An artist’s eye for distant lands

Travels to Spain, Greece, Italy and beyond.

‘Sloten’. Watercolour, 1905. Private collection.

‘Sloten’. Watercolour, 1905. Private collection.

Mary Sloane travelled widely both at home and on the continent, seeking new artistic opportunities. Her foreign travels are believed to have commenced around 1900, when she visited Holland with Constance Pott, drawing coastal scenes, markets and churches in Edam, Sloten, Dordrecht and Leiden. She is known to have accompanied her sister Eleanor, a classical scholar on a visit to Greece around 1905.

‘The Acropolis, Athens’. Etching, 1905. Leicester Arts & Museums Service collection.

‘The Acropolis, Athens’. Etching, 1905. Leicester Arts & Museums Service collection.

In July 1913 her friendship with May Morris was underlined when the two women holidayed together in Majorca, recording at least three mountain pilgrimages to monasteries and other sites. Closer to home, she also visited the Lake District and Scotland.

In 1924 Mary purchased the lease of May Morris’s former home, 8 Hammersmith Terrace, overlooking the river, which in turn became her own home and studio with her etching press. Mary retained many Morris treasures here including one of her favourite possessions, William Morris’s own chair. She retained the tradition of hosting boat-race parties, begun by William and continued by May. The artist Stanley Spencer was a guest at one of the parties in 1927.

Mary’s foreign travels continued for several years. In 1929 she visited Chartres, France and in 1935 she voyaged down the Rhine in Germany, with her friend and companion Kate Whittaker.