Mary Healey was born in 1885 in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. She attended the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London, England, developing skills in painting life-like watercolour portraits.
In 1919, Healey and her brother Gilbert moved to London, Ontario. Gilbert Healey struggled with chronic illnesses (he may have suffered from both diabetes and severely debilitating arthritis), and Mary accompanied him to provide care. Mary resided with Gilbert on Waterloo Avenue and had her own studio on Carling Street. She became a well-known figure within the London arts community, painting alongside noteworthy London artists such as Eva Bradshaw and Caroline Farncomb. Healey also sketched with Dr. Frederick Banting, the co-discoverer of insulin.
Mary Healey is thought to have suffered from depression and diabetes, the latter of which may have affected her eyesight. She died by suicide in 1923. Gilbert Healey donated two of his late sister’s works to the City of London, the “hauntingly beautiful” Portrait of a Young Girl in 1924, and Study of a Girl’s Head in 1926.
Mary Healey’s work was included posthumously in group shows in London, Ontario in the
mid-1920s and 1930s, and in 1951 was exhibited in England as part of Bradford City Art Gallery’s “Exhibition of Local Artists.”
Biography by Meghan O’Neill
Archival Materials, Curatorial Study Centre, McIntosh Gallery.
“Attractive Landscape Exhibits at Willow Hall All This Week.”
The London Free Press, November 23, 1926.
Elliot, Catherine A. Reflections of an Age: Nineteenth Century British Artists. London, Ontario:
McIntosh Gallery, Western University, 1980. Exhibition Catalogue.
“Canadian Club Sponsors Exhibit: Local Artists Work to Be Seen at Hotel March 4.”
The London Advertiser, February 26, 1932.
“London Artist Dies in her 38th Year.” The London Evening Free Press, January 13, 1923.
Museum London. “Artist Info: Mary Healey.” Museum London Online Catalogue, Works of
Mary Healey. http://collection.museumlondon.ca/people/501/mary-healey/objects#info.
Poole, Nancy Geddes. The Art of London, 1830-1980. London, Ontario: Blackpool Press, 1984.
Wood, Jeremy. Hidden Talents: A Dictionary of Neglected Artists Working 1880-1950.
Billinghurst, England: Jeremy Wood Fine Art, 1994.
“Work of 42 London Artists Represented in Exhibit held by Women’s Canadian Club.”
The London Free Press, March 5, 1932.
Click here for information about works by Mary Healey
in McIntosh Gallery’s collection.