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 Helen Farley Blaney  (1849 - 1900)

About: Helen Farley Blaney


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: nature paintings, etchings, illustrations

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Helen Farley Blaney
An example of work by Helen Farley Blaney
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following information was submitted in August  of 2006 by Jim Danforth, great-nephew of the artist:

Helen Farley Blaney was born Helen Stevens Greenwood in Ipswich, MA, 1849.  She was the sixth of the seven children of Thomas Smith Greenwood and Paulina Adams Thurlow Greenwood.

After marrying stock broker Henry Farley in 1867, Helen signed her works Helen S. Farley.

In 1870 Helen was an artist attached to a scientific expedition to Florida. A primary member of the expedition was Helen's brother-in-law: artist and naturalist Charles Johnson Maynard.  One of Helen’s ornithological illustrations appeared in Maynard’s publication The Birds of Florida.

After Henry Farley’s death, Helen married artist and illustrator Henry R. Blaney of Deham MA, subsequently signing her works Helen Farley Blaney.

Helen had an art studio in Boston, where she did naturalistic watercolors, oils, and etchings, working from charcoal and pencil sketches done from nature, and occasionally using mounted taxidermy birds as models.  Later, Helen Blaney was a manager of  The Union Institute of Arts in Boston, MA, where Henry R. Blaney was an instructor in illustration.

Helen drew most of her inspiration from her observations of nature in New England and Florida.  Among her published works is an 1889 portfolio of etchings featuring scenes in the Adirondack Mountains.

Following the death of her parents, Helen and her older sister inherited the two-hundred-year-old family homestead at Jeffrey's Neck near Ipswich, Massachusetts.  Helen and Henry Blaney maintained that homestead until Helen’s death in 1900.  The homestead is now known as Greenwood Farm Reservation and is open to the public.

Sources include:
Most of the information is derived from family records and letters.  The statement that one of Helen's illustrations appears in Charles Johnson Maynard's book Birds of Florida is derived from information received from Susan D, Abele, curator of images for the Jackson Homestead Museum, Newton, MA.  Ms Abele is also the author of a monograph on Maynard.

Birth and death dates as on her tombstone in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

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