Society honours a ‘forgotten’ Royal favourite

Tony Trevor EMN-180607-062509001
Tony Trevor EMN-180607-062509001

She was a ‘favourite’ of Queen Victoria and now artist Annie Dixon’s remarkable life and work has been recognised with the help of Horncastle’s History and Heritage Society.

Society members and other guests attended a reception last Saturday which saw a blue plaque unveiled at 40 East Street where Annie once lived.

The daughter of a Horncastle corn chandler, Annie was born in 1817 and went on to be possibly the period’s finest miniature portrait artist.

From 1844 onwards, Annie was to exhibit no less than 222 portraits at the Royal Academy.

In 1859, she received her first commission from Queen Victoria and soon became her favourite painter of miniature potraits. Royal patronage created a huge demand for her work and made the artist a relatively wealthy woman with a house in London.

She died in 1901 and is buried in Horncastle’s Boston Road cemetery.

History and Heritage Society chairman Mary Silverton explained in today’s era, Annie was almost unknown in Horncastle, until an enquiry for information about her was received by the the town’s archive.

Local historian Colin Gascoyne carried out intensive research with assistance from staff at the Royal Academy.

The plaque was unveiled by Society Patron Francis Dymoke.

He commented it was significant that in 2018 - the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage - the Horncastle society’s first plaque commemorating the life of a woman and been unveiled.