Mary Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (25.1.1872-10.3.1945)

Matthew’s daughter, Mary Eleanor Forestcue-Brickdale (born 25.1.1872) trained as an artist at Crystal Palace School of Art, under Herbert Bone, and entered the Royal Academy in 1896. Her first major painting was The Pale Complexion of True Love(1899). She soon began exhibiting her oil paintings at the Royal Academy, and her watercolours at the Dowdeswell Gallery, where she had several solo exhibitions2.

While at the Academy, she came under the influence of John Byam Liston Shaw, a protégé of John Everett Millais much influenced by John William Waterhouse2. When Byam Saw founded an art school in 1911, Fortescue-Brickdale became a teacher there.

In 1909, Ernest Brown, of the Leicester Galleries, commissioned a series of 28 watercolour illustrations to Tennison’s Idylls of the King, which she painted over two years. They were exhibited in the gallery in 1911, and 24 of them were published the next year in a deluxeedition of the first four Idylls2.

She lived much of her career in Holland Park Road, opposite Leighton House, where she held an exhibition in 19042.

Fortescue-Brickdale exhibited at the first exhibition of the Society of Graphic Art in 19213.

Later she also worked with stained glass. She was a staunch Christian, and donated works to churches. Amongst her best known works are The Uninvited Guest and Guinevere. She died on 10 March 19454/5, and is buried at Brompton Cemetery, London6.

Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale and Byam Shaw, about 1911 or 1912.
© Nancy Anderson and John Peele

‘Contemplation’ by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale

  • Reference entry at Oxford University’s Index(
  • Lupack, Barbara Tepa; Lupack, Alan (2008). Illustrating Camelot. Boydell & Brewer. Pp126-8. ISBN 978-1-84384-183-8
  • “Listof Members”, Catalogueof the First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Graphic Art London: Society of Graphic Art : 45-48, January 1921.
  • Jan Marsh & Pamela Gerrish Nunn (1997). Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists. Pamela Gerrish Nunn(2012) A Pre-Raphaelite Journey.

Obituary BMJ June 18, 1921



Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale and Byam Shaw, about 1911 or 1912.
© Nancy Anderson and John Peele

Contemplation by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale