Anderson painting returned to Falmouth Art Gallery
- Published 10 October 2011
The Art Fund has gifted Sophie Anderson's painting Roses to Falmouth Art Gallery in memory of its former director Brian Stewart, who died last year.
The Art Fund has gifted Sophie Anderson's painting Roses to Falmouth Art Gallery in memory of its former director Brian Stewart, who died last year. The painting, by one-time local artist Anderson, returns home to Falmouth after being exhibited at the opening of the town's first art gallery over a century ago.
Like many painters associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Anderson's early work showed strong attention to botanical detail, as evidenced in her still life Roses. The painting is believed to be the same as was exhibited at the opening of the first Falmouth Art Gallery in 1894, alongside pieces by Sargent, Whistler and Leighton among others.
Sophie Anderson (1823–1903) was a Paris-born painter loosely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who specialised in rural images of children and women. Her family fled France to escape the 1848 revolution, settling in America, where Anderson met and married British artist Walter Anderson.
During her life her work was widely exhibited at venues including the Royal Academy and Royal Society of British Artists and, despite being largely forgotten today, her painting No Walk Today recently sold for over £1,000,000. Anderson spent the latter years of her life living in Falmouth, Cornwall, where she died in 1903.
Brian Stewart was the director of Falmouth Art Gallery from 2000 to his death in 2010. He was an enthusiastic proponent of making art accessible to a wider audience, and throughout his directorship he pioneered initiatives encouraging children's engagement. Many portraits in the gallery would have two labels, one which stated key information about the picture, the other noting a child's response to the piece.
He was an authority on British Portraiture, writing several influential books on the subject, and was a talented fundraiser – shortly before his death he secured the funds to buy a painting by Tacita Dean for the gallery.