Emily Sargent, A Glimpse Into Her World

Nov. 29, 2022 — May 7, 2023

Earlier this year, a cache of watercolors done by Emily Sargent (1857-1936), a sister of renowned painter John Singer Sargent, was distributed by the Sargent family to museums around the world.  The works, which had been in the possession of the Sargent family since they were created, went to six institutions including the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Sargent House Museum in Gloucester. The Sargent House Museum has an intimate connection to several generations of talented and influential artists from the Sargent family—and is the motivation behind a special exhibit entitled Emily Sargent, A Glimpse into her World, on display at the Cape Ann Museum now through March 2023.

Emily Sargent, A Glimpse into her World includes works done by Emily, her brother John Singer Sargent, and their uncle, Winthrop Sargent (1822-1896), all of whom were accomplished artists and are represented in the Sargent House Museum’s permanent collection. As Emily’s watercolors are the recent discovery, they are the focus of the exhibition.

Born in Italy to American parents, Emily Sargent spent most of her early life in Europe with her family. Sargent lived a vibrant and creative existence and as the frequent traveling companion of her brother John, journeyed around the world.  Although not given the same opportunities as her brother to train as an artist, during her travels Emily Sargent produced over 400 watercolors, capturing glimpses of market bazaars in Egypt, warm sunny beaches, and the Sargent family home life. She was also an excellent copyist and her “master copies” of works by J.M.W. Turner and others display her command of the medium of watercolor and her keen powers of observation. 

While Emily Sargent, A Glimpse of her World offers just a small sampling of Emily Sargent’s work, a more extensive exhibition is planned for the summer of 2023 at the Sargent House Museum that will include all 15 of the watercolors recently discovered in England and gifted to the museum. For additional information on that expanded exhibition, please visit www.sargenthouse.org. The Cape Ann Museum’s currently exhibition can be viewed during regular Museum hours.

Emily Sargent (1857-1936), Untitled [Tropical Seascape], undated, Watercolor on paper, Collection of the Sargent House Museum.

Sign up for e-news