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Mary Ellen Best

 (1809 - 1891)
Mary Ellen Best was active/lived in United States, United Kingdom, Germany.  Mary Best is known for figure, still life, interior paintings.

Mary Ellen Best

Biography from Bonhams Knightsbridge

Mary Ellen Best was born in York, October 1809 to Dr Charles Best, a prominent Yorkshire physician, and Mary Norcliffe Dalton daughter or a Yorkshire landowner.

Dr. Best died when Mary Ellen was only eight, leaving her to be raised by her mother, who never remarried, and her two sisters. Inheritance from her meant that a good education was affordable and that she would not have to work for a living or marry for financial reasons, leaving adequate time to study painting both at Mrs. Haugh's school in Doncaster and later Miss Shepherd's school in Bromley.

In 1828, Best returned to Yorkshire to embark on a career as a painter. Artwork  dating from this period when Best was still learning here trade and taking every opportunity to practice, traveling throughout Yorkshire sketching landscapes, country houses and churches. They are testament to the dedication shown by the young artist and a great marker for her progression.

Best traveled extensively in Europe during her career, her first trip being in 1934 with her mother. Instead of following the well beaten track to Italy the pair traveled through Holland into Germany, stopping at Rotterdam along the way. The view of Rotterdam, was likely either painted during the brief stay during this first trip or during her second foray onto the continent in 1938 when she spent two months exploring Holland, including a stay in Leyden. This second trip came after the death of Best's mother in March 1837. The inheritance Best received at this time meant she could live comfortably without having to sell to dealers or exhibit her work and afforded her the luxury of being able to travel as much as she pleased.

Indeed, it is clear that Best enjoyed traveling, returning for a three month tour in June 1939 including a stay in Dusseldorf to paint the town's colorful costumes.  It was late September in Dusseldorf, during this trip, that Best met her future husband, Johann Anton Phillip Sarg, a German schoolmaster and ambitious musician. In what appears to be whirlwind romance she left Dusseldorf a few weeks later engaged to marry, the wedding taking place on the 15th January 1840.

The couple spent the early stages of the married life in Nuremburg and Frankfurt during which time they had three children Frank, Caroline and Fred. The family returned to England intermittently but lived mainly in Germany and Belgium.

Mary Ellen Best died of pneumonia in Darmstadt in May 1891 at the age of eighty-one.

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About  Mary Ellen Best

Born:  1809 - York, Yorkshire, England
Died:   1891 - Darmstadt, Germany
Known for:  figure, still life, interior paintings