The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler

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Frances Richards, 1852-1934

Nationality: Canadian
Date of Birth: 1852
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1934
Place of Death:


Frances Richards was an artist. She was the daughter of the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia and the niece of the Chief Justice of Canada. In 1888 she married William Edwin Rowley in London.


Frances Richards studied in Paris, where she made friends with Marie Bashkirtseff, who painted her portrait. Richards apparently painted a portrait of Oscar Wilde, who introduced her to JW. Wilde wrote to her in 1882: 'You will appreciate him, and he you.' To JW he wrote: 'I want you to know, and to know is to delight in, Miss Richards, who is an artist, and a little oasis of culture in Canada. She does really good work [...] She is already devoted to your pictures, or rather to my descriptions of them [...] She is quite worthy of your blue and white china' (#09546). She was a close friend of the Canadian literary journalist and art critic Robert ('Robbie') Baldwin Ross. Following her marriage she settled permanently in England.


The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff, trans. Mathilde Blind, intro. by Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock, London, 1985; Holland, Merlin, and Rubert Hart-Davis (eds), The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000.