Friday, 26 February 2016
Black Victorians - Fanny Eaton
This painting is usually known as Head of a Mulatto Woman, by Joanna Boyce, one of the Pre-Raphaelite circle of painters. The model was Fanny Eaton, a mixed race woman from Jamaica. She also sat for Millais, Rossetti, Sandys and others, to supplement her earnings as a cleaner. Her husband died in 1881, leaving her alone to support her ten children. She also worked as a seamstress, and later as a cook on the Isle of Wight. She died in 1924, aged 86, at the home of one of her daughters in London. Fanny's maiden name was Antwhistle.
Much of this information comes from the blog Travels in Art and Aesthetics, where the blog post recieved comments from several of Fanny's descendants.
Joanna Boyce, also known under her husband's name as Joanna Mary Wells, painted portraits, scenes from everyday life and some landscapes. She was the sister of George Price Boyce, a Pre-Raphaelite watercolourist. She died in 1861 following complications after the birth of her third child.