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 Isobel Stewart Field ("Belle") Osbourne  (1858 - 1953)



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Lived/Active: California/Indiana      Known for: portrait, landscape, figure, interior and marine painting

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Isobel Osbourne Strong is primarily known as Isobel Stewart Field ("Belle") Osbourne

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Isobel "Belle" Osbourne Strong Field (1858-1953) was Robert Louis Stevenson's step-daughter and sister of Lloyd Osbourne.

Belle was born in Indianapolis to Samuel and Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne and married the artist Joseph Strong (1853-1899) in 1879, giving birth soon after to a son Austin Strong (1881-1952). Austin went on to become a successful playwright.  Asserting that Joe Strong had a drinking problem, Belle divorced him in 1892.

In 1914, six months after her mother died, she married her mother’s secretary (and possibly lover), the younger journalist Edward Salisbury Field.   He was only three years older than her son Austin. When oil was discovered on property owned by Field they became wealthy. In 1926 Field purchased Zaca Lake and surrounding land in the Figueroa Mountains near Los Olivos, California.

Isobel built an artists studio there and the Field home became a popular meeting place for writers and actors. Isobel and her brother Lloyd wrote about Robert Louis Stevenson and their experiences in Samoa in Memories of Vailima (1902). Later Isobel wrote he her memoirs in two books This Life I’ve Loved (1937) and A Bit of My Life (1951).


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is submitted by Laura Stewart Civey of Leesburg, Florida :

Isobel Stewart Osbourne was born September 18, 1858 in Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana, and died June 26, 1953 in Serena Carpenteria, California. She was the daughter of Samuel C. and Frances Matilda Van De Grift Osbourne. She married Joseph Dwight Strong, an artist, on August 9, 1879 in Monterey, Monterey County California.  Her second husband was Edward Salisbury Field, Jr. They were married Aug. 29, 1914 in Los Gatos, Santa Clara County, California. He was a playwright and many of his short stories were published by the Saturday Evening Post.

Isobel was a writer and artist. Her autobiography, This Life I've Loved, is very informative on her family history. (I obtained a copy through a rare book dealer in California) She is listed in Womans' Who's Who of America 1914 - 15 p. 792. Her second husband struck oil and "Belle" ended her life as a millionairess.

She designed the Hawaiian flag, the Royal Seals, and the star of the Royal Order of Oceania in Hawaii. She is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Her obituary can be found in the New York Times June 28, 1953 issue.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Indianapolis, Isobel Stewart Field was the daughter of artist Fanny Osbourne and the stepdaughter of Robert Louis Stevenson. She studied painting under her mother and Virgil Williams in San Francisco at the San Francisco School of Design. In 1875, she and her mother went to Europe for further study, and they lived briefly in Antwerp, Belgium; spent two years in Grez, France; and then lived in Monterey.

In 1879, Isobel married artist Joseph Strong, and the newlyweds went to Hawaii for several years, and then in 1890, joined Fanny and her new husband, Robert Louis Stevenson, in Samoa.

But Isobel and Joseph had an unhappy marriage and divorced in the mid 1890s, and then in 1914, she married her mother's secretary, Edward Field. Under the name Isobel Field, she wrote the book This Life I've Loved.

Isobel Osbourne died in Santa Barbara on June 16, 1953 in Santa Barbara, California, where she spent her last years.

Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

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