D. Brownell Murphy [q. v.], an Irish miniature-painter of considerable ability. In 1798 the family came to England, and, after short residences at Whitehaven and Newcastle, settled at Hanwell. Anna evinced much talent as a child, and at the early age of sixteen became a governess in the family of the Marquis of Winchester, where she remained for four years. After leaving this position she probably continued to contribute in some way to the support of her father. About 1821 she was introduced to her future husband, Robert Jameson, a young barrister from the Lake country, said to have been a man of artistic taste as well as a good lawyer. An engagement ensued, which was broken off for some unknown reason, and Anna Murphy, deeply depressed, accepted another situation as governess, and went with her pupil to France and Italy, where she continued for about a year. The journal she kept, with some alterations, the most important of which was a fictitious account of the authoress's death at Autun, was published anonymously, under the title of ‘A Lady's Diary,’ by a speculative bookseller named Thomas, on the sole condition that he should give the authoress a guitar out of his profits, if any. This condition he was able to fulfil on selling the copyright to Colburn for 50l. Colburn changed the title to ‘The Diary of an Ennuyée’ (1826), and the book obtained wide popularity. By this time, having in the interim spent four years as governess in the family of Mr. Littleton (afterwards Lord Hatherton), Miss Murphy (1825) had become reconciled and united to her former lover, Robert Jameson. They settled in Chenies Street, Tottenham Court Road; but it soon appeared that their relations were uncongenial. Jameson is described by his wife as cold and reserved; she, on the other hand, was somewhat wanting in reticence. ‘The wife,’ says the ‘Edinburgh’ reviewer, who evidently speaks from knowledge, ‘was rudely neglected, and the authoress urged to make capital out of her talents.’ After four years Jameson went out to Dominica as puisne judge without objection on his wife's part or reluctance on his own. Mrs. Jameson's pen was now active; she produced ‘Loves of the Poets’ (1829) and ‘Celebrated Female Sovereigns’ (1831, 2 vols.), compilations of no great literary pretensions; wrote the letterpress to accompany her father's Windsor miniatures, at length engraved under the title of ‘The Beauties of the Court of Charles II;’ and published in 1832 her excellent ‘Characteristics of Women’ (2 vols.), essays on Shakespeare's female characters, dedicated to Fanny Kemble. She had made many influential friends, whose interest, it is asserted, gained for her husband a valuable legal appointment in Canada which he obtained in 1833, and which he in that year departed to fill. Mrs. Jameson simultaneously proceeded in an opposite direction, going to Germany, where she contracted the warmest friendship with Major Robert Noel and Ottilie von Goethe, and made the acquaintance of Tieck, Retzsch, Schlegel, and other distinguished persons. She was recalled to England in October by the paralytic seizure of her father. Her experiences of the continent in this and her next visit were recorded in ‘Visits and Sketches’ (1834), one of the most delightful of her books. The portion relating to Germany was published separately at Frankfort in 1837. She returned to Germany in 1834, and spent two years there, carrying on a curious correspondence with her husband, who was continually pressing her to join him in Canada. Mrs. Jameson, although she much distrusted him, and was reluctant to relinquish the brilliant intellectual society in which she moved, sailed for America in September 1836. Her misgivings proved well-founded, and she returned in 1838 after an ample experience of discomfort and disappointment, but with many warm friendships contracted in New England, and the substantial advantage of an annuity of 300l. from her husband, who had become chancellor of the province of Toronto, and was afterwards speaker and attorney-general.
Mrs. Jameson's life from this period was that of an indefatigable authoress. Her ‘Winter Studies and Summer Rambles in Canada’ appeared in 1838; her translation of Princess Amelia of Saxony's dramas, under the title of ‘Social Life in Germany,’ in 1840; and in 1841 she commenced the long series of her publications on art by her ‘Companion to the Public Picture Galleries of London’ (1842), a work of great labour. ‘A sort of thing,’ she says, ‘which ought to have fallen into the hands of Dr. Waagen, or some such bigwig, instead of poor little me.’ It brought her 300l., however. In the following year she began to contribute articles on the Italian painters to the ‘Penny Magazine,’ which were collected into a volume in 1845. Her handbook to the public art galleries had, meanwhile, been followed by a similar guide to the private collections (1844). In 1845 she edited ‘Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters,’ and in the same year again visited Germany, mainly with the purpose of consoling her friend Ottilie von Goethe for the loss of an only daughter. In 1846 she published a volume of miscellaneous essays,