Louisa Fennell was born September 30, 1847, to William Fennell and Mary Fennell nee White. Louisa showed an early talent for art and in 1865, when she was just 18, received a First Class Medal at the Wakefield Industrial and Fine Art Exhibition. She entered art school not long after and then embarked on what would become a distinguished art career. This was despite the male-dominated art world providing fewer opportunities for women.
Like her father, it appears Louisa was also a keen diarist and often wrote about her visits to different parts of the UK and Europe and what inspired her there. Louisa was a private person who let her work and talent speak for her rather than attending rallies and political meetings. Nevertheless, she provides a landmark for women in the arts. Louisa continued to paint right into her twilight years, before finally succumbing to a heart condition at the age of 82.
Louisa is Blue Plaque Number 1 in our quest for #BluePlaqueParity.
We unveiled Louisa’s blue plaque as part of Heritage Week at The Hepworth in 2019.
Louisa Fennell Broadsheets
Find out all about Louisa’s forgotten history and her incredible work with our broadsheets below. Just click on broadsheet page you wish to read and then double click to zoom in and read at your leisure. Please contact us if you require the text in a different format.
Artist Response: The Louisa Fennell Walking Trail
Louisa painted so many notable landmarks across Wakefield, many of which still stand today.
With the backing of Wakefield Council and the Wakefield Civic Society, as well as countless building owners, we have created a walking trail that allows you to take in the sights of Wakefield and see how Louisa saw these incredible places. To help you, we have created a series of special panels and floor decals to help guide you. In addition, you can now find maps at many local information sites, including Wakefield library. Much of the artwork for this is created by artist and DTC co-leader Shannon S. Wishon.
Celebrate and learn more about the life and talents of Louisa by walking her visual and herstorical city trail throughout Wakefield! Click the picture below to go to our dedicated Louisa Walking Trail page!
Press & Media Coverage of Our Louisa Fennell Work