Louise Rayner Artist

Ellen Clayton English Female Artists


P 383 1876 Vol I

Nancy Rayner

Nancy Rayner, daughter of the well-known water-painter, was the eldest of a large family, which produced five sister artists, Nancy, Rose, Louise, and Margaret. Mrs. Rayner was distinguished in early life for her beautiful engravings on marble, though she has ceased to create artistic work in later years. Nancy was born in London 1827, Her studies commenced at the age of ten, even so early her drawings and sketches showed precocious genius, which rapidly developed. Like her sisters, she was under the general direction of her father, but she owed much to the advice and ship of such men as Cattermole, Oakley, David Cox. Samuel Prout, Frank Stone. David Roberts took an especial interest in the gifted young girl Her talent was varied, and though generally known as a painter of picturesque and rustic figures, her interiors considered to be equal in delicate realisation to some of the works of the Dutch painters. At the twenty-one she was elected a member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, and she was unusually successful in securing fame and high patronage as soon as her works were brought before the public. Her career was prematurely closed by a lingering consumption, of which she died at the age 28 in the year 1855. Her family, who have NEVER CEASED TO mourn her loss, and who admired her artistic powers do not care for any lengthened biography being given:


Few families have rendered themselves so remarkable in the artistic world as that bearing the well known name of Rayner. The father, Mr. Rayner, was an artist of ability, who painted interiors in waters colours; the mother was admired for her engravings on black marble. Their five daughters were all artists, surrounded from childhood with art associations. Nancy Rayner promised splendidly, but died at an early age. Rose, who draws figures, has withdrawn from the exhibitions, time being fully occupied in teaching, and in colouring fine photographs. From the age of fourteen to twenty, she studied modelling only. Margaret lives very retiredly, absorbed in her favourite subjects chiefly interiors of old churches and chapels, views sacred edifices in Sussex being her greatest delight. She loves to depict old carved oak screens, pavements covered with effigies and inscriptions half worn out with the tread of many a step, tattered banners, dusty niches, ancient tombs, storeyed windows. Her architectural views evidence great power, and have a rough mode of treatment that seems to carry it convictions of their fidelity." A critic of repute remarks: " We are bound to say that Miss p236 Rayner paints these subjects with truth and force: beyond those of David Roberts, hence she is more pathetic." Her pictures are rich in colour and Frances (Mrs. Coppinger) gave up painting on marriage.

Louise Rayner is now the most distinguished member of her family. She was born at Matlock Bath, in Derbyshire, but came to London when quite a child, living in the metropolis during the major of her life. During a long sojourn at Herne Bay, when about fifteen years of age, she took up drawing with a sort of independent feeling that she, as well as the rest of the family, should have to make her way in the world not, strangely enough, from marked predilection for the pursuit, though it soon occupied her whole time and interest. Love for it naturally soon followed. Her father was principal master, and though she never went through any regular course of instruction few daughters of artists ever receive timed lessons " she is indebted to him for most that she has learnt of painting.

She has been so happy as to receive a great of valuable instruction from Mr. Niemann, the landscape painter, from the late David Roberts, R.A. the late Frank Stone, and some other artists of note.

It was at the Academy that Miss Louise Rayner first exhibited. At that time she painted in oil -architectural interiors alone. The first place at which


She exhibited water-colour drawings was the Society of Female Artists, about three years after the formation of that society. Since that time she has by degrees given up oil in favour of water colours, and has exhibited regularly at the Academy, Dudley Gallery, and other places, pictures done in this medium. The kindness of the Dean of Windsor, the QUEEN SAW Miss Rayner's drawing of the interior of St Georges's Chapel, when her Majesty expressed herself much pleased with the beauty and accuracy of the work

;Although so distinguished an artist, Miss Louise Rayner disclaims no original or inherent talent. Like Charles Dickens, she declares that such success as she has met is due, not to the small share of cleverness which she may have, but to a naturally persevering or jog-trot, disposition, and dislike to leave anything once begun unfinished. This would be might encouraging to young aspirants, only, unfortunately hard fact demonstrates that many are indomitably persevering, while few are successful creators.

Each of Louise Rayner's works is a labour of love, carefully drawn and admirably finished, sparkling like a beautiful gem. In her deep-toned interiors of grand .old churches, she has worked out a speciality of her Bat she is equally happy in soft Devonian landscapes, quaint picturesque old towns, city views, antique


gateways, ancient High Streets; she seems to linger fondly over curious bits of pavement, walls, storeyed windows, historic oak furniture, lighted groups of citizens, eighteenth-century or shop fronts and signboards, patiently transcribing and illuminating them with clear or brilliant atmosspheric effects. She can be minute without loss of breadth, and glowing without any touch of garnishment

Few artists," observes one critic, have arrived at a nicer discrimination for the consecrated relics of ancient architecture scattered about the country than Miss Rayner. She has acquired a touch which describes the true character of a picturesque gable or crumbling arch to a miracle, and she is no less happy in rendering the varied texture of stone or timber; of mildew, water-stain, or moss, and the several feature* of decay and dilapidation which time and ill-usage HAVE occasioned. That she does not search for the picturesque in vain her contributions yearly give proof."

Among Miss Louise Rayner's more remarkable works may be named"The Brown Gallery, an interior, oil: reproduced in the Art Journal Roslin Chapel," and " Beauchamp Chapel," Warwick both oil interiors. In water colours" The Cartoon Gallery, Knole ;" " James the First's Bedroom, Knole (reproduced in the Art Journal, among the illustrations to the "Stately Homes of England"; "St George's Chapel, Windsor "exterior; " Watergate

p239 Street Chester ; " " Bishop Lloyd's House, Chester; " for Petermas Fair, Peterborough;" "Views in Oxford;" "Wych Street, London;" "Holywell Street London;" " Fair Day, South Petherton, Somersetshire;" "Bridge Street, Chester"an excellent view of one of the quaintest, most picturesque cities during the preparations for the visit of the Prince of Wales; "Views in Chester;" "St. Gateway, Salisbury;" " Smith Street, Warwick;" " High Street, Oxford " this view once taxed the genius of Turner, who took up his station spot where the plain frontage of University Queen's College ; " Northgate Street and Northgate " a curious place, where no two houses ARE ALIKE (" David Roberts might have envied her in making out the various distinguishing features of the scene," was said at the time of exhibition); "In the Lofts, Knole;" "In Lady Betty Germane’s Bedchamber, Knole."

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