Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Newton, Ann Mary

NEWTON, ANN MARY (1832–1866), painter, born at Rome on 29 June 1832, was daughter of Joseph Severn [q. v.], painter, and British consul at Rome, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Archibald, lord Montgomerie (d. 1814) [see under Montgomerie, Hugh, twelfth Earl of Eglinton]. She learnt drawing as a child from her father, copying engravings by Albert Dürer, or after Michael Angelo and Raphael. Subsequently she showed talent for drawing portraits, and was assisted by George Richmond, R.A., who lent her some of his portraits to copy, and employed her also for the same purpose. At the age of twenty-three or twenty-four she went to Paris, and studied under Ary Scheffer, gaining much commendation from that painter for her skill in drawing. In Paris she painted a portrait in water-colours of the Countess of Elgin, which was much admired, and gained her numerous commissions on her return to England, including various portraits and drawings for the royal family. She exhibited pictures at the Royal Academy in 1852, 1855, and 1856. Miss Severn married 27 April 1861 at St. Michael's, Chester Square, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Charles Thomas Newton, who had just relinquished his post in the consular service to resume work as keeper of the classical antiquities at the British Museum. After her marriage Mrs. Newton devoted most of her time to making drawings of the antiquities at the British Museum for her husband's books and lectures, a task which an early study of the Elgin marbles and a considerable literary and historical training rendered congenial to her. She showed in these drawings a refined and intelligent appreciation of the highest qualities in Greek art. She also painted a few portraits in oil and figure subjects, one of which she exhibited at the Royal Academy, and made many sketches when travelling with her husband in Greece and Asia Minor. She died of measles at 37 Gower Street, Bedford Square, on 2 Jan. 1866.

[Times, 23 Jan. 1866; private information.]

L. C.