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Lady Mabel Marguerite Annesley (25 February 1881 - 19 June 1959)[1] was a wood-engraver and watercolour painter. Her work is in many collections, including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of New Zealand. She exhibited in the Festival of Britain in 1952.[2]

She was born on 25 February 1881, at Annesley Lodge, Regent's Park, London, the daughter of Hugh Annesley, 5th Earl Annesley (1831–1908), lieutenant-colonel in the Scots Fusilier Guards and landowner, and his wife, Mabel Wilhelmina Frances Markham, Countess Annesley (1858–1891), greatgranddaughter of Sir Francis Grant, eminent Victorian portrait painter and president of the Royal Academy.[1] Her half-sister, Lady Constance Malleson was a writer, actress, and mistress of Bertrand Russell.

At fourteen, she studied at the Frank Calderon School of Animal Painting in London. At eighteen she was elected a member of the Belfast Art Society and exhibited with the Society for many years.[2]

She married in 1904 and had one son, Gerald. Her husband died in 1913, and a year later she inherited Castlewellan Castle.[2]

She had one child;

Gerald Francis Sowerby (later Annesley; 5 November 1904-April 1992) married firstly Lady Elizabeth Jocelyn, daughter of the Earl of Roden, secondly Mary Macdonald, and thirdly Elizabeth Cromwell

At the age of about forty she learnt the technique of wood engraving at the Central School in London. She was soon regarded as one of its three or four leading exponents in Britain along with artists like Gwen Raverat and Robert Gibbings.[2]

She moved home several times, living also in Belfast, Connemara and in Rathfriland. During the Second World War she emigrated to New Zealand but returned to England in 1953, settling in Suffolk.[2]

Lady Mabel Annesley died of myelomatosis on 19 June 1959 in Clare, Suffolk, and was buried in Long Melford, Suffolk.[1] She left an unfinished autobiography called As the Sight Is Bent, which was published by the Museum Press in 1964.[3] In it she says that Paul Nash and David Jones were particular influences.[4]

She is commemorated by an Ulster History Circle blue plaque at the Arboretum, Castlewellan Forest Park, County Down.[5]

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
"Lady Mabel Annesley". Ulster History Circle. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
"As the sight is bent, an unfinished autobiography.". Open Library. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
"Annesley;Mabel; ( 1881 - 1959 )". The Central Saint Martins Museum and Study Collection website. Retrieved 2009-10-04.

"Blue Plaques - unveiling of plaque to Lady Mabel Annesley". Ulster History Circle. 2008-09-26. Retrieved 2014-01-29.

Further reading

Egerton, Diane Allwood (2010). Artist and aristocrat : the life and work of Lady Mabel Annesley, 1881-1959. [Belfast]: Ulster Historical Foundation. ISBN 9781903688984.
External links

Works by Mabel Annesley Collection of Museum of New Zealand


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