Violet Whiteman

Biography
Violet Emily Sells was born on Christmas Eve 1873 at Guildford, Surrey. From early childhood she had an affection for animals which was to be a strong motivating force in her subsequent painting.
Not much is known of her early life. However in 1926 she and her husband emigrated to New Zealand in search of a warmer climate. The move was quite radical as Violet was then 52 and her husband ten years older. They settled in Wanganui and enjoyed the country lifestyle at Kaitoke. Violet brought some of her paintings from England, mostly hunting scenes, and soon was painting again.
As her work became known and admired, she began receiving commissions to paint prized animals and treasured family pets. Towards the end of her life she accepted a commission to paint a famous racehorse, Beau Le Havre, which she completed despite arthritis in her hands and failing eyesight. Once, she was even commissioned to paint an artificial nose for an unfortunate patient at the Wanganui Hospital!
- Abridged from an essay by Mrs Wilkinson, Auckland, written in 1999.
b.1873, d.1952
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