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Born on 20th June 1869 in Bournemouth, Lucy Kemp-Welch would make sketches of the wild ponies in the New Forest during rambles with her father, who was a solicitor. It is said that she never travelled far without her sketchbook and, at the age of 16, she sold her first painting after exhibiting locally for a number of years.
After her second exhibit was accepted and shown by The Royal Academy in 1896, the press began to express confidence in her work and, in 1897 the Tate Gallery bought her masterpiece, Colt Hunting in the New Forest, for permanent display and thus consolidated her success.
Lucy Kemp-Welchs first personal exhibition was held at The Fine Art Society in Bond Street in 1905, and coincided with the publication of a book on her work by Hodder and Stoughton entitled In the Open Country. In 1907 she purchased the School of Art in Bushby, which she had once attended, and became Head, although she devoted more time to painting and writing than to teaching. She was also elected President of the Society of Animal Painters.
In 1922, Lucy Kemp-Welch was commissioned by Princess Marie Louise to make a tiny painting for The Queens Doll House - an unusual contrast in size to the very large canvasses on which she was used to working. During the late twenties and early thirties she also travelled with Lord John Sangers circus and the records of her wanderings with them were featured in the paintings which she exhibited at the Arlington Galleries in 1934 and 1938.
In 1949, at the age of eighty, Lucy Kemp-Welch was still exhibiting at The Royal Academy but, in the 1950s, she became increasingly reclusive and she died on November 28th 1958 in hospital at the grand age of 89.
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