Marta Bowerley Biography

Marta Bowerley




Marta Matilda Bowerley, most frequently listed by her given name and early signature, Amelia Mathilde Bauerle, was born on November 12, 1873 in Bayswater, England. She was the daughter of German artist Carl Wilhelm Bauerle, who had moved to England in 1869. She studied at South Kensington Schools and the Slade School, and after completion of her studies she traveled throughout Germany and Italy, likely studying Old Masters as she went, a common practice in the19th and early 20th century. In addition to her personal fine art, Bowerley was a prolific illustrator commissioned during the golden age of book illustration. She contributed regularly to the noted persiodical, The Yellow Book. Editions of Aucassin and Nicolette illustrated by Bowerley were published by the Ashendene Press (1901) and Eragny Press (1903). She wrote and illustrated Studio Picnics - Stories, talks and adventures in paints, which was published posthumously in 1936. In collaboration with guilder and calligrapher Violet Wilson she illuminated the text from The Pilgrim's Progress, adding the color to Wilson's illustrated leafs.

Around this time she also began exhibiting, including shows in Paris and the United States. Of note was her inclusion the ninth exhibition of the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in 1910 at the New Gallery, London, and Exhibition of Paintings and Craft, which also included Estella Canziani, Maud Eastman, Catherine Ouless, and Helen Rock, at Walker's Galleries, London from November 16 through 29, 1928. Her work is currently held in the British Museum and the Wolfsonian at Florida International University in Miami Beach.

It's unknown exactly when Bowerley anglicized her name, though several of the books she illustrated were under her original Germanic spelling as late as 1908. Marta Bowerley appears to have died in London on March 4, 1916; however, some sources suggest that she may have died in 1919 during the influenza pandemic.