On the Trail of Altrincham’s Women Artists

The following three artists are associated with the Altrincham area. 

This trail gives a brief account of their lives, examples of their works and their links to the area as well as the opportunity to locate the places in which they lived and where to find out more about these artists.

Helen Allingham (1848-1926)

Helen Allingham was a well-known Victorian watercolour artist. She was born in Derbyshire, however her family moved to Altrincham when she was a baby. They lived at 16 High Street, now Market Street, where there is a Blue Plaque dedicated to her. From 1852 the family lived on the Downs and in 1856 moved to Oakfield (now Levenshurst) on St John’s Road. Her training and career as an artist saw her attend The Royal Academy School in London, work as a freelance graphic artist and in 1875 she was elected as an associate of The Royal Watercolour Society.

Locating Helen Allingham’s Altrincham Home

From the Marks and Spencer Foodhall entrance walk up Shaw’s Road past the revitalised Altrincham Market and popular bars and eateries. At the top of Shaw’s Road turn right opposite the Town Hall on to Market Street and walk along crossing over High Street. Crossing the road and situated on the beautiful brick buildings that are now offices and businesses but were once home to Helen Allingham’s family is the Blue Plaque dedicated to her.

Find out more about Helen Allingham

Manchester Art Gallery has 7 paintings by Helen Allingham. If you are interested in finding out more about her life and work further information can be found online at the Royal Academy of Arts, Art UK, Trafford Local Studies Archive and The Helen Allingham Society. 

Gladys Vasey Portraitist (1889-1981)

Gladys Vasey was born in Blackpool whilst her parents were on holiday from their home in Broad Road, Sale. Gladys Johnson as she was then attended Sale High School, before being sent to a finishing school in Germany. After finishing school Gladys persuaded her mother to allow her to attend art classes where she met L.S. Lowry. It was after she married and had children that Gladys Vasey moved to Bowdon. By 1938 Gladys Vasey was established as a
successful artist particularly of portraits and exhibited at the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts. The family left Bowdon for Wales at the start of WW2, returning to a different house (Bayfield House) in Bowdon for a short time. After the war Gladys spent most of her life in Wales where she continued to paint. 


Locating Gladys Vasey’s Bowdon Homes 

Both residences are within walking distance of The Bowdon Rooms. Laurel Banks is situated on Richmond Road and Bayfield House on Stamford Road.

Find out more about Gladys Vasey 

Three paintings are held at Manchester Art Gallery and one at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, though it is not currently on display. The art historian Robert Meyrick wrote a book about Gladys Vasey, but it is out of print. Again, Art UK is a valuable online source.

Edith Le Breton (1912-1992)

Edith Le Breton was the professional name that Edith Sepple adopted. She was born in Salford where she attended the same Primary School as Harold Riley (who has recently died) and was a friend of L.S. Lowry. She attended Salford School of Art. From 1952-1966 Edith Le Breton was a member of Manchester Fine Arts Academy (MAFA). Her art very much reflects scenes from her life in Salford and Altrincham, where she moved to with her husband.
Initially the family ran a shop and off-licence close to where Sainsbury’s is now and where she continued to paint. In 1954 she and her husband moved to High Street Altrincham before living in nearby Dunham Massey until 1990 when they moved back to Altrincham to sheltered housing on Williams Walk in
the area where their shop had been.

Locating Edith Le Breton’s Altrincham Home

By Sainsbury’s Altrincham following Armitage Road onto Pownall Road is the area where Edith Le Breton lived after moving away from Salford during WW11. Edith and her husband ran a corner shop on the corner of Pownall Road and Rostherne Street. None of the old houses remain in this area but
William’s Walk 


Find out more about Edith Le Breton
Clark Art in Hale sell works by Edith Le Breton and have information about her on their website. One of her paintings, A Salford Street, is held by Salford Art Gallery. Other information can be found online at Art UK and Altrincham History Society.