Heaton, Mary Margaret (DNB00)

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HEATON, Mrs. MARY MARGARET (1836–1883), writer on art, was the eldest daughter of James Keymer, a silk-printer, and of his wife Margaret, a sister of Samuel Laman Blanchard [q. v.] Her father was an intimate friend of Douglas Jerrold and other literary men. In 1863 she married Charles William Heaton, professor of chemistry. She died on 1 June 1883. Her first published works consisted of graceful verses for children, written to the designs of Oscar Pletsch; but, though these were very successful, it was to her writings upon art that she owed her reputation. In 1869 appeared her ‘Masterpieces of Flemish Art,’ and in 1870 her ‘Life of Albrecht Dürer,’ the first separate life of that artist published in England. Her extensive reading specially qualified her for dealing with the times in which Dürer lived, and her knowledge of German enabled her to make a more complete and accurate translation of his journal than had appeared before. The success of the book was immediate and lasting, and procured for her the acquaintance of Dr. Charles Appleton [q. v.], the first editor of the ‘Academy,’ to which review she was a very frequent contributor from its commencement till a short time before her death. Her ‘Concise History of Painting’ (1873) is the most readable and comprehensive of all short works of the kind, a new edition of which was in 1888 added to Bohn's ‘Artists' Library.’ She also prepared a new edition of Allan Cunningham's ‘Lives of British Painters,’ and wrote several new biographies and some of the most important articles in the new edition of Bryan's ‘Dictionary of Painters and Engravers.’

[Academy, June 1883; private information.]

C. M.