1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna Brownell Jameson

Robert Carruthers, in Chambers's Cyclopaedia of English Literature, 3rd ed. (1876; 1879) 8:183.



On subjects of art and taste, and generally in what may be termed elegant literature, the writings of MRS. ANNA JAMESON (1797-1860) occupy a prominent place. They are very numerous, including — The Diary of an Ennuyee, (memoranda made during a tour in France and Italy), 1826; Loves of the Poets, two volumes, 1829; Lives of Celebrated Female Sovereigns, two volumes, 1831; Characteristics of Women, two volumes, 1832; Beauties of the Court of Charles II. (memoirs accompanying engravings from Lely's portraits), two volumes, 1834; Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada, three volumes, 1838; Rubens, his Life and Genius, translated from the German of Dr. Waagen, 1840; Pictures of the Social Life of Germany, as represented in the Dramas of the Princess Amelia of Saxony, 1840; Hand-book to the Public Galleries of Art, two volumes, 1842; Companion to Private Galleries of Art in and near London, 1844; Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters, two volumes, 1845; Memoirs and Essays on Art, Literature, and Social Morals, 1846; Sacred and Legendary Art, two volumes, 1848; Legends of the Monastic Orders, 1850; Legends of the Madonna, 1852; Commonplace Book of Thoughts, Memories and Fancies, 1854; Sisters of Charity, a lecture, 1855; The Communion of Labour, a lecture, 1856; with various communications to literary journals. In such a variety of works, all, of course, cannot be equal — some bears the appearance of task-work; but generally we may apply to Mrs. Jameson the warm eulogium of Prof. Wilson: she is "one of the most eloquent of our female writers; full of feeling and fancy; a true enthusiast with a glowing soul." On the subject of her art, her writing is next to that of Ruskin; to intense love of the beautiful, she adds a fine discriminating and cultivated taste, with rich stores of knowledge. Mrs. Jameson was a native of Dublin, daughter of Mr. Murphy, and artist of ability. Having married a barrister named Jameson, who accepted an official appointment in Canada, she resided there for some time, but her marriage proving unhappy, a separation took place, and Mrs. Jameson returned to England and devoted herself to literature — especially the literature of art. Her latest work (which she did not live to complete, but which was finished by Lady Eastlake) was an account of the Scriptural and Legendary History of our Lord, as represented in Christian Art.