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23 October 2019
Fanny Eaton is another fascinating woman featured in the current Pre-Raphaelite exhibition. She was painted so often (cf. this good Art Fund piece about her) that it is hard to choose an image. But here she is in 1859-60 drawn by Walter Fryer Stocks. And the Art Fund reveals the lovely detail that Fanny lived in Coram Fields, maybe even in Guilford Street at the end of Lamb’s Conduit Street since the family could not literally have lived in the Fields: ‘When she came of age, Fanny cohabitated with James Eaton, a horse-cab driver. They lived in London’s Coram Fields and had ten children together between 1858 and 1879. Brian Eaton, the great-great-grandson of Fanny, claims they were never married as no certificate has ever been found. Quite possibly, an interracial marriage would have been frowned upon and discouraged by James’s family. When James died in his forties in 1881, his wife was left to raise and provide for all of their surviving children.’ And she earned the family’s living by being a much sought-after artist’s model.
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