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Q: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   14 Comments )
Subject: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
Category: Arts and Entertainment
Asked by: forward1-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 22 Apr 2002 11:12 PDT
Expires: 22 Apr 2003 11:12 PDT
Question ID: 2672
I would like to get some information about the Victorian artist named E. J. 
Harrington. Any information on her life, which paintings still exist, etc. I 
have a print of one painting called "Reunion" which was done in 1906. Images 
and details about this print are on my website at

Request for Question Clarification by firefly-ga on 22 Apr 2002 11:24 PDT
Do you have any information on how the painting was aquired? For example -- you 
found it at a local antique shop (where?) or it was in your grandparent's attic 
(in new jersey) -- any information of this kind would be appreciated.

Clarification of Question by forward1-ga on 24 Apr 2002 11:08 PDT
The print I have was found 20 years ago in the trash of a back alley in Chigago.

Request for Question Clarification by ldcdc-ga on 24 May 2002 08:52 PDT

What are you searching for? The painting or information about the artist?



Clarification of Question by forward1-ga on 24 May 2002 14:09 PDT
Good question - I'll either one:

1. The location and current owner of the original or
2. Some background information on the artist. (Who was she, where did
she live, are there any more paintings by her, etc.)



Request for Question Clarification by chromedome-ga on 19 Feb 2003 06:13 PST
Hello again, Ed...

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you again.  This fall I
returned to school as a mature student, and between full-time school,
part-time job, two volunteer positions, homework, parenting, and all
of life's miscellany, I've had little opportunity to research or be
active here at GA.

I have been sitting on a certain amount of information about Emily
Harrington for some months, as you know.  Unfortunately the original
feelers I'd put out to England by way of followup did not result in
anything new.  So, rather than continuing to sit on the information I
have, I thought I should post up a note for you.

In your clarification dated 24 May 2002, you indicated that "Some
background information on the artist. (Who was she, where did she
live, are there any more paintings by her, etc.)" would constitute an
acceptable answer.  While I have been unable to source any personal
information, I can (as previously indicated) give you the titles of
two of her pieces, the venues where she exhibited several paintings,
and (if you're prepared to put in the time) some leads to follow up in
England.  I can even link you to photos of the house she lived in,
which is a posh wine bar these days.

If you feel that this is sufficient to constitute an answer, please
reply to this note and I will post up what I have.

I'm sorry I didn't have the opportunity to bring complete closure on
this, but I do believe I can advance your quest significantly.  You've
been on this trail for ten years now, so I'm sure you'll pursue the
followup with more diligence than I can afford at this point.

Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
Answered By: chromedome-ga on 28 Feb 2003 17:01 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello again, Ed, and thanks for your continued interest.

As you're painfully aware, straightforward searches on the internet
provide little information about Miss Harrington.  For that reason, I
will not detail the many combinations of keywords I used in Google and
a couple of art-related databases I'd looked into.

Fortunately, here in my city (Halifax NS) we have an excellent art
college, founded - your piece of trivia for the day - by Anna
Leonowens, the Anna of "The King and I".  In the course of a long
afternoon spent digging through their library, I finally hit
paydirt...after a fashion.

I found a four-volume work titled "The Royal Academy of Arts:
Exhibitors 1769-1904" by Algernon Graves, FRS (Originally published in
1905 by Henry Graves & Sons, and George Bell & Sons; reprinted in 1970
by S.R. Publishers Ltd and Kingsmere Reprints).  The book is very
straightforward, containing an alphabetical listing of artists in all
disciplines who exhibited at the Academy; with the titles of their
works, the year they'd exhibited, and an address.

To my delight, in the "H" section, I found "Harrington, Miss Emily J";
in 1904 she exhibited a painting titled "Farmer's Daughter" at the
Academy.  A further prowl through the library turned up the succeeding
"Royal Academy Exhibitors 1905-1970" (Hilmarton Manor Press, 1985). 
In 1905, Miss Harrington showed a painting titled "Restless Spirit" at
the Academy.

The address given for Miss Harrington was 50 Buckingham Palace Rd, in
London.  Searching Google using this address turned up the current
occupant, a wine bar.  To see the property in its present-day
incarnation, check this link:

Balls Brothers, the proprietors of the bar, have no knowledge of any
previous owners of the property.  My fellow researcher Grimace-ga
suggested that you might be able to track the "provenance" of the
property through the UK's Land Registry.  The main link for the
registry is here:

...and their online enquiry form is here (select "Property Histories"
from the drop-down menu):

Now then, to return to the narrative.  My next move was to contact the
Royal Academy by e-mail and ask if they had any further information. 
In due course (some weeks later...arts organizations everywhere are
chronically underfunded and understaffed) I received a reply.  While
the Academy had no further information to offer about Miss Harrington,
they were able to tell me that she'd exhibited eight works at the
London Salon; and one with the Society of Women Painters.  All of
these works were shown between 1904 and 1909; if she continued
painting past that time it was not under her maiden name.

The Academy suggested that I contact an organization called MAKE, also
in the UK.  MAKE (formerly the Women's Art Library) has a mandate to
document the work of female artists, with both images and print
materials.  Unfortunately their archive yielded no information on Miss
Harrington, but Althea Greenan at MAKE was very helpful and
responsive.  She is keen to be kept "in the loop" as and if you find
more information; so your inquiry will give Miss Harrington a place
among her peers.  You may forward information or images to Ms. Greenan
by using the link below:

Since we know the dates when Miss Harrington exhibited (1904-1909),
and the venues,  Ms. Greenan suggested contacting the National Art
Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  A month later I got a
reply from one of their staffers (apologizing for the delay, and
pleading limited staffing levels).

She told me that she'd consulted all of their "standard reference
resources" without success.  She did, however, find a listing in the
recently published "Society of Women Artists: Exhibitors 1855-1996"
(Charles Baile De LaPerriere, London, 2001).  I found one copy on
Alibris, at this link, or you may try your local art school/university

The listing in question was for 1905, and referred to a painting
titled "A Surrey Lane".  I would suspect that, with a suitable degree
of perseverance, you may persuade someone to have a proper dig through
the rest of their archives, rather than just the "standard reference
resources".  Of course if your plans for the next year or so include
London, that might help too.

In a further e-mail, Ms. Greenan suggested that the Museum of London
might be able to point you towards an applicable archive.  Also the
new Kreitman Research Centre at the Tate Gallery has several archives,
and may be able to advance our cause.  Finally, you may want to try
contacting the Society of Women Artists directly at

This is all the substantive information I've been able to unearth. 
There are several avenues here that I'd intended to pursue myself, but
as I explained a few days ago my return to school prevented me from
doing so.  Hopefully, one or more of these should yield some further

I'll make one further "left field" suggestion, which occurred to me as
I was putting this answer together for you tonight.  You may wish to
approach the various London newspapers that were in operation during
the years in question, and see what might be in their archives.  I'm
thinking that perhaps the society pages might be the place to look;
women of good family had more leisure to paint.

I've greatly enjoyed this occupied a great part of my
summer last year.  I'm somewhat disappointed that I was unable to
bring it to completion, but of course going back to school has been
good, too (he says dryly).

I'll be interested to see what you can dig up from here, and I can't
wait to see some additional images on your website.

Thank you for many pleasurable hours of sleuthing.  I hope this helps!

forward1-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00

Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: duncan-ga on 22 Apr 2002 11:48 PDT
Someone else is keen to acquire a print of this painting:
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: duncan-ga on 22 Apr 2002 12:04 PDT
Apparently she was an Australian:

Could she possible have been Edith Harrhy, an Australian songwriter.  The words 
of the poem on the painting would be useful to find out more.  One of her songs 
was called Reunion, published under her name of Harrhy, although she is also 
listed as having used Harrington as a pseudonym:
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: jaq-ga on 22 Apr 2002 20:02 PDT
Edith harrhy does not appear to have used "Harrington" as a pseudonym- the 
listings from:

Edith Harrhy (1893-1969) Biography

which includes the name Harrington refer to Edward Harrington with whom she 
apparently collaborated using various of her listed pseudonyms (e.g., Geoffrey 
Stewart, Roy Jeffries).

If Edith Harrhy were, in fact, also the creator of the painting in question, 
she would have been 13 years old when she painted it, and while that's possible 
it seems as if Ms. Harrhy was very busy with her music by that time.
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: elizabeth-ga on 23 Apr 2002 05:37 PDT
Hello There!

Just a preliminary search found another painting by E.J. Harrington
listed here:

"Painting Victorian painting of a man with wings carrying a girl
with long hair Artist: E. J. Harrington, 1906 Medium: oil on board
Framed: 27"x17" Canvas: 22"
x 11" $150.00..."  Which gives a year when she was painting."

I will try to find some more information.
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: elizabeth-ga on 23 Apr 2002 06:28 PDT
Hello Again!

I could not locate any more information online regarding E.J.
Harrington, but that apparently is the original work that you have a
print of.
If E.J. Harrington was a female artist, and single, there are many

(1) She may have changed her art signature to match a married name and
any information may be listed under a married name
(2) Traditionally female artists are not and were not as widely
documented as male artists
(3) We have no country in which to focus, so there could be
information in past reference material for instance in England,
Ireland, etc. that is not
published on the Internet.  You might try things like "Who's Who in
Art" for a specific country.

If you are looking for the original, I believe according to the Lyon's
Appraisal, that they do have it, or did have it for sale at one point.

They have a phone number listed on that page that you can call to ask

Hope this helps.
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: missy-ga on 23 Apr 2002 14:22 PDT
An inquiry to my local museum, The Toledo Museum of Art, reveals that the 
artist's name is *Emily* J. Harrington.  My source at TMA tells me that there 
is no background information available about Miss Harrington, save that she 
painted in the early 1900's, and that there have been no known sales of her 
original works in the past 20 years.  She is not listed in "Who Was Who in 
American Art".  

If she was in fact Australian, as others have suggested, she *might* be listed 
in the Encyclopedia of Australian Art.  This is not available for online 
perusal, alas, and I do not have a copy at my immediate disposal.

I do have a call in to a gallery, though I fear they will not be able to 
provide much more information than the TMA.  Miss Harrington seems to have 
faded into obscurity, leaving us only with her work.
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: forward1-ga on 24 Apr 2002 12:11 PDT
First of all - Thanks to everybody who has sent in comments for this question. 
It is much appreciated. 
Here's more background on my search results.
1. I found the Lyons Appraisals auction web page three years ago 
( . I spoke with the Ms Lyons at that 
time. It turns out that the painting she was going to auction is a print, not 
the original. In addition, the owner has decided not to sell it. Today I 
verified that this is still the case. (I don't know why the listing is still up)

2. About one year ago I found a thread on this discussion board;
I posted a reply, but it didn't lead to anything.

3. Last October, someone named Nigel Cotterill contacted me, claiming to own 
the original and offering it for sale. According to Nigel:

"We live in Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK and this painting has been in the 
family for three generations, we are getting it valued by Wooley & Wallis 
here in Salisbury, We are in the throws of moving to Cyprus to start a new 
life, has soon as we know more I'll E-mail you"

I was interested, but Nigel stopped communicating, so I don't know if the offer 
was genuine. If he does have the original,  that places EJ Harrington in England

That's all I know , thanks again for the help.

Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: elizabeth-ga on 24 Apr 2002 15:43 PDT
Hi there again!

I was afraid that would be the case.  This thread interested me
because my grandfather was an English artist in the same period.  He
was born in
England in 1882, to a very prominent family that had one extremely
well written about artist, and left for the U.S. in 1912.

Although his specific type of art was very popular at the time, the
innovations of man had already spelled the doom of his particular
craft in the future.  I
took me 40 years of searching to find any print references other than
the Who's Who in American Art that had anything more than his name and
dates of
work.  Through tedious and laborious searching I have filled in his
artist bio myself, along with the more than well noted friends and
comtemporaries, but it
is the way of Art history to only concentrate on the "super stars" so
to speak and those that worked at it for a living all their lives,
while they might have
enjoyed popularity at the time they were alive, passed into more or
less obscurity after, leaving on their work and very little in written
reference to their

Because you know that she probably lived in England, (because of the
original being in the possession of a family there for a while), you
conentrate your search there and try for birth and or marriage
records.  That might lead you to a married name you could locate a
death records for giving
you some area of where she lived or work at one point.  If you could
locate a death records, that might lead you to an obituary or
something along those

But again, let me add that as a female artist myself, and having spent
many years in university pursuing art history, because of the nature
of the world
then and still to some extent to this day, and I do not add this in
any negative or accusatory way, female artists have long suffered
under the perception
that their work was not much in the way of importance compared to
their male contemporaries and were not pursued by patrons or given
much in the
realm of public acclaim, hence the very little in the way of
historical or biographical information available about them.

The very fact that Emily J. Harrington is being discussed today is a
tribute to the female artists of her era that her work surivies at

Much luck in your search.

And thank you for sharing your information.  I will certainly keep an
eye out in the future in my own world for her name.

And one last thought.  If the family that had the original is from
Salisbury, which is not that far from the London area, I might suggest
that you
concentrate your searches in that area.  Everyone leaves a paper trail
that can be followed, if given enough time and diligence, you will
find something.
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: elizabeth-ga on 24 Apr 2002 15:46 PDT
I did have one thought I forgot to add.

The print itself.

You did not mention what kind of print and how old the print was.

If it was a mezzotint engraving, you might find somewhere on the print
itself the name of the mezzotint artist that made the copy, or if it
was a lithograph,
the lithographer.  Many paintings that were popular during these times
were copied by mezzotint engraving.  That also might be a lead to find

Again much luck.
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: forward1-ga on 24 Apr 2002 17:28 PDT
Dear Missy and Elizabeth, (and everyone else!)

Thank you so much for the efforts you’ve made on my behalf. Your thoughtful 
comments are invaluable and have given me several new paths to explore. I’ve 
been searching for this information for almost ten years, and I still enjoy the 

To answer your question about the print – locating the printer was one of the 
first things I tried. Unfortunately, at some point in its past, this print was 
glued to a cardboard matte and then mounted with duct tape to a shaky wooden 
frame. All identifying printers marks are gone. The print now resides in a good 
frame, but it’s still glued to the cardboard matte. 


Ed Bennett
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: duncan-ga on 25 Apr 2002 02:19 PDT
The surname of Harrington seems to be connected to the area of
Inworth, in Essex, UK.  Possibly concentrating on genealogy records of
that area might turn something up.  The UK Census for 1901 or 1911
would be very useful; the 1901 version should be online eventually,
once they sort out the technical problems they have (it proved to be
too popular!):
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: chromedome-ga on 28 Jul 2002 16:55 PDT
Hello, forward1!

I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know you've not been
forgotten.  Quite the opposite, in fact!  Your inquiry has become
something of an obsession within a portion of the researcher

I am pleased to report that I've made some headway.  I can confirm
that Missy was right in stating that the artist's first name was
Emily.  I have established that she exhibited 10 works in three venues
between 1904 and 1909, but so far have only got the name of one piece.
 I also know her 1904 address, which I guess would be handy if I were
a stalker with a time machine!

I have followed up on these leads and am presently awaiting further
information from England.  Hopefully, the information I've requested
will be forthcoming in a reasonable timeframe.

Thank you for an interesting quest!

Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: forward1-ga on 29 Jul 2002 06:49 PDT

Wow - thanks for the update! I didn't know that anyone was still
interested. I was able to find another print. It came from an antique
store in Australia and was still in it's original frame.
Unfortunately,  the practice at that time (1910) was to glue the print
to a backing, then frame it. I have a restoration expert working on it
now, and hope to have it re-framed in a few months.
I'm still very interested in the artist - I'd love to find other works
by her and ultimately,  the original of "Reunion"

Thanks again for all of your time and effort. Feel free to contact me
directly by email, I'd like to stay in touch.

Ed Bennett (forward1)
Subject: Re: Bio of E. J. Harrington, Victorian Painter
From: sgtcory-ga on 24 Oct 2002 09:23 PDT
Hello forward1,

I have also been intrigued by this request. I started to take a
different angle of approach, although I may be off base. I started
searching on the premise that most artists excel in more than one
field of art.

I conducted a search for ' victorian "emily harrington" ', and I came
up with some interesting links that may be helpful. ( Assuming this is
indeed the same Emily Harrington )

Women’s Poetry and the Fin de Siècle (1875-1914)


The time frame seems to fit rather well. The contacts on the sites may
be of further help. Any thoughts, or has anyone already 'invalidated'
this lead?


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