1797 – 1860 A.D.
As a writer on matters of art and taste Mrs. Jameson probably surpassed all other women writers and on the literature of art she is conceded by many to stand next to Ruskin. She possessed an intense love of the beautiful, a cultivated and discriminating taste, and her breadth of knowledge was almost phenomenal. Added to these were her natural and cultivated powers of eloquent description.
In quantity her writings were surpassing as quality, and the former does not seem to have impaired the latter.
Here again, birth and early training had a marked influence. Her father, Mr. Murphy, was a painter to the Princess of Charlotte (daughter of George IV, who married Prince Leopold afterward King of Belgium) and by him her inborn artistic tastes were trained with great care.
She became the wife of Mr. Jameson, who received a government appointment to Canada. The marriage was not a happy one and they lived apart. After traveling extensively in Europe, she devoted herself to literary work, at first chiefly in biographical lines and relating specially to women. Loves of the Poets is a series of sketches showing the influence of women on poetic minds. Lives of Celebrated Female Sovereigns needs no explanation. Characteristics of Women deals with the female characters of Shakespeare’s plays. She also prepared a work on Beauties of the Court of Charles II.
In artistic lines her work began with translating a German work on the life and genius of Rubens. She was now discovering her special forte. Next came A Handbook to the London Art Galleries, and a Companion to the Private Galleries of Art in London.
This development is interesting. Having begun with writing biographical sketches and then having taken up descriptions of great works of art, she combined the two and wrote Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters and of the Progress of Painting in Italy. then came memoirs and Essays, and Sacred and Legendary Art.
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.