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Peggy Somerville
(1918 — 1975)

Peggy Somerville was a British painter. Born in Middlesex in 1918, Somerville was regarded a child prodigy owing to her remarkably early aptitude for painting. It is said that when the artist was just three years old, a number of watercolours were exhibited at the Royal Society of Drawing. Later, at seven years old, one of Somerville’s paintings was selected by judges, who famously had no knowledge of the artist’s age, for participation in an exhibition held at the New Irish Salon in Dublin. Somerville’s first major exhibition, deemed a retrospective, was held at the Claridge Gallery in London when the artist was nine years old, with every painting in the show purportedly being sold within days of the exhibition opening. In the years to follow, Somerville participated in several other group exhibitions and a solo show was held at the Beaux Arts Gallery, London in 1932. Somerville studied at the Royal Academy Schools, but found formal study was not to her liking. During the Second World War, Somerville served in the Women’s Land Army.


Following the War, the artist continued to paint. Though her reputation as a prodigious artist had declined as she moved into adulthood, Somerville continued to grow and develop as an artist. During the early 1960s Somerville moved to Suffolk, which would provide significant inspiration for the artist’s more Impressionistic landscape works. Somerville was an accomplished painter, working in oils, watercolours and pastels in the later stages of her career. The artist died in 1975.