Grace Mitchell Henry


Grace Henry
Peterhead, Scotland.
Achill Island from Belmullet
Thomas Malone Collection
Keem Bay, Achill Island
Achill Island.


This artist was one of the first to provide delightful colourful paintings to a modern Irish society during her timeframe.  She is best known for her seascapes, landscapes also her floral paintings.

Emily Grace Mitchell was born near Peterhead in Scotland.  She was also educated in London & on the continent. (Gray Sara pages 135 / 6)  [i]


Grace Mitchell spent time at her family’s residence in Piccadilly.  She attended a finishing school in London. (Gray) [ii]


During 1895 her father retired following forty years of Ministry.  The Mitchell family moved to No. 77 Ashley Road, Aberdeen.  Unfortunately his demise occurred later that same year. (Gray) [iii]

Europe & Ireland

Following her father’s demise Grace Mitchell travelled from 1899 throughout Holland & Belgium. (Gray) [iv]

Grace Mitchell spent some time at the Blanc Garrins Academy in Brussels also in  northern France prior to a time in Paris. [v]

She also studied at Academie Carmen & Academie Julian also at Whistler’s Studio. [vi]


In the spring or early summer of 1900 Emily Grace Mitchell met artist Paul Henry.  She was  like him-a child of the Manse!  They were also influenced by Whistler.  They married on 17th September 1903 at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Bayswater in London.  Following their marriage they lived at Knaphill in Surrey. [vii]

She met the Irish painter Paul Henry during 1900 at James McNeil Whistler’s painting school in Paris.  They were married three years later. [viii]

Grace Mitchell met Paul Henry in Paris. They were married on 17th September 1903 at St. Peter’s Church Bayswater London.  They held joint exhibitions in London etc.  They also forwarded submissions to the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin at various times. [ix]


They both moved to Achill Island, Co. Mayo: Ireland initially for a fortnight’s holiday!  But that continued on for nine years due to Paul Henry’s love of Achill.  Grace Henry continued painting in Achill as she was moved by the landscapes of one of the most remote parts of Ireland.  She responded sympathetically to the local people & Achill’s environment.  She used modern techniques to depict everyday social scenes. [x]

During midsummer 1910 (although financially strained) the Henry’s travelled to a vacation on Achill Island.  Their initial two-week stay turned into almost a year due to their visual experiences on the  island.  They stayed in Achill for seven years. [xi]

Grace Mitchell Henry lived with her husband on Achill from 1910 to 1919 where she proved to be the more innovative artist of the two of them.  Her paintings produced several lively canvases of peasant life. [xii]

En Plein Air

Grace Mitchell Henry often painted outdoors at night under artificial light or moonlight at an old bridge at Dooagh. [xiii]

Her outdoor scenes included daytime & night-time compositions under moonlight. [xiv]

Dublin Society

They both left Achill in after seven years in 1919 for Dublin.  Grace Henry preferred the urban lifestyle of London or Dublin rather than a life on Achill Island. [xv]

Paul and Grace Henry established The Society of Dublin Painters with a Dublin Artists Studio & Exhibition Centre.  The first Dublin exhibition was held during 1920. [xvi]

During August 1919 to fulfil Grace’s longing for more comfort also the society that Achill could not provide!  They hoped to have more accessibility to potential buyers: the Henry’s moved to Dublin.  They first rented a furnished flat at  no. 19 Lincoln Chambers, Lincoln Place.  Later from the summer of 1920 they rented a studio at 13A Merrion Row. [xvii]

Joint Exhibitions

During the Spring of 1916 Grace Mitchell Henry & husband hosted a joint exhibition entitled ‘Pictures of the West of Ireland ‘ at Belfast.  Seven of her paintings were discussed in a newspaper report as ‘Evening’ or ‘Moonlit’ subjects.  Joint exhibitions were held also in Stephen’s Green Gallery & at the Magee Gallery in Belfast. [xviii]

Both Henry’s exhibited together between 1904 & 1926 in Dublin City. [xix]

Early Compositions

Grace Mitchell Henry’s early work was quiet in mood & tone.  They included a number of figure paintings: the most famous was ‘Girl in White’  (DCGH). [xx]

Changes in Style

From 1905 Grace used the medium of oils for her artistic works that included a possible self – portrait in a blue smock.  At this time she also painted ‘The Girl in White.’  In a later period Grace’s plain sombre paintings were replaced with a sense of freedom also very colourful strong form.  Her compositions included figurative subjects, single or in groups i.e. ‘Top of the Hill’  described on this site as; ‘a very striking painting very bold colours and heavy outlines that gives a sense of community.’   In her ‘Evening Star’  of 1912 her use of colour was particularly striking with the vivid blue of the sky.  Her work of that period produced a rich palette with atmospheric effects.  Her work portrays modern influences i.e. Cubism & Japanese prints. [xxi]

Several years later Grace Mitchell Henry’s paintings reflected her freedom with more seagulls, or trees bent in the wind.  She introduced more colour into her art works i.e. ‘The Storm’, ‘Floods at Ennis’ or ‘Kerry Sunset.  During the 1930’s she made several visits to the south of France & Adriatic coast of Italy also several  lake areas.  She travelled to Venice also Chiogga where her ‘The Balcon’  was possibly produced at that time.  Her work included the ‘fauvist’ style & free brushwork with vibrant colours.  She also experimented with expressionism i.e. ‘Spring in Winter.’   Along with landscapes she painted several floral works in her studio. [xxii]


She studied under cubist Andre L’hote.  From that time she lived at various addresses in France & Italy but always sent work to Ireland for exhibitions.[xxiii]

The relationship between the Henry’s deteriorated as Grace Henry once again had to urge to travel: they eventually parted during 1927.  Later Grace left for France & Italy with a companion Stephen Gwynn.  Paul Henry remarried after her death but did not mention her in his two autobiographies. [xxiv]

Grace’s Exhibitions

Pre 1900 Grace Mitchell Henry submitted artworks with her first ‘Zutphen’ to the Aberdeen Artists Society also to various Scottish exhibitions.  During 1922 she was represented with five works at an Irish exhibition in Paris.  During 1930 she was represented again in Brussels where she was commended by the gallery as her painting ‘was all poetry.’   She exhibited at the Waddington in Dublin including thirty works to the RHA & to The Hugh Lane Gallery also in London.  During 1949 Grace Henry became an honorary member of the R.H.A. [xxv]

Grace Mitchell Henry was the only woman artist chosen by Victor Waddington in his seminal publication of twelve artists from Ireland during 1940.  Four years later she took part in the first Irish exhibition of living art. [xxvi]


Grace Mitchell Henry was a founder member of the Dublin Society of Painters that sought far more wider exhibition opportunities for artists. [xxvii]

Return to Dublin

Grace Mitchell Henry returned to Dublin from Europe (aged 71 years) at the outbreak of W.W.2. where she lived in hotels or with friends.  She continued to paint & exhibit in the Waddington & Dawson Galleries in Dublin. [xxviii]


Grace’s demise occurred on 11th August 1953 in Dublin.  She is buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery. [xxix]

Further Information

This site states that Grace Mitchell Henry was born in comfortable surroundings (29th Mar 2017) :

Link to view Grace Mitchell Henry’s artwork:

Grace Mitchell Henry is referenced in Cullen Fintan 2000 Sources in Irish Art: A Reader   (Cork University Press) at this link:

Sara Gray 2009 published an article on Grace Mitchell Henry in the Dictionary of  British Women Artists Biography & Autobiography  (pages 135 /6) at this link:



[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid


[vi] Ibid











[xvii] Ibid



[xx] Ibid







[xxvii] Ibid


[xxix] Ibid

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.