Anna Lea Merritt (1844-1930)

Anna Lea Merritt

The painter Anna Lea Merritt was born in Philadelphia, and showed an early proclivity for drawing. She travelled to Europe in 1866, arriving in London in 1871 where she came under the influence of Henry Merritt, a painter, bookseller and critic. In that year she exhibited her first painting at the Royal Academy. She had a rather turbulent relationship with Henry Merritt, marrying him finally in 1877 only to be widowed within the year. However, she settled in London, and despite frequent trips to America, England remained her base thereafter. She exhibited at the Royal Academy through until 1893.

Anna Lea Merritt's artistic inspiration originated not from any individual artist but a magazine, the Art Journal. By far her best known picture is Love Locked Out, bought under the terms of the Chantrey Bequest and now at the Tate Gallery. Other work includes portraits, including one of Sir Henry Boxall RA at the Royal Academy, and a variety of rather sentimental pictures of religious and mythological figure subjects. An example of the former is Warders at the Straight Gate in the La Salle College Art Gallery, Philadelpia.

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