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Winifred Austen (1876 – 1 November 1964) was an English illustrator, painter, etcher and aquatint engraver. Read More

Born in Ramsgate, Kent, in 1876, her parents were Josiah Austin, a Cornish naval surgeon, and Fanny (née Mann) Austin. She was a student of Mrs. Jopling-Rowe and Mr. C. E. Swan. Austen was a member of the Society of Women Artists, London. Her favorite subjects were wild animals, and she was successful in the illustration of books. At the Royal Academy in 1903, she exhibited “The Day of Reckoning”, a wolf pursued by hunters through a forest in snow. A second show a snow scene, featured a wolf baying, while two others are apparently listening to him. “While the wolf, in nightly prowl, bays the moon with hideous howl,” is the legend with the picture. 

Winifred Maria Louise Austen was described as having great talent with the rare gift of sympathy with the animal world. For many seasons, she exhibited regularly at the annual exhibition of the Royal Society of Painter Etchers, and in 1922, she was elected a member of that society. Austen’s early plates were overloaded with background, which the artist ultimately completely discarded. The Little Egret is lost in its surroundings. The plate lacked atmosphere, however much it may have appealed to the ornithologist. The otherwise nice done Country Mouse suffered from the same fault. Austen was overly engrossed in the animals such that her work upon branches, leaves and blossoms demonstrated signs of a weakened interest. She was also not at her best when drawing exotic birds or beasts, such as a stork or a bear. The “Belgian Hare” and the “Rabbit” are works of a middle period. While the “Rabbit” is the finer of the two, the collector of one will want to own the other. Austen, without over-labouring her plate, adopted a severe method for some of her strokes. Austen etched two game birds, the Little jap and A Surrey Fowl. The first is considered good, the second bears comparison with Félix Bracquemond‘s work. Austen’s etched line was bold and firm, with an absence of fumbling and indecision. The drypoints were her most recent works. Austen came under the inspiration of the Japanese. A drawing by Keibun Ōta in the British Museum of mallard flying by moonlight may be compared with Austen’s Mallard Pitching. Mallard Rising deals with a similar subject. Widgeon in Winter and A Little Covey are considered good drypoints, the latter showing strong Japanese influence. Austen was elected to the Society of Women Artists (1902), the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers (1907), the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (1933), and from 1903, she was a fellow of the Royal Zoological Society.

Winifred Austen married Oliver O’Donnell Frick in 1917. She died at Bickley, in 1964. Her pictures are held in private collections.

Source Wikipedia 

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