Joanna Mary Boyce

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Joanna Mary Boyce (7 December 1831 – 15 July 1861), also known by her married name as Mrs. H.T. Wells,[1] or as Joanna Mary Wells,[2] was an English painter of portraits, genre pictures, and occasionally landscapes. She was the sister of Pre-Raphaelite watercolourist George Price Boyce, and was herself associated with the Brotherhood.


Bird of God (1861)

Boyce, born in Maida Hill, London[3] was the daughter of George Boyce, a former wine-merchant who had found prosperity as a pawnbroker, and his wife Anne.[4] At the age of eighteen she entered Cary's art academy, and afterwards worked under James Mathews Leigh, at his school in Newman Street, London. Her first exhibited work was a life-size head, which appeared at the Royal Academy in 1855. In the same year she went to Paris, where she joined the ladies' class in Thomas Couture's atelier.[5]

She spent 1857 in Italy, and in December of that year married Henry Tanworth Wells, (later a Royal Academician) in Rome. Before returning to England, she painted the greater part of The Boys' Crusade, exhibited at the Academy in 1859. Subsequent exhibited works were: The Outcasts, The Heather-Gatherers, Do I like Butter?, La Veneziana, Peep-Bo!, and A Bird of God. This last painting was left complete on her easel at the time of her death.[3]

Boyce died from complications following the birth of her third child, Joanna Margaret, on 15 July 1861. After her death, Dante Gabriel Rossetti described her as "a wonderfully gifted woman"; another obituarist called her a genius.[6]

See also[edit]

English women painters from the early 19th century who exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art


  1. ^ Paintings by Joanna Mary Boyce (Past exhibitions - Tate Gallery, London)
  2. ^ "Biographical details". British Museum. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b Bryan 1889, p. 704.
  4. ^ Newall, Christopher; Egerton, Judy (1987). George Price Boyce. London: The Tate Gallery. p. 16. ISBN 9780946590773.
  5. ^ Brian Stewart; Mervyn Cutten (1997). The Dictionary of Portrait Painters in Britain up to 1920. Antique Collectors' Club. ISBN 1 85149 173 2.
  6. ^ Poë, Simon (24 August 2012). "Homage to Joanna". Apollo Magazine. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.



  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainBryan, Michael (1889). "Wells, Joanna Mary". In Armstrong, Sir Walter; Graves, Robert Edmund. Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (L–Z). II (3rd ed.). London: George Bell & Sons. p. 704.

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