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Charlotte Elizabeth Babb 1830 – 1906 Original Pre-Raphaelite Watercolour

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Superb and rare original Pre-Raphaelite watercolour by Charlotte Elizabeth Babb 1830 – 1906.

Signed and dated 1871 at bottom left.

Image: 14cm x 34cm

Frame: 23cm x 44cm

Pre-Raphaelite Painter in oils and watercolour, also an advocate for women's suffrage. 

Charlotte Elizabeth Babb was a female artist and decorator and sister to John Staines Babb, a mid nineteenth century decorative painter who is also represented by the Southwark Art Collection. Babb spent much of her career campaigning for equal rights for women, in particular their right to suffrage.

Charlotte worked all her life to gain rights for women, especially the right to vote, and the right to refuse to pay taxes, since women were disenfranchised. In 1866 she signed the petition for women’s suffrage, and on 12 occasions allowed her work to be “distrained and sold in lieu of tax.”  In 1871, frustrated by the futility of suffrage petitions she launched a campaign of “no taxation without representation.”. She wrote many leaflets, including “A Word to Women Householders: Practical Protests Political Outcasts,” although she achieved no real following. Several of her friends also refused to pay taxes and started a women’s newspaper.

 In 1859 Babb started campaigning for the admission of female students to the Royal Academy schools and resulted in her own admission in 1861. Babb was among the first female students at the Royal Academy Schools. Throughout her career Babb exhibited widely with arts societies including the Royal Society of British Artists, the British Institution, and the Society of Women Artists, among many others. She was a frequent exhibitor at the Dudley Galleries from 1862. 

Babb produced oil paintings and watercolours in a typical Pre-Raphaelite mode and with a strong emphasis on female figures and associated subjects (such as the Annunciation and story of Saint Cecilia). Babb was also associated with the decorative Arts and Crafts movement through established figures such as ceramic pioneer William de Morgan. Babb's fairly accomplished yet loosely Pre-Raphaelite style enabled her to migrate over to the more stylised Aesthetic Movement with relative ease. It was within this more decorative art territory where Babb produced large commercial paintings directly onto ceramic tiles (which were made by Minton). 

Babb exhibited works at the Walker Art Gallery (Liverpool) Manchester City Art Gallery (1881) and the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, USA (1893). 

Babb's paintings and drawings remain mostly in private collections. The Southwark Art Collection holds the only known publicly owned oil painting by her.