An Irish Girl

An Irish Girl

Watercolour, 1890
Helen Allingham, 1848 – 1926

Helen showed artistic talent at an early age, inspired by her grandmother and aunt, both accomplished artists of the time.
She studied at the Birmingham School of Design for three years and then at the National Art Training School from 1867 (now the Royal College of Art).
Working as an illustrator, she contributed to The Graphic and several children’s and adult books, signing her work with a gender-neutral H.Patterson, her maiden name.
After her marriage in 1874, to Irish poet William Allingham, she gave up her career as an illustrator and focussed on watercolour painting. The family home was in Surrey and Helen began painting the picturesque cottages and rural scenes for which she became famous.
She also undertook portraits, such as the study shown here. Sometimes cited as being overly sentimental, her work was nonetheless very successful during her lifetime and has remained so, partly due its use on greeting cards.

MNEMG 1944.10