Robert Anning Bell

British, b.1863, d.1933

The Romance

  • Oil on wood panel
  • Presented by the family of James Jamieson 1932
  • 400 x 445 x 25mm
  • 69/468

Robert Bell has given this small figure study a title which suggests the type of book the young woman is reading. Certainly she appears to be completely caught up in the story. Bell was an important figure in the development of the Art Nouveau style in the British Arts and Crafts Movement. He worked with a wide variety of mediums throughout his career, including oil, watercolour, tempera, stained glass and mosaics. In the 1890s he also produced numerous book and periodical illustrations, included in such publications as the Yellow Book and The Studio. Born in London, Bell left school at fourteen due to family financial difficulties and became articled to an architect. He later studied art at the Westminster School of Art, the Royal Academy Schools and the studio of Aimé Morot, in Paris. Bell held professorships at University College in Liverpool, Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art and was elected Master of the Art Workers Guild in 1921.

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • A versatile artist who worked in oils, tempera and watercolour, Bell has given this small figure study a title which probably suggests the type of literature that has captured the attention of the young woman. Painted with a succession of very thinly applied oil glazes over a white background, it may be an oil study for a later work. The thin paint gives the colours and particularly the girl's white shoulders, a special luminosity. In the background the indistinct forms are also rather ambiguous and may be paintings on the wall or a landscape seen over a balcony, all adding to the mystery and 'romance' of this piece.

    (Label date unknown)