Sophie Gengembre ANDERSON

Sophie Adelaide Gengembre ANDERSON
nee GENGEMBRE, Mrs Anderson

Born in Paris, Anderson studied under Steuben, and then moved with her French architect father and English mother to America at the outbreak of the revolution of 1848. As a successful portrait painter herself in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, she married the English artist Walter ANDERSON, and they moved to England in 1854 (living in London, Cumbria and Surrey).

In 1871, due to her ill health, the Andersons moved to Capri, returning in 1894 to settle in Falmouth, Cornwall. From Wood Lane Cottage she continued to paint and submit paintings to London exhibitions. On her death in 1903, at the age of 79 (GRO Index), she was buried in the cemetery at Swanvale in Falmouth.

Anderson has the distinction of being the first woman painter to have her work purchased by a public institution: the Liverpool Corporation acquired her painting Elaine in 1871 (Gaze).  A world record price of over £1,000,000 for her work was achieved by No Walk Today at Sotheby's in 2008.

In October 2011 an important still-life by Anderson, 'Roses', was gifted to Falmouth Art Gallery by the Art Fund, in memory of Brian STEWART, director of the Gallery from 2000 until his untimely death in December 2010. Painted in 1894, after her move to Falmouth, this work has special significance as it is believed to have been exhibited at the original Falmouth Art Gallery in that year.


Painter of portraits, landscape and genre

works and access

Works include: A large number of her known titles are in private collections, including oils such as the Lily Maid of Astolat; Birdsong; Love in a Mist; The turtle dove; Young Girl Fixing Her Hair; The Head of a Nymph and Take the Fair Face of Woman

Access to works: Walker Gallery, Liverpool; Foundling Museum, London; Falmouth Art Gallery


PS 1868; RA; BI; GG; SS; B; G; GI; L; M; RBA; RHA; ROI



misc further info

Her husband predeceased her on 11 January 1903.

Death date at Falmouth, Cornwall: 10 March 1903.



Dunford Women Artists;

Graves (1901) The Royal Academy Exhibitors 1769-1904

Gaze (1997) Dictionary of Women Artists

Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p312)

Hoyle, H (Oct 2011 Women Artists in Cornwall 'Louise Connell at Falmouth Art Gallery'

Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists

Mallett's Index

Pettys (1985) Dictionary of Women Artists; 

Wood (1995) Victorian Painters

Sparrow (1905) Women Painters of the World  (plate of Elaine b&w, p105)

The Year's Art 1896