits and landscape paintings. Among the portraits she exhibited was one of her sister Clara.[4]
  • Edward Augustus (1843–1938), whose house in Venice became a gathering place for artists.[7]
  • Hilda Montalba (d.1919). Like her sisters, Hilda painted many landscape subjects, including scenes of Venice. Like Clara she painted fishing boats, and also painted close-up studies of Venetian people. One notable example of her work is a painting now in the Graves Art Gallery in Sheffield, Boy Unloading a Venetian Market Boat.[4]
  • Henrietta Mary Ann Skerrett (1856–1893). Henrietta was a noted sculptor who studied first at what was to become the Royal College of Art in South Kensington, and then in the Accademia di Belle Arti at Venice. Later she became a pupil of Jules Dalou, the French sculptor, during his residence in London. She was on terms of friendship with her fellow-student Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, who painted a portrait of her and presented it to the Canadian Academy of Arts in Ottawa (now in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada).[8]

The 1871 British census shows Montalba living at 19 Arundel Gardens, Notting Hill, London, with four daughters, all artists.[9]


Montalba died in Venice on 24 July 1884.[10]


  1. ^ Zipes, Jack David, p. xviii, Victorian Fairy Tales: The Revolt of the Fairies and Elves Retrieved October 2011
  2. ^ Ried, Robin Anne, p.261, Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy: Overviews Retrieved October 2011
  3. ^ Wallace, Severn Teackle, p.24, Glimpses of Spain; or, Notes of an Unfinished Tour in 1847, Issue 2
  4. ^ a b c Biography of the Montalba sisters Retrieved August 2011
  5. ^ Images of Montalba's paintings Retrieved August 2011
  6. ^ Images from 1893 exhibition Retrieved August 2011
  7. ^ "Mr. Augustus Montalba". The Times. London: The Times. 5 July 1938. p. 16. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  8. ^ National Gallery of Canada Online Retrieved August 2011
  9. ^ History of Arundel Gardens Retrieved Feb 7 2010
  10. ^ "Deaths". The Times. London: The Times. 1 August 1884. p. 1. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 

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