Swynnerton, Dacre and Swynnerton

‘Tryst’ and ‘Portrait of a Girl’ (displayed together in the Victorian Gallery) were painted by friends Annie Louisa Swynnerton and Susan Dacre. The two artists studied together in Rome for two years from 1872 and then later at the Academie Julie in Paris from 1877 to 1880.

Dacre dedicated her time to painting (she produced many pieces including portraits and landscapes), and to promoting women’s art to the Victorian public. Together, Dacre and Swynnerton founded the Manchester Society for Women Painters.

Annie Swynnerton was a feminist who supported the suffragette movement. She signed the Declaration in Favour of Women’s Suffrage in 1889, and in 1897 the claim for women’s suffrage. By 1922 she had become the first woman to be elected an Associate at the Royal Academy.

Swynnerton’s husband, Joseph (married 1883), was also an artist. He too had studied in Rome and was an elected member of the Manchester Academy of Art. His sculpture, ‘Cain and Abel’ is based on an earlier sculpture of ‘Cain’, which was exhibited in Manchester during his lifetime. ‘Cain and Abel’ can be seen displayed in the Victorian Gallery in front of both his wife’s and Dacre’s paintings.