Art History, On this day..., Painters

On this day… was born Edith Martineau

On this day in 1842 was born in Liverpool the watercolour painter Edith Martineau. She was the daughter of an eminent Unitarian minister and her sister Gertrude Martineau was a painter of animals.

She started her art education at the Liverpool School of Art, but then she moved with her family to London, there she studied at Leigh’s School of Art. And by 1862 Martineau was already exhibiting her work, she continued to do it regularly in a variety of exhibitions that included from the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours to the Royal Academy in London.

Martineau remained true to watercolour painting even becoming a member of various societies of watercolour artists. In the beginning of her career she dedicated especially to portraits and the classical subjects, but among her later works we can also find landscapes and flower paintings. However nowadays she is best remembered for her portraits of children.

In Rokeby Park by Edith Martineau, 1875
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Her works are considered as graceful transcripts of nature which reflected her own taste and personality and as part of the Pre-Raphaelite movement by many art historians.

She exhibited her work at the Palace of Fine Arts at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition that took place in Chicago. Martineau also exhibited at the Royal Society of painters in Watercolours, the New Water-colour Society and at the Grosvenor Gallery.

Myrrine by Edith Martineau
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Edith Martineau died in Hampstead aged 66.


  • Her painting Potato Harvest was included in the 1905 book Women Painters of the World edited by art writer Walter Shaw Sparrow.
  • In 1888 Martineau was elected associate of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour.