Gertrude was born in Illogan, Cornwall, the daughter of Elias Christian, Gentleman, a mining agent of some substance. By the time Gertrude was 13, her widowed mother Jane had brought her family to Penzance, where they lived on Penrose Terrace. One brother, James, who had begun work at age 16 as a railway agent, had become by this time the station master of Penzance Station (the end of the line for this new service to the far west). Another older brother had taken his inheritance to London and thanks to wise investment (railway shares and mining) had amassed a sizeable fortune.

It was to this latter brother and his family that Gertrude, by visiting at their home in Walton Street, Chelsea, was able to extend her training in art, first begun at Penzance School of Art. Where she studied is not as yet known, but by the time she had returned to live with her mother in Penzance, she was listed in the Census of 1881 as an artist/painter.

From 1884-88 her floral watercolours made an impact.  These were exhibited by the Royal Institution, the National Watercolour Society, and the Society of Women Artists. 

No further information is available at this time; she is not listed in the 1891 Census, when she would have been 43, and there are no further exhibition traces. The marriage of a Gertrude Christian is recorded at Marylebone, London in January 1891, with no spouse listed. It is not known whether or not this is the same person, nor when or where she died.



Painter in watercolours, primarily of flowers


 RI (1)

NWS (1)

SWA (7)

misc further info

1/2/2011: Contacted by American scholar Kathleen Menendez, offering clarification on Gertrude Christian who married J William Fosdick. She is another painter-sculptor-author, about whom little is known.  However, they are two separate artists, born at least a generation apart, and working/exhibiting in Britain and the USA respectively. 


Cornish Census Project 1841

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (updated information herewith 1/2/2011)

Johnson & Greutzner British Artists 1880-1940

Wood (1995) Victorian Painters;