Core Holdings of the Tormey-Holder Collection: Anne Mee
Georgian Era Lady Wearing a Colorful Turban
by Anne Mee (née Foldstone, ca. 1770-1851)
2 3/4 x 3 3/8 inches (sight)
watercolor on ivory; housed in a gilt metal surround that
was likely originally affixed within a larger frame
About the Artist: There is some confusion as to Anne Mee's exact year of birth, but she is believed to have been born in London in about the year 1770. Her maiden name was Anne Foldstone, daughter of John Foldstone and Elizabeth Fell. John Foldstone was himself a minor portrait painter, mostly known for making copies of older portraits painted by others. Ann received her basic education at Madame Pomier's school, a French School for young ladies, located in Queen Square, Bloomsbury. She exhibited artistic talent at an early age, having received some training from her father (for whom she also mixed colors and prepared canvases). She is said to have begun painting on her own from the age of 12, at which point she also became a pupil of the much acclaimed English painter George Romney (1734-1802). Anne's father died in 1784, at the young age of 39, leaving his wife and children without financial support. Despite her own very young age (she would have only been about 14 years-old in 1784), through her painting, Anne took on the responsibility of providing an income for her mother and siblings. Early on, she earned the patronage of the Prince of Wales (who later became Prince Regent in 1811, and King George IV in 1820). In 1790 and 1791, she was working regularly at Windsor Castle, painting portraits of Queen Charlotte and her princess daughters. In 1793, she married Joseph Mee, an Irish barrister working in London who had large properties in Armagh. Between 1804 and 1837, she exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts, identifying herself as Mrs. Mee. She died in London on May 25, 1751. Known to have works in collections of the the Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the British Museum (London), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the National Portrait Gallery (London), the Wallace Collection (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and the Nationalmuseum (English: National Museum of Fine Arts; Stockholm). Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 628, 629), Foskett (page 598), and Schidlof (pages 546, 547).