In 1885, Anna Lea Merritt exhibited at the Royal Academy in London a painting executed in the Pre-Raphaelite manner. Entitled “Eve Overcome by Remorse,” the vibrantly colored, sensuous composition served as the source for this etching. “Eve” served as the “diploma plate” that Merritt donated to the London Society of Etchers upon her election to its membership.

She learned the art of etching to memorialize her late husband, British painter Henry Merritt. Twenty-three of her prints illustrated a book of his art criticism and fiction.


  • Title: Eve
  • Creator: Anna Lea Merritt
  • Date: 1887/1887
  • artist profile: Versatile artist and writer Anna Lea Merritt, influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters, created a wide range of artwork, including murals, portraiture, and etchings. Born to an affluent Quaker family, Merritt attended politically progressive schools and studied classics, languages, mathematics, and music with private tutors. Initially, she was a self-taught painter, but later she studied anatomy at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia. After moving to Europe with her family in 1865, she took art lessons with various masters in Italy, Germany, and France. The artist settled in London, where she studied with the British painter and picture restorer Henry Merritt. They married in April 1877, but Henry died later that year. A prolific author, Anna Merritt wrote and illustrated two books about Hampshire village of Hurstbourne Tarrant, where she settled in 1891. In addition, she published articles about mural painting, gardening, and the obstacles facing woman artists. A member of London’s Royal Society of Painters and Etchers, Merritt exhibited her work regularly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and the Paris Salon. Her paintings and prints were also displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
  • Training: Private lessons; Women’s Medical College, Philadelphia, ca. 1865
  • Physical Dimensions: w18.875 x h13.125 in (Without frame)
  • Type: Print
  • Rights: Purchased with funds donated by the Ott family in honor of Louise S. Ott; Photography by Lee Stalsworth
  • External Link: National Museum of Women in the Arts
  • Medium: Etching on paper
  • National Museum of Women in the Arts’ Exhibitions: “The Etching Revival and the Professional Woman Artist,” 2005; “Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997,” 1990–91

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