Anna Jameson Biography

(Anglo-Irish Art Historian and Feminist Author, Who Wrote on A Wide Variety of Subjects)

Birthday: May 19, 1794 (Taurus)

Born In: Dublin

Anna Jameson was a British author known for her travel memoirs which give an account of her amazing journeys and vivid experiences. A bright and ambitious girl, she was the eldest of five daughters and the most responsible one. She started her career as a governess, taking care of the children of many respectable families. She got her first traveling opportunity with one of her employers which left an everlasting impression on her mind. She became quite fond of traveling and matured into a connoisseur of art galleries and an intrepid sightseer. Later she published the recorded experiences of her trip and gained a wide popularity for her work. She enthralled the readers with her enthusiasm and produced a book which thoroughly deserved its great success. She went on to publish numerous other successful travel memoirs. She also gave public lectures on the need for women’s education and working opportunities for women, and acted as a mentor and adviser to a group of young women. In her later years, she took up a succession of subjects all bearing on the principles of active compassion and the best ways of carrying them into practice. She was an avid traveler who found solace in her journeys and recorded her experiences with utmost passion.
Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In May

Also Known As: Anna Brownell Jameson

Died At Age: 65


Spouse/Ex-: Robert Simpson Jameson

father: Denis Brownell Murphy

Writers Women's Rights Activists

Died on: March 17, 1860

place of death: London

City: Dublin, Ireland

Childhood & Early Life
She was born on May 19, 1794 in Dublin, Ireland, to Denis Brownell Murphy, an Irish miniaturist and portrait painter. She was the eldest of the five daughters of her parents.
In 1798, before the rebellion in Ireland, the family immigrated to England leaving behind two daughters, Louisa and Eliza. After settling in 1802 at Newcastle-on-Tyne, her two sisters joined them.
By 1806, her father was enjoying a modest success as a miniaturist and moved his family to London. The family now consisted of five daughters with the birth of two more girls, Camilla and Charlotte.
Anna was an ambitious child and the most talented one of all the sisters. From an early age, she was anxious to assume a part of the responsibility for the family’s welfare. Hence, she was given the responsibility of looking after the proper education of her sisters.
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Later Years
In 1810, she took up her first job, at the age of 16, as a governess to the four small sons of the family of Charles Paulet, 13th Marquess of Winchester. She worked there until 1814.
In 1819, she began an engagement with the Rowles family and became the governess to their daughter, Laura. She also accompanied them to the Continental Europe in 1821, traveling in luxury “à la MilorAnglais” through the Low Countries and into Italy.
In 1822, she returned to England and became the governess to the children of Edward John Littleton who was later conferred the title of 1st Baron Hatherton. She worked here until her marriage to Robert Sympson Jameson in 1825.
Over the next few years, she wrote two books for young children titled ‘Much coin, much care’, a drama, and ‘Little Louisa’, a vocabulary of useful words.
Her first successful book ‘The Diary of an Ennuyée’, a fictitious account of her travels in Italy, was published in 1825. It was a romanticized and fictionalized version of her European trip ending with the death of its heart-broken narrator and heroine.
In 1829, when Robert left England for an appointment as chief justice of Dominica, the couple separated without regret, and she traveled to Continental Europe again with her father. She was increasingly committed to a life of travel and writing. In 1829, her book ‘The Loves of the Poets’ was published.
In 1832, her ‘Characteristics of Women’, was published which was an analysis of William Shakespeare’s heroines. It publicized her name on the Continent, in America as well as in England. Her ‘Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad’ (1834) is the record of a Continental trip taken in 1829, and another in 1833.
In 1836, she reluctantly went to Toronto to join her husband who in 1833 was appointed the attorney general of Upper Canada. Later, he became the vice-chancellor and the couple moved in together but not for long and she again left in 1837.
From Canada, she set out on a tour which took her through Niagara, Hamilton, London, Port Talbot, and to Detroit, Michilimackinac, Sault Ste Marie, and back by way of Lake Huron and Manitoulin Island.
In September 1837, she left Canada and spent some months in the United States, and then sailed for England. In 1838, she published her memoir ‘Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada’, the record of both her winter in Toronto and her summer trip.
In the last two decades of her life, some of her published works were ‘Sacred and Legendary Art’ (1848), ‘Legends of the Monastic Orders’ (1850), ‘Legends of the Madonna’ (1852) and ‘The History of Our Lord’ (1864).
Major Works
Some of her published works such as ‘Characteristics of Women’ and ‘Sacred and Legendary Art’ acquired a cult following in England and America. Her travel memoir ‘Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada’ is considered to be a classic book.
She always stressed on the importance of better education for women. She was a determined, and one of the early feminists, who raised her voice about women’s rights and their needs and opportunities in society.
Personal Life & Legacy
She died after a brief illness on March 17, 1860 in Ealing, London.

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