Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Maria Leonard, immortalised in paint

Okay, step 2 from Lisa Alzo's Fearless Females - a photo of a female ancestor. Only it isn't a photo, and Maria is in a collateral line. But I still love it.

Maria Harris ni Leonard


This is Maria Leonard, niece to my great great grandmother, Anne Groves Leonard (her father was Anne's brother, Charles Leonard). It was painted around 1905 by her husband, the artist and photographer, Albert Edward Harris. Albert and Maria married in Vaynor, Wales on 23 April 1890. They then moved to India and had one child, Leonard Harris. Albert nicknamed Maria "Queenie". Maria and Leonard came back to England a few times, sometimes with Albert along, sometimes not. I love this painting. Maria looks a little tired, but is still beautiful (she possibly already had the breast cancer that killed her in 1911). Albert's techinique is impeccable and I love the subtle background. I just wish I had a better photo of it (this one I think has been passed through a number of hands, and we all want to see the original painting and improve the photo quality).

There is another painting of Maria by Albert (there are probably others as well, but I have only seen images of two), painted around the time of their marriage. It is good, but this one has something very special about it, a warmth and familiarity. Paint is more expressive and more truthful than photography. I feel very priviledged to have this image and to have Maria in my family tree.

2 comments:

  1. thx for this painting Lucy Puzey was also my g'g'grandmother,so this beautiful lady in also her niece.

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    1. Would love to get in touch with you. Drop me an email?

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