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Annesley, Mabel

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Biography: Wood-engraver and watercolourist Mabel Marguerite Annesley (1881–1959) was born in Co. Down. A self-taught artist, she exhibited regularly with the Belfast Art Society from 1900. In 1920-1, at the age of forty, she studied wood-engraving at the Central School of Art and Design, London, under Noel Rooke (1881-1953). In 1924 she was elected to the London-based Society of Wood Engravers. Annesley exhibited in Ireland at the Watercolour Society of Ireland and the Society of Dublin Painters, of which she became a member in 1937, and with the Daniel Egan Gallery. She illustrated several books using original woodcuts including ‘Songs from Robert Burns’ published in a limited edition by the Golden Cockerel Press in 1925. In the same year Annesley provided as series of woodcuts for a collection of poems entitled ‘County Down Songs’ by Richard Rowley (1877-1947; pseudonym of Richard Valentine Williams), published by Duckworth. Annesley’s prints are distinguished by an expressive stylisation of motifs and a broad range of mark making, demonstrating her awareness of European modernist printmaking. Throughout her life Annesley was an avid art collector and in 1939 she donated her considerable collection, which included the works of leading contemporary wood engravers, to the Belfast Museum and Art Gallery (now the Ulster Museum).

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