The "Other" Florence Harrison

8th February 2021

For many years there was confusion over the identity of illustrator and poet Florence Harrison, who was assumed incorrectly to be one Emma Florence Harrison, one time exhibitor at the RA and who produced a series of fairy postcards signed with initials E.F.H.

Here is the information that bibliographic detective Mary Jacobs unearthed about Emma Florence Harrison.

"The Royal Academy confirmed that Emma’s first painting was entitled “Banks Alley in Tewkesbury” and I wondered if she might have been born somewhere in the vicinity. A visit to the town archives was unproductive, but a search of the internet revealed that an Emma Florence Harrison had been born in nearby Redditch in 1858. With this as a starting point I made it my objective to find out all I could about the artist and have spent the last four years in much time-consuming research.

Emma was the oldest daughter of a family of well-off factory owners manufacturing needles and fishing hooks – for which the town was then famous. She was educated at a private school in Malvern and later studied at one of the London Art Colleges. 

Although several gaps remained in the record, when the 1911 census was released I was finally able to confirm that at the age of 53, she had remained single and was then living with two of her sisters in Poole, Dorset. That document also confirmed that she was indeed an artist and I concluded that it was she who had exhibited her paintings in London thirty years earlier."

Given the similarity in the artist's names and the paucity of biographical information about the two ladies the confusion is unsurprising. Below we have shared images of some of the fairy postcards signed E.F.H. produced for A. Vivian Mansell & co.




Whilst both ladies drew scenes of fairy worlds stylistically their work is are quite different, with Emma Florence's postcards being far more typical of the work of other female artists of the day. These postcards look more similar to the work Margaret Tarrant or Hilda Miller than the bold lines and deep colours of Florence (Susan) Harrison.


Hilda Miller, Fairies by Moonlight, an original painting


Margaret Tarrant, Poppy Fairies, An original painting  


Frontispiece to In The Fairy Ring, Florence Harrison


Full details of the story surrounding the mistaken identity can be seen in our 2015 post The True Identity of Florence Harrison.

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