A renowned 'artist and wood engraver', as the blue plaque recently erected in her memory says, Lady Mabel Annesley's printmaking was compared to that of William Blake. Forever gracious and enthusiastic, she shared an early twentieth-century milieu with other equally respected wood engravers such as Robert Gibbings and Eric Gill.
Her work is represented in the collections of the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Ulster Museum and the national galleries of Canada and New Zealand. This book is a long-overdue acknowledgement of the lasting impression the ever-modest and dutiful Lady Mabel, daughter of the fifth earl of Annesley of Castlewellan, County Down, made on the Irish, British and international art worlds.
In addition to recounting Lady Mabel Annesley's fascinating career as an artist and aristocrat, this book outlines the contribution of family and friends to her artistic development. She counted among her friends important artists and poets such as William Conor and Richard Rowley, whose lives and work cast light on her absorbing story. So, indeed, do the life and work of her cousin, Percy French, whose songs brilliantly reflected the Irish social scene of the early twentieth century.
On her death in 1959, The Times of London's obituary gratefully recognised Mabel Annesley's 'intense and profound feeling for beauty in nature and art' ' a fitting epitaph to the work of a distinguished and important Irish female artist.