Anna Maria Garthwaite

So, who was Anna Maria Garthwaite?  Born in Leicestershire, the daughter of the Rector of Harston, she moved to Spitalfields in the late 1720s with her recently widowed sister.   From her house in what was then known as Princes Street (now Princelet Street) she supplied floral designs in watercolour, many of them dated, to the local silkweavers to be made up into elaborate silks which were either sold in the grand drapers in the Strand or exported to America.   She died aged 75 on 24 October 1763, having been described in Malachy Postlethwayt’s Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce as a designer who had ‘introduced the Principles of Painting into the loom’.   I like to think of her as one of two elderly ladies living in the corner house in Princelet Street, producing beautifully bold drawings of plants and flowers for adaptation as brocade.


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