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Eliza Florance Fox (1824-1903)

Picture of Elizabeth barrett Browing by Eliza Fox Bridell

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Coloured chalk by Eliza Bridell, 1859

Eliza Fox received an unusual upbringing.

Her parents separated whilst she was quite young and she remained with her father, William Fox.  From Stamford Hill, they later settled in Bayswater, and here Eliza regularly saw influential figures who visited their home.

Whilst Eliza was in her early twenties, William Fox was writing for the Daily News and Dickens was it’s editor.  Eliza was set on becoming a painter and she attended Sass’s School in Bloomsbury.  Students that she encountered here were Holman Hunt, Rossetti and Frith.  She also met Anna Howitt, and thus became known to the Howitt family and to Mrs Gaskell.  On completion of her course, she gave drawing classes in the library of her father’s house, where they were now residing, Bedford Square. 

The picture right (shown here Courtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, Waco, Texas), shows a work produced whilst she was with Bridell in Rome - she recorded this:

‘In 1858-9 I paid a visit to Rome, where Mr and Mrs Browning were also spending the winter on account of her health, and I saw a good deal of them: more especially, I had the great felicity of passing many hours in the company of Mrs Browning, for she kindly sat to me for her portrait in chalks.  The portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy the same year, and was considered successful by most of those who knew her. She seemed to me to be an angel on earth, so modest, so unselfish....’

Argosy, February 1890