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Jane Erin Emmet De Glehn was born in New Rochelle, New York in 1873 into an illustrious and cultured family of Irish descent, the youngest of ten children.
Jane de Glehn, as well as her two sisters Rosine Emmet Sherwood, Lydia Field Emmet and their cousin Ellen ’Bay’ Emmet Rand, all became successful artists, Jane and her sister Lydia excelling in portraiture. With the exception of Rosine, all studied at the Art Student’s League in New York, with all four going to Paris to study further, Jane with the sculptor Frederick MacMonnies.
On her return to America Jane de Glehn had a much acclaimed exhibition in New York in 1902 of over fifty portrait drawings executed in charcoal and pastel “which give a high idea of the young artist’s power to produce a likeness with the minimum of strokes”. (New York Times - 18th April 1902).
She soon after met her future husband Wilfred de Glehn through a family friend whilst he was assisting the artist John Singer Sargent with the installation of his monumental ‘Triumph of Religion’ murals in the Boston Public Library. Wilfred and Jane were married in New Rochelle in 1904.
On the de Glehn's return to London, they moved into 73 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, just around the corner from John Singer Sargent’s studio in Tite Street. The house and studio became a comfortable focal point for the many artists, musicians and writers who lived in the area, including Philip Wilson Steer, Henry Tonks, Percy Grainger and Roger Quilter, in addition to their lifelong friend Sargent.
Jane de Glehn continued to paint and draw, joining her husband and Sargent between 1904 and 1915 on annual painting expeditions to France, Corfu and Italy. On these trips the de Glehns and Sargent painted together, often depicting each other in their work. The de Glehns also drew inspiration from their favourite English counties of Sussex, Suffolk and Cornwall.