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Jessica Hayllar | Victorian painter

Jessica Ellen Hayllar (1858–1940) was a British artist and painter.
Hayllar was born in London and was the eldest daughter of the nine children born to Ellen Phoebe Cavell (1827-1899) and her husband James Hayllar (1829-1920).
The family lived at Mecklenburgh Square in London and also rented a country house in Suffolk for several months each year before moving to a large house, Castle Priory, by the Thames at Wallingford, then in Berkshire. Hayllar and her four sisters attended a day school in Gower Street and all were given art lessons by their father, who was himself a well-regarded painter.
Jessica Hayllar became the most prolific artist among the Hayllar offspring, although her sister Edith also achieved some recognition.

Jessica Hayllar exhibited at the Royal Academy in London regularly between 1879-1915 and also had works shown at the Society of British Artists, with the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours and at the Royal Manchester Institution.
She often painted domestic scenes, local villagers and depicted family occasions and gatherings.
Windows and doorways were another frequent theme in her work.
Ill health as a result of being knocked down by a carriage in 1900 greatly reduced her output in her later years when she was living in Bournemouth with her father.
In her final years she mostly concentrated on painting flower pieces.


Jessica Hayllar was born in 1858 into the middle-class family of James Hayllar and Ellen Cavell Hayllar. She was the third child and the oldest daughter.
Hayllar spent the majority of her childhood in the countryside of Wallingford at the family home, Castle Priory, where she and her siblings learned to paint from her father.

James Hayllar provided his daughters with artistic training and their own separate studio, as well as all the materials they needed and established working hours.
Their artistic training began with drawing, learning perspective, modelling in clay, etching, and engraving before progressing to painting.
The Hayllar sisters thus followed the traditional model of female artists learning from family members, even though public art classes were becoming more available for women at the time.

Hayllar lived with her parents throughout her life and never married. According to Christopher Wood, Hayllar’s best works were painted from 1885-1900 and primarily consist of domestic scenes at Castle Priory.
In 1899, Jessica moved with her parents from Castle Priory to a smaller home in Bournemouth, where she continued to live with her father after her mother's death. Hayllar became partially paralyzed in a carriage accident in 1900.
She would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, but she continued her artistic work.
After the accident, Hayllar's work tended to focus more on flowers, particularly azaleas. Following her father's death in 1920, Jessica moved to Surrey to live with her sister Edith Hayllar MacKay. Jessica Hayllar died in 1940.

Survey of career

While many Victorian women artists had the opportunity to attend formal training outside the home, the Hayllar sisters were all educated by their father.
James Hayllar taught his children to depict popular subjects that would sell, and Jessica’s work, along with her sisters', made a significant economic contribution to the family’s income. This was somewhat unusual for women artists in the upper middle classes, since many did not want to undermine their reputations as "gentlewomen".

However, Hayllar was a professional artist, preparing artworks for exhibitions, promoting her work, and participating in interviews for newspapers and journals.
Hayllar’s work was well-received in her time, both in her local district and in the larger Victorian art community.
The Royal Academy first exhibited one of her works in 1879. Following that and for the rest of Hayllar’s lifetime, every year except 1882, at least one of Hayllar’s paintings was exhibited at the Royal Academy. These were often hung "on the line", an honor that meant her paintings were exhibited at the eye level of the viewers.
Hayllar also exhibited at the Royal Society of Arts, the Manchester City Art Galleries, the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, the Dudley Gallery, and the Walker Art Gallery.

Major works

One of Jessica Hayllar’s major works is Autumn Sunlight (1891). This painting plays with Hayllar’s common motif of a series of open doorways and a strange sense of space. Displayed at the 1891 Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition, the painting depicts a woman producing art.
The woman focuses on her artistic work over the child in the picture. Overall, this work demonstrates the possibility for a woman to be both a good artist and a good mother, still in control of her household.

Another well-known work of Hayllar’s is A Coming Event, which was created in 1886 and is part of a series that includes Fresh from the Front of 1887, The Return from Confirmation in 1888, and Fresh from the Altar of 1890. This work belongs to the Forbes Collection of Victorian Painters and Works of Art. The painting uses space and thresholds to demonstrate the transformative moment of a woman’s transition into married life. The main figure—the bride-sits in a long passage.

A different figure in the background represents her past life and family, while the foreground includes symbols of her wedding to come. The series at a whole represents a collection of transitions of femininity, Christian ritual, and middle-class social rituals.
Hayllar’s 1887 work Finishing Touches shows a female artist painting. In this work, Jessica Hayllar depicts her sister Edith, also an artist.
The painting closely frames her in an elaborate home setting.

By making a female artist worthy of depiction, Hayllar elevates women’s paintings from a hobby to a profession.

Edith as a female artist claims the space, even as openings keep the space from being closed or confining.
This work indicates the high value Hayllar placed on her work and that of her sisters; it also indicates how space could be framed by women artists to create ownership.| Source: Wikipedia

Jessica Ellen Hayllar (1858-1940) è stata un'artista e pittrice Britannica. Hayllar è nata a Londra ed era la figlia maggiore dei nove figli nati da Ellen Phoebe Cavell (1827-1899) e suo marito, il pittore James Hayllar (1829-1920).
La famiglia viveva a Mecklenburgh Square a Londra e affittava anche una casa di campagna nel Suffolk per diversi mesi ogni anno prima di trasferirsi in una grande casa, Castle Priory, sul Tamigi a Wallingford, poi nel Berkshire.
Hayllar e le sue quattro sorelle frequentarono una scuola diurna in Gower Street e tutte ricevettero lezioni d'arte dal padre, che era lui stesso un pittore molto apprezzato.
Jessica Hayllar è diventata l'artista più prolifica tra i figli di Hayllar, sebbene anche sua sorella Edith abbia ottenuto qualche riconoscimento.

Jessica Hayllar espose regolarmente alla Royal Academy di Londra tra il 1879-1915 e mostrò le sue opere anche alla Society of British Artists, all'Institute of Painters in Oil Colours ed alla Royal Manchester Institution.
Dipingeva spesso scene domestiche, abitanti dei villaggi locali e rappresentava occasioni e riunioni familiari.
Finestre e porte erano un altro tema frequente nel suo lavoro.
La cattiva salute a causa di essere stata investita da una carrozza nel 1900 ha notevolmente ridotto la sua produzione nei suoi ultimi anni, quando viveva a Bournemouth con suo padre.
Nei suoi ultimi anni si è concentrata principalmente sulla pittura di pezzi di fiori.


Mentre molte artiste vittoriane hanno avuto l'opportunità di frequentare una formazione formale fuori casa, le sorelle Hayllar sono state tutte educate dal padre.
James Hayllar insegnò ai suoi figli a dipingere soggetti popolari che avrebbero venduto, e il lavoro di Jessica, insieme a quello delle sue sorelle, diede un contributo economico significativo al reddito della famiglia.
Questo era in qualche modo insolito per le artiste delle classi medio-alte, dal momento che molte non volevano minare la loro reputazione di "gentildonne".
Tuttavia, Hayllar era un'artista professionista, preparava opere d'arte per mostre, promuoveva il suo lavoro e partecipava a interviste per giornali e riviste.

Il lavoro di Hayllar è stato ben accolto ai suoi tempi, sia nel suo distretto locale che nella più ampia comunità artistica Vittoriana.
La Royal Academy espose per la prima volta una delle sue opere nel 1879.
In seguito e per il resto della vita di Hayllar, ogni anno tranne il 1882, almeno uno dei dipinti di Hayllar fu esposto alla Royal Academy. Questi erano spesso appesi "sulla linea", un onore che significava che i suoi dipinti erano esposti all'altezza degli occhi degli spettatori.
Hayllar ha esposto anche alla Royal Society of Arts, alle Manchester City Art Galleries, al Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, alla Dudley Gallery e alla Walker Art Gallery.