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Helen Allingham (1848 - 1926)

The Woodland Path

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HELEN ALLINGHAM, RWS

The Woodland Path

Signed Watercolour

27 by 20 cm., 10 ¾ by 8 in. (frame size 47 by 42 cm., 18 ½ by 16 ½ in.)

Helen Allingham (nee Paterson) was born near Burton-on-Trent, Derbyshire, and received her training as an artist at the Birmingham School of Design and Royal Academy Schools. She began her career as an illustrator for The Graphic and the Cornhill magazines; she also produced colour illustrations for a number of books. For a time she shared a house with Kate Greenaway in Hampstead, London, and the two women went on painting excursions together.

In 1874 Helen married the Irish poet William Allingham, a close friend of Rossetti, which enabled her to enter the closed circle of the Pre-Raphaelites. She edited for publication her husband’s diary, which was published in 1907 and contains many interesting reminiscences of Tennyson, Carlyle and other well known contemporaries, including John Ruskin, who wrote kindly of her work in his book The Art of England, 1884. In 1881 the Allinghams moved to Witley in Surrey, where Birket Foster was living. Rapidly becoming friends, the two painters began to make Witley a centre for rural artists. William Allingham died in 1889, but his wife remained in Witley. She worked continuously until her death, painting studies of rural cottages and country gardens, recording the changing rural lifestyles. She supplied colour illustrations for a number of books: Happy England (1903), The Homes of Tennyson (1905) and the Cottages Homes of England (1909). Works by her are in many public collections.