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Emily Mary Osborn SWA (1828-1925)

Emily Mary Osborn, SWA (1828-1925)

Emily Mary Osborn was one of the most interesting and significant women artists of the Victorian period. Her talents were nurtured by leading figure painters in both Britain and Germany, and she established herself first with portraits and genre scenes, and then, from the 1870s, with landscapes. Her energy and independence of spirit led her to create distinctive work that was recognised through prizes and reviews, and also to involve herself in the women’s suffrage movement.

Emily Mary Osborn was born in Kentish Town, London, on 11 February 1828, the eldest of nine children of the Reverend Edward Osborn and his wife, Mary (née Bolland). Ordained as a priest in 1829, her father held the position of curate at Boughton Monchelsea, Kent (1829-30), Headcorn, Kent (1830-34) and West Tilbury, Essex (1834-42). While the family was living at the parsonage at Gun Hill, West Tilbury, Emily began to show a talent for art through her drawings of her siblings, and received encouragement from her mother, who had also hoped to become an artist.

In about 1842, the Osborn family returned to London, settling in Howland Street, north of Oxford Street, and worshipping at St Anne’s Soho.

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