Beatrice Parsons (1870-1955) was one of England’s most notable garden painters. She studied at the Royal Academy Schools and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1889-99. Around 1900, she began to paint garden subjects. Her first one-woman exhibition at Dowdeswell’s Gallery in 1904 was a near sell-out, securing her career as a professional garden artist. She painted in England, Europe and Africa, recording the gardens of grand country houses alongside those of suburban homes in the London area. Her clients were mainly the creators of new gardens rather than the owners of old ones. She liked to paint borders and flower gardens in the full glory of their summer colours, and her watercolours are a wonderful source of information about Edwardian planting. She also specialised in painting the spring gardens of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, with trees in blossom and spring bulbs. Beatrice Parsons lived in Oxhey, Hertfordshire where she had her studio.
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The Rose Garden
A watercolour measuring 12” x 9”. Signed Beatrice Parsons and dated 1939.
The rose garden of an Arts and Crafts house, with delphiniums in the borders, lilacs and a sundial.
Lilacs, The Laurels, Oxhey, Hertfordshire
A watercolour measuring 9¾” x 13½”. Signed Beatrice Parsons. Inscribed verso: ‘No. 4, Lilacs, The Laurels, Oxhey’. Provenance: sometime with Arthur Greatorex Ltd., 14 Grafton Street, London (label verso).
A spring idyll – lilacs and irises…
…near Beatrice Parsons’ home and studio at 63 Kingsfield Road, Oxhey. Her family is commemorated in St Matthew’s Church, Oxhey by a Nativity window designed by her brother Karl.
A Little House at Falmouth, Cornwall
A watercolour measuring 6¾” x 10”. Signed Beatrice Parsons and inscribed ‘Falmouth’. Inscribed verso: ‘5 / A little house at Falmouth / With love to E.T. from B.P.’ Provenance: sometime with J. Blight Jnr, 59 High Street, Falmouth (label verso).
Beatrice Parsons loved painting the gardens of Cornish houses with their exotic trees and blooms, courtesy of the milder climate.