The World of Mary Ellen Best

The World of Mary Ellen Best

1985 UK

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Mary Ellen Best (1809 - 1891) was an English artist. Most active in the 1830s, she usually worked in water-colour, commonly painting scenes of domestic life. Contrary to the common practice of her day, Mary Ellen Best was interested in portraying domestic life in her paintings, including families at tables, kitchens, and domestic workers. She painted a number of water-colour images of her home in Castle Gate, York, including interior portraits of the drawing room, dining room (painted in 1838), and one of herself working in her painting room. She also painted other houses including the drawing room of Naburn Hall, which was then home to George Palmes. After marrying Johan Anton and moving to Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Worms, and Darmstadt, she continued to paint the houses they lived in.Between 1828 and 1840, two thirds of Best's portraits were commissioned by women. Caroline Davidson, who wrote a biography of Best, calculated that she produced more than 1,500 paintings in total.
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