Anna Lea Merritt (American 1844 – 1930)

I add Anna Lea Merritt to this list because I love Pre-Raphaelite Art and I just learned that I am related to her. She was a daring woman artist in a male dominated world. Originally named Anna Massey Lea she moved to London to study art at age 21 and after 5 years married her teacher, the painter Henry Merritt who died 3 months later. She never remarried and devoted herself to art, making a living doing portraits and figurative works.

She joined a group called Royal Society of Portrait Painters, with 24 other artists in England who were dissatisfied with the selection process of the Royal Academy. She lived in Hurstbourne Tarrant in Hampshire England. Her works are in the Tate Museum in London and are known Worldwide.

Hurstbourne Tarrant


The chief obstacle to a woman’s success is that she can never have a wife. Just reflect what a wife does for an artist.
Anna Massey Lea Merritt
“A Letter to Artists: Especially Women Artists,” 1900


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One thought on “Anna Lea Merritt (American 1844 – 1930)”

  1. I have aa letter from Anna lea Merritt to her niece Nina lea December 1920 commenting on her situation in hurstboourne tar rant. Contact me if you are interested. Bill Clair, Wàrrenton virginia

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