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Artist Name Walker, John Hanson 1844-1933
Artwork TitleFanny Whitaker, the Artist's Wife
InformationJohn Hanson Walker was born in Donisthorpe in Derbyshire in 1844, the son of Robert Walker and Sarah (nee Hanson). He was discovered in his father’s antique shop in Bath by Frederic Leighton and used as a model. He became both a close friend and a pupil of Leighton. He studied at Heatherley’s and entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1864. He exhibited extensively at the Royal Academy, and also at the Society of British Artists and the Grosvenor Gallery. In 1886 he visited America. Among his sitters were Frederic Leighton, Viscount Sidmouth and Lady Sophia Cadogan. He died aged 90 in 1933 and is buried at Wareham, Dorset. Walker met Fanny (nee Whitaker) at drawing classes in Bath. He told Leighton that he was too poor to think of marrying her, and indeed her parents were against the match at first. Leighton did all in his power to see that they married and the wedding eventually took place in 1867. Fanny had lived in Bath since she was born; her father made reproduction antique furniture at 7 Dorchester Street. Leighton greatly admired Fanny (or as he called her 'Nan') and painted her portrait (Leighton House, on loan from the Tate) which captures her charming naivety and naturally pretty looks.
Dimensions20.5 x 23.75 inches