Eliza Greatorex


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Painter, printmaker, and illustrator. A specialist in landscapes and city views, she published many travel scenes, often with her own descriptions. Born in Manor Hamilton, County Leitrim, Eliza Pratt emigrated with her family from Ireland in 1840. They settled in New York, where she married the prominent English-born musician Henry Wellington Greatorex in 1849. Although she and her husband traveled often as he fulfilled professional engagements, she began to exhibit in New York during the 1850s. After his death in 1858, she soon astutely produced saleable drawings, prints, and illustrations for a middle-class market, as well as more expensive oil paintings. To augment earlier assistance from New York landscapists (including her friends James Hart and his brother William), in the early 1860s she journeyed to Paris for further instruction. Subsequently, she traveled in Europe and in the early 1870s worked in Colorado. Especially around the time of the nation's centennial, she promoted interest in Americana. A series of etchings, for example, appeared in book form as Old New York, from the Battery to Bloomingdale (1875), with text by her sister Matilda Pratt Despard. While abroad from 1878 to 1881, she returned to Paris in 1879 for additional training in etching. At this time, her style became more attuned to Barbizon poetics and less straightforwardly descriptive. After 1886 she lived in France but continued to travel widely, while exhibiting in the United States as well as Europe. Illustrated with her graphic work, Greatorex's publications include also The Homes of Oberammergau (1872) and Summer Etchings in Colorado (1873). From the time they were small children, Greatorex raised her daughters to become self-sufficient artists. They trained at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League, as well as in Munich, Rome, and Paris. As adults they continued regularly to travel and work with their mother. Versatile, they pursued decorative arts such as china painting, along with painting, printmaking, and illustration. Kathleen Honora Greatorex (1851–1913), born in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Eleanor Elizabeth Greatorex (1854–97), born in New York, spent much of their childhood with their mother in Cornwall-on-Hudson, about fifty miles north of New York. Later they all summered at the art colony of Cragsmoor in New York's Shawangunk Mountains. Along with their mother, they relocated to Europe in 1886. After her mother and sister died in Paris during the same year, Kathleen continued to live abroad. She died not far from Paris.

Subjects: Art.

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