Mary Dawson Elwell

1874 - 1952
Interestingly, so far, almost all mention online of Mary Dawson Elwell is always in connection with her husband. I can find no biography or complete article devoted to her. [sh]

His wife Mary Dawson Elwell exhibited at the Royal Academy 1904-49 and was best known for interiors and townscapes. (

...One day in 1904... George Alfred Holmes asked Elwell whether he could paint a portrait of his wife, Mary. Mary Dawson Bishop, the daughter of a wealthy shipping merchant, was born in Liverpool in 1874. Her father died when she was very young and the family moved to Manchester. Her late father’s wealth ensured that Mary received the best education that money could buy and she was educated at Ellerslie College, which was described as a ‘fairly exclusive school’, and the college would undoubtedly have provided instruction in painting and drawing. In 1896 she married George Holmes.

...Knowing he was dying George spoke privately to Fred and asked him to look after his wife once he had died....

Fred Elwell and Mary Dawson Holmes married on October 1st 1914, 2 months after the start of World War I.

...The newlyweds made their home at Bar House, a residence Mary and her late husband George Holmes had bought in 1910. Mary loved the house and its garden and they were depicted in a number of paintings by both Mary and Fred.

...Mary, on the death of her husband George Holmes, had been left financially well off. So much so they were able to employ staff to help run the house. In his 1916 painting...

... Fred and Mary lived a long and happy life. In 1945 Mary suffered a series of strokes which meant that she had to have round the clock nursing. She died in 1952. Fred Elwell continued to paint... (
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


Collectors 3

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