Georgiana Mc Crae - Education, Apprenticeship and First Academy Exhibition

Education, Apprenticeship and First Academy Exhibition

Her first art teacher was Louis Mauleon, a civilian prisoner of war who earned his living by making cartons and jacks for London toyshops. He taught her at one shilling a lesson. Under Mauleon she learnt how to draw in black and red chalk. He left her on 13 August 1813, the same date as her aunt, Margaret Graham, dying.

Graham had left Georgiana's mother £400. It was to be used for Georgiana having a home of her own. After having become ill in the winter of 1813, she studied music under novelist Fanny Holcroft. The need to control her future was emphasised by her father's second marriage.

In 1814, Georgiana studied under John Varley. At eleven, she was committed to a professional career, and as such, studied Greek and Roman statues for fifteen hours a week. However, she thought portraits were her metier. She also studied with John Glover and Dominic Serres. Abbé Huteau, a French priest, took charge of her general education from 1814-1820, and she received two proposals.

Overqualified to teach young ladies painting, and overspecialised to be a governess, Georgiana was unable to use her talents for money or be properly taught at the Royal Academy. There were few successful women painters while she was training, except for Swiss painter Angelica Kauffmann, and Mary Anne Knight, who supported her family by making portraits.

Georgiana herself exhibited a view of a church in 1816, two Thames River scenes and two genre studies: a boy returning from market in winter, and a Margate cottage scene. In 1820, she won a silver medal from the Society of Arts for her portrait of her grandfather, Alexander Gordon, 4th Duke of Gordon. A year later she won the Society's silver palette with her Portrait of a French lady.

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