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Jennifer Head (University of York)

Jenny Head is a PhD student at the University of York who is researching the 'flower painter' Mary Moser (1744-1819).

Although a founding member of the Royal Academy (1768) with the only other female founder and portrait painter Angelica Kauffman, because she was 'merely a flower painter' Mary Moser seems to be constantly overlooked. This despite her many paintings and her designs for embroidery. Her major commission was from Queen Charlotte for the Mary Moser Room at Frogmore House which illustrated the Queens love of plants and botanising. Head  believes that Moser should be considered in her social context taking into account the craze in elite circles for plant collecting, the plant hunters and the development of Kew Gardens by the royal family. Her father, George Michael Moser was art master to George lll before his accession as well as helping found St. Martins Art School and the RA. Moser was brought up in this highly artistic circle in London and showed early talent, fostered by her father which included an understanding of royal patronage and society. She made a lucrative career from flower painting which has yet to be fully acknowledged and appreciated.

Keywords: Mary Moser; flower painting; tradition of Dutch flower painting; botanising; royal patronage; embroidery; Kew Gardens.


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