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Beatrice Hewitt (1859-1908)

Beatrice Marion Hewitt (1859-1908)

Beatrice Hewitt is best known as a painter of sensitive miniature portraits. However, her early watercolours of flowers and the present impressive figure study in oil demonstrate that she was an artist of range as well as skill.

Beatrice Hewitt was born in Hanwell, Middlesex, and baptised on 18 September 1859 as the fifth of seven children of the medical doctor, Joseph Hewitt, and his wife, Charlotte
(née Waterhouse). When Joseph Hewitt died six years later, in Eton, his addresses were given as 7 Southwick Place, Hyde Park Square, London, and Heath Lodge, Iver, Buckinghamshire.

Almost nothing is known of the childhood of Beatrice Hewitt; however, by the time of the taking of the 1871 census, she and her six siblings were living with their widowed mother and a maternal aunt, Eliza Waterhouse, ‘on interest of money &c’ at Chestham (now Chestham Park), a large Regency house to the north of Henfield, Sussex, which they possibly rented.

By 1878, Beatrice Hewitt and her family had returned to London, and were living at 18 Delamere Crescent (now part of the Warwick Estate), in Paddington, which her mother
116 kept as a boarding house. On the census taken at Delamere Crescent three years later, in 1881, Beatrice and an elder sister, Florence, are each identified as being ‘artist pr [painter]’. While nothing is known of the artistic training of either woman before this date, Florence is singled out for praise two years later; an article in the
Bazaar Exchange and Mart for 7 December 1883 states that ‘The work of Miss Florence Hewitt as a flower painter has already been for several years before the public, and her designs upon calendars, letter wallets and Christmas cards, are universally admired’.

It seems that Beatrice Hewitt also first came to public notice as a flower painter, two studies of roses being exhibited at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1884.
Her address at the time was ‘St Aubyns, Kew Gardens’, which proved to be ‘a superior educational home’ of which she was Principal, and possibly founder, ‘where a limited number of pupils are received, and for whom a thorough and finished education is provided’.

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