The biography of Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823 - 1903)

Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823-1903) was a French-born British artist who specialised in genre painting of children and women, typically in rural settings.

Sophie was born in Paris. She was the daughter of a Parisian architect Charles Gengembre and his English wife. She was largely self-taught, but briefly studied portrait painting in her early years under Baron von Steuben in Paris in 1843.

At the outbreak of the 1848 Revolution, she moved with her family to America. They first lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, then in Manchester, Pennsylvania, where she met and married the British genre artist Walter Anderson. In 1854 the Andersons moved to London, where she exhibited her works in the Royal Academy. They returned to New York in 1858, then finally settled in London around 1863. Over the next three decades, her work was widely shown at venues including the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists and many regional galleries. She died at home in Falmouth, Cornwall in 1903.

She initially worked in portraiture, including work for the chromolithographers Louis Prang & Co. Her early works showed strong attention to botanical and other detail and is loosely associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Anderson's technique was excellent and she was quite adept at depicting fabrics and drapery with outstanding light effects. Among her works were illustrations of 'Historical Collections of the Great West' by Henry Howe in 1852.