A Moorish Girl with Parakeet

A Moorish Girl with Parakeet, 1875
Henriette Browne (1829-1901)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 00374
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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A Moorish Girl with Parakeet

Henrietta Browne was a pseudonym adopted by Sophie de Bouteiller in 1853. Sophie came from a privileged background as her father was a Count. Sophie’s mother was widowed at a young age and insisted Sophie pursued an arts education in case she needed to be economically independent. In 1851, she attended Charles Chaplin’s class for female artists. Here she studied from live models, gaining knowledge of body proportions and movements. Browne submitted her first work to the Paris Salon in 1853 under her newly adopted pseudonym as she sought to keep her professional and personal life separate.

Browne travelled to Constantinople, Morocco, Egypt and Syria. Renowned internationally during her lifetime for her unconventional approach to Orientalism, she specialised in genre scenes that represented the Near East in a less sensationalised, albeit still exotic, manner than her contemporaries.

Sophie achieved an artistic reputation in England and France and exhibited regularly at the Paris Salon and the Royal Academy. She received the patronage of Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie, a reflection of her popular status.

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