Mary Berkeley Sawtelle (née Blackford): Mary Berkeley Blackford; Mary B. Sawtelle; “Daisy”
Mary Berkeley Sawtelle (née Blackford), nicknamed “Daisy,” was born in 1871 in Washington, D.C. Her art studies included time spent at the Corcoran School (at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, today the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design) in Washington D.C., the Académie Delécluse and Académie Colarossi in Paris, and instruction from artists Edwin Scott (Paris) as well as Irving Wiles and (likely Charles Webster) Hawthorne (New York).
In 1897 she married Lieutenant Charles G. Sawtelle Jr.; their daughter, future artist Alice Bierne Sawtelle Mackenzie (1898-1989) was born in Kansas the following year. After her husband’s death in 1908, Sawtelle returned to the Washington, D.C. area and provided for herself and her daughter painting portraits and teaching art, including for a time at the Mary Baldwin Seminary in Staunton, Virginia. During WWI she took a temporary leave from her teaching position to join ”foreign service,” although the exact length and nature of this service is unclear.
Sawtelle painted in Washington D.C. from 1912 to 1917, and then in Virginia, New York state, and North Carolina from 1917 to 1933. She was known to exhibit her work with D.C. art groups, some of which she was a member.
Mary Sawtelle’s daughter Alice and her husband, Hugh A. Mackenzie, relocated to London, Ontario in the early 1930s, and Sawtelle joined them sometime after 1933. Sawtelle was a member of the self-proclaimed “London Studio Group,” which met at her daughter’s London art studio. The group, which also included artists Jonica Reid and Irene Taylor, as well as on occasion Clare Bice, Herb Ariss, Philip Aziz, and Jim Kemp, exhibited their work together in 1947.
Mary B. Sawtelle passed away in London, Ontario in 1954.
Biography by Samantha Merritt and Luvneet K. Rana
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