Barker, Madeline Graham (1886-1974)

Barker, Madeline Graham (1886-1974)

British artist Madeline Graham Barker is predominantly known for her portraits, figures, and landscapes. Born in Streatham, London, she received a formal education via Royal Academy (RA) Schools and later travelled to Paris to further her development.

Her early years, prior to studying at the RA, were beset by tragedy when her father took his own life following the collapse of Barker’s Bank, where he was an executive. At the time, this most upsetting event made the news, and the scandal only compounded the distress already felt by his grieving widow. As a result, young Madeline found herself living with her mother and grandmother for many of her formative years. Building a strong bond with both.

It’s said that her family, who descended from a line of some repute, tried to dissuade her from pursuing an artistic career but determination carried her towards Royal Academy Schools at the age of 23. She immediately began exhibiting, showing studies at Wimbledon Arts & Crafts Society and received accolades for works that “drew many delighted eyes”.

At some point during the early 1920s, she’s recorded as attending a rather grand Christmas soiree in Paris together with other artists, models and writers. It was hosted by an American gentleman referred to as ‘Branson’ which could be the painter Enoch Lloyd Branson (1853-1925).

One can assume that she spent a significant amount of time in the French capital as her works carry a certain French ease with loose brushwork evident, particularly in her landscapes. At times, there’s a touch of post-impressionism, rendered with a laissez-faire spirit.

That said, her portraits are often more traditional, particularly those hung at the Royal Academy, and it’s poignant that two of these depict her ‘Nan’ (1922) and mother (1931).

Madeline Graham Barker exhibited locally and nationally including at least seven works at the Royal Academy.


Born in Streatham, London, to Hilton Cassanet Barker (1847-1893), a banker, and Lucy Graham (nee Chapple) (1856-1943), the daughter of a solicitor.


Death of father.


Living in Wimbledon, Surrey with her mother, grandmother, and sister.


Studied at Royal Academy Schools.


Exhibited studies at the Wimbledon Arts & Crafts Society.


Living in Wimbledon, Surrey, with step-father, Sidney Walker, and mother.

Travelled to Paris.


Living in Wimbledon, London with step-father, mother and step-brother.
Debuted at the Royal Academy.


Exhibited a portrait titled ‘Nan’ at the Royal Academy.


Exhibited ‘A Girl Resting’ at the Royal Academy.


Exhibited ‘In Sunlight’ at the Royal Academy.


Exhibited ‘Attaché’ at the Royal Academy.


Exhibited at the Royal Academy.


Exhibited at the Royal Academy.


Exhibited a portrait titled ‘The Artist’s Mother’.


Living in Bexhill-On-Sea, East Sussex, with her widowed mother. Both recorded as living on private means.


Died in Farnham, Surrey.

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