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Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Marian Collier (née Huxley) (1859-1887), Painter; first wife of John Collier

Painter; born April 1859, in London, third child of scientist Thomas Henry Huxley. [1] Prize-winning student at Slade under Alphonse Legros; [2] exhibited at Royal Academy, Grosvenor Gallery, Dudley Gallery, Liverpool, Glasgow and elsewhere 1880–84; married fellow artist John Collier 1879; her portrait sketches of Huxley, Charles Darwin and three contemporaries are in the National Portrait Gallery collection; suffered mental disorder following birth of daughter Joyce in 1884; [3]; died 19 November 1887, near Paris.

On varnishing day at the Grosvenor Gallery on 28 April 1880, Marion Collier was described as ‘looking like a bright and mischievous bacchante in nineteenth-century costume’. [4]

Dr Jan Marsh

Footnotesback to top

[1] Originally named ‘Marian’ and known in the family as ‘Mady’, the signature on her work clearly gives ‘Marion’ as her preferred spelling; this is also used by her husband in his Sitters Book 1879–1934, copy NPG Archive.
[2] In 1883 she was listed among the ‘former Slade students’ who had ‘obtained a position of standing among the artists of the present day’: C.J. Weeks, ‘Women at Work: the Slade Girls’, MA, 1883, p.329.
[3] The Family Tree given for Huxley’s descendants shows three children – Gillian, Rupert and Joyce – but only the last appears to have survived.
[4] Diary of Blanche Lindsay, quoted Henrey 1937, p.226.

Referencesback to top

Desmond 1994–7
Desmond, A., Huxley, vol.1. The Devil’s Disciple, vol.2. Evolution’s High Priest, London, 1994–7.

Henrey 1937
Henrey, Mrs R., A Century Between, London, 1937.