Anna Jameson

Jameson, Anna, an authoress, was born in Dublin in 1797. Her father, Mr. Murphy, a miniature painter of repute, gave her an excellent education, and imbued her with an intelligent love of art.

In 1824 she married Mr. R. S. Jameson, a barrister. He was subsequently appointed Vice-Chancellor of Canada; and they went to reside there.

This union proved unhappy, a virtual though not legal separation took place, and Mrs. Jameson returned to Europe to a life of literary effort.

Her works enjoyed an extensive popularity, and we are told that “few writers of the age have done so much to refine the public taste, and diffuse a knowledge of the great masters of art.”[16]

Her chief works were:

Diary of an Ennuyee (1826), Loves of the Poets (1829), Characteristics of Women (1832), Beauties of the Court of Charles II. (l833), Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad (1834), Memoirs of Early Italian Painters (1845), Memoirs and Essays on Art, Literature, and Social Morals (1846), Legends of the Monastic Orders as represented in the Fine Arts (1850).

Rev. W. E. Channing wrote of her:

“I do not know a writer whose works breathe more of the spontaneous, the free. Beauty and truth seem to come to her unsought.”

Christopher North calls her “one of the most eloquent of our female writers; full of feeling and fancy; a true enthusiast with a glowing soul.”

During the latter part of her life she was untiring in her efforts to improve the position of women, and to this cause on several occasions devoted her pen.

For some years before her death she was in receipt of a Civil List pension.

She died 17th March 1860, aged about 63.


16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859–’71.

39. Biographical Dictionary, Imperial: Edited by John F. Waller. 3 vols. London, N.D.