The artist's painting of the Agar Robartes children hangs in the family home, Lanhydrock, near St Austell, Cornwall in the care of the National Trust.

Merritt was an American figure painter and etcher who first exhibited at the RA from 1871.  She has the distinction of painting as a memorial to her husband and teacher/mentor Henry Merritt (1822-1877), the first painting by a woman artist to be acquired for the nation by the Trustees of the Chantry Bequest.  It was Love Locked Out, exhibited at the RA in 1890. She won many awards and medals and was a part of the celebrity art circles with artists such as Frederic LEIGHTON, Lawrence ALMA-TADEMA and James WHISTLER, well-known to Cornish-based painters of the day.  Though as yet not established for certain, she was probably known to Elizabeth Adela FORBES.

There is no evidence except for the painting mentioned above wherein she depicted the children of a Cornish family, that she actually had a Cornish connection. She died in Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire, after some years of failing eyesight.



Portraiture, etcher

works and access

 Lanhydrock: Agar Robartes Family Collection


Permanent collection of the Robartes family, Lanhydrock.

RA 1871-1917

Grosvenor Gallery

New Gallery



misc further info



National Trust Collections: Lanhydrock, Cornwall

'Merritt, Anna Massey Lea (1844-1930)' by Meaghan E Clarke, ODNB, Oxford University Press (Article 63111, accessed 30 July 2011) [Useful bibliography and biography]

Nunn, Pamela G, ed (1986) Canvassing women: recollections by six Victorian women artists;  (1987) Victorian Women Artists