Art Wednesday: Katey Perugini

Self portrait
Artist: Katey (Catherine) Perugini (nee Dickens) (1839-1929)
Born: England
Father: Charles Dickens

She was the daughter of one of our most famous Victorian authors, Charles Dickens, and she was his favour daughter. Catherine Elizabeth Macready Dickens was born in 1939 but best known as Katey by her family.  Her first husband was the artist and author Charles Allston Collins, younger brother of Wilkie Collins; they married in 1860. After his death from cancer in 1873, Kate married another artist, Charles Edward Perugini. She became a successful painter of portraits and genre paintings, sometimes collaborating with Perugini. She started exhibiting her works at the Royal Academy shows in 1877. The Peruginis were active in artistic society, and maintained friendships with J. M. Barrie and George Bernard Shaw among other celebrities of their era.

Like her father and mother, Katey suffered from depression, in particular when her father died and the death of her baby.  Sadly Katey is another forgotten female artist and most people are not aware of her talent.  Her paintings are really quite lovely.

Not only was Katey an artist - she modeled for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood artist John Everett Millais - I have included his beautiful painting at the very end. 

The flower merchant
Agnes Phoebe Burrs
Lilla's a lady
A young girl with her doll

If you are interested in her life - I would recommend  "Katey: The Life and Loves of Dickens Artist Daughter" -  I am currently reading the book and find it very interesting. (link)


Kate was the model of this painting by John Everett Millais.  I love the folds of her dress.

Father and daughters
A photo of Mary, Charles Dickens and Katey



  1. I like her work Jo! I have tried to draw faces and hands before and always mess up, so admire anyone who can make them look truly natural.
    I've never been much into art, but I think you are doing a good job of expanding my knowledge and easing me gently into it! =)

  2. Beautiful! Flossie is my favorite...that face! I will look up the book at my library. Thank you again.

  3. Not my favourite style (or perhaps the lack of smiles isn't my favourite), but very talented! :)

  4. Clara - I thought you would like these - I think they are lovely. It was uncommon to have "serious" faces in those days. She certainly was very talented.


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