Florence Carlyle

Florence Carlyle (1864 – May 2, 1923) was a Canadian figure and portrait painter in the modernist style, known especially as a colorist.

Born in Galt, Ontario, she was raised in Woodstock, Ontario, where her father, William Carlyle,[1] was the county inspector of schools. William's uncle (and Florence's great-uncle) was the Scottish historian and philosopher Thomas Carlyle;[2] and William was said by a contemporary writer to have inherited "much of the cleverness and the abstraction" of his celebrated forebear.[3] But it was Florence's mother who, sensing her daughter's art talent, arranged for an art teacher from New York City to provide lessons in an art studio set up to encourage her talents.

Known throughout her life as "Bird" to family and friends,[4] in 1890, at age 26, Florence Carlyle went to Paris where she studied at the Académie Julian[5] under William Bouguereau, Jules Lefebvre and Tony Robert-Fleury. In 1893 she exhibited her paintings at the Royal Academy, and three years later she returned to Canada.

She had studios in London and Woodstock, and in 1897 became the first woman to be elected an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy. In 1899, she established a studio in New York City.

The last twenty years of her life were spent in Crowborough, Sussex, England where she and a friend, Julie Hastings, bought an English cottage they called "Sweet Haws".

Florence Carlyle died at Crowborough in the spring of 1923. Most of her work is in the collection of the Woodstock Art Gallery in Woodstock, Ontario.


  1. Murray, Joan, and Florence Carlyle. Florence Carlyle, 1864-1923: Against All Odds. London, Ont.: Museum London, 2004. p. 19. ISBN 1-895800-96-X
  2. Campbell, Claire (Spring 2010). "Review of The Practice of Her Profession: Florence Carlyle, Canadian Painter in the Age of Impressionism" (PDF). Journal of Historical Biography. 7: 182–185.
  3. Murray, p. 19.
  4. Murray, p. 19.
  5. Susan ButlinThe Practice of Her Profession: Florence Carlyle, Canadian Painter

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