Kate Elizabeth Bunce (1858-1927)

The painter Kate Bunce was the youngest daughter of John Thackray Bunce, editor of the Birmingham Post and one of those involved in the struggle to found the Birmingham Art Gallery. She was trained at the Birmingham School of Art, where she worked under E. R. Taylor. She lived most of her life in Birmingham, but exhibited in London from about 1880 onwards, showing four works at the Royal Academy. In 1888 she became an Associate of the RBSA, and along with Crane, Southall, Gaskin and others was an original member of the Society of Painters in Tempera.

Bunce painted historical and genre paintings, somewhat influenced by Rossetti, and also did portraiture. Her known surviving paintings seem to be very few: The Keepsake (1901) is in Birmingham, and shows a single girl with lute gazing Symbolist-fashion out of the picture; A Knight shows the subject in half-view with the focus on a highly decorated shield; Melody (Musica) (c.1895/7), again at the Birmingham gallery; and A Chance Meeting (1907), illustrating a Rossetti poem.

Bunce decorated various churches, and executed a mural for the Birmingham Town Hall in 1890. She also illustrated at least one book, published 1895. A sister, Myra Bunce, was also a painter, producing at least some landscapes.

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