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Anna Bilinska (1857–1893)

Photo credit: Victoria Art Gallery

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The sitter in this dramatic portrait is Polish artist Anna Bilinska-Bohdanowicz. Artist and sitter probably met in Paris in 1884, where Bilinska was studying on an art course for women.

In this portrait, Anna is shown wearing typical mourning dress, with what may be a black feather fan resting on her lap. In 1884, Anna’s father had died leaving her impoverished. A year later her fiancé too died. In deep despair she travelled round France sketching and painting landscapes. After marrying in 1892 she had plans to set up an art school for women in Warsaw but died tragically young of heart disease, so her dream was never realised.

Victoria Art Gallery





oil on canvas


H 128 x W 90.7 cm

Accession number

BATVG : P : 1945.18

Acquisition method

gift from Helen Lavinia Cochrane, 1945

Work type



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Victoria Art Gallery

Bridge Street, Bath, Somerset BA2 4AT England

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