Elinor M. Barnard (1872-1942)  (Frontpage)  (Thumbnail Index)  (What's New)

Sampling of works by 
Elinor M. Barnard

Lucy Tennant Graham-Smith
c. 1890

Elizabeth Asquith Bibesco

Josephine M Clapp
(later Josephine M Clapp Osbun)

Child with Headdress (Unkown)

c. 1920's

Anthony Asquith??
c. 1923


Joan Powell 
(later Joan Powell Jackson)

Jean Powell
(later  Jean Powell Thompson)

Works shown at
Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibitions

1901 Portrait Study of a Lady
1903  My Little Model
1904 The Blue Earring; Autumn Flower Child
1905 The Unforgotten
1908 La Cigale
1910 The Young American
1911 A Doubtful Visitor


Elinor M. Barnard (1872-1942)
English watercolorist

From: Joan Powell Jackson
Joan jackson home@aol.com
(email is all one word)

She was a portraitist of children with her medium being water color and would paint the children of some of the leading figures of her time. Many of her friends and people she painted for were people that John Singer Sargent knew and painted as well -- she was the niece and studied briefly under Sargent's friend Frederick Barnard. Although born in England, she was cosmopolitan and had been in the United States since 1913. She married a well know writer (in those times) Manuel Komroff who was 20 years her junior, but the two were divorced by 1937. She made her home in New York, but apparently traveled across the country seeking and accepting commissions. 

Why am I interested in her? 

In 1939 Elinor happened to be in New Orleans, Louisiana staying at the DeSoto Hotel where my father was the manager. It so happened that she asked to paint my sister and me. We both sat for her and she inscribed it to Mr. and Mrs. Powell -- which was our maiden name. The painting has been with me all these years and have only recently been attempting to put a history behind her signature on my portrait. Up to now I have been fairly successful in doing a genealogy type search, but I seem to have reached a brick wall on her parents. 

[New York Times, Feb. 17, 1942. 
She died on the 16th.]


Artist, Who Was Specialist in Water-Color Portraits of Children, Stricken Here


Grandchildren of J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford Are Among Those Who Posed for Her

Mrs. Elinor M. Barnard Komroff [3], artist who specialized in water-color portraits of children, died yesterday of a heart ailment in the Hotel Barbizon-Plaza after a short illness. Mrs. Komroff, who lived there and at Poundrige, Westchester County, was the divorced wife of Manuel Komroff, the author. Her age was 70.

Born in London, Mrs. Komroff studied art with an aunt [Emily Cummins Barnard], an artist, and with an uncle, John Barnard, [sic we believe it should be Frederick Barnard [1] who was an] illustrator of works of Charles Dickens, as well as in Paris. She was a cousin of the London dramatic critic and producer, William Archer, and for a time made her home with his family. When he produced Ibsen's plays the house in which Mrs. Komroff lived was often largely denuded of furniture for the stage sets. Mrs. Komroff was a grand niece of Michael Faraday, the famous scientist.

Mrs. Komroff was a friend of the late Earl of Oxford and Asquith, who as Herbert H. Asquith was Prime Minister of Great Britain at the start of the first World War. She painted his children and was frequently his family's weekend guest.

She came to the United States in 1913 and since had lived in various parts of this country. Her work included portraits of the children of Lord and lady Astor, Lord Ribblesdale, Lord Forbes-Leith and Lord Lovat and of the grandchildren of J. P. Morgan and Henry Ford. Her work has been shown in the Toledo Museum and elsewhere and she has demonstrated her technique before art classes in New York and in the West. She had frequently assisted young art students.

She leaves a sister, Mrs. Edward Buchanan of London.

In Oct. of this last year (2003)  I went out to Springville, Utah Art Museum to see their collection of Elinor M Barnard's work. These 30 some odd pieces were in her possession at the time of her death. The Museum is desessioning them. I was able to purchase 3 portraits, 2 lithographs, 1  drawing and 2 sketches. Vern Swanson, the museum director, encouraged me to do a biography of Elinor and a "raisonne." (I cannot do an accent mark on my computer) in a pamphlet form. This in order to get her name out there once again in the Art World 

There is an lot on the net regarding her ex-husband, Manuel Komroff. The New York Times article on the divorce sheds some light as well:

[New York Times 1937]


Author Gets a Decree in Reno on Grounds of Separation

RENO, Nev., Aug. 14 (AP) - District Judge Thomas F. Moran granted a divorce today to Manuel Komroff, New York author and editor, from Mrs. Elinor M. Barnard Komroff, British artist. They were married in New York Dec. 23, 1918. The decree was granted at a private hearing on a five-year separation charge. Property rights were settled in a seal agreement. Mrs. Komroff now is in Buenos Aires.

Manuel Komroff wrote "The Two Thieves, "A New York Tempest," "Coronet," "I, The Tiger," and "waterloo," and edited "Contemporaries of Marco Polo."

Some of the books which he reviewed were "Masterpieces of Chikamatsu," "Skeptical Essays," "Genghis Kahn" and "The Holly Cities of Arabia."

Mrs. Komroff is a painter of children. She has painted in water-color the children of some of the leading families on both sides of the Atlantic. Her works have been shown in New York galleries.


Also, the story of how those 30 pieces got to Utah is interesting. I will save that for later if you are interested. 

By the way, most of the Barnard's were silversmiths-the company going back to 1790 and still in business today in London.  (From time to time their pieces show up on ebay, Christi's and Sotheby's)

[Savannah Morning News-1932
Interview with the Artist [Barnard] by Christopher Murphy, Jr.]

"I used to work only on the Sargentesque lines of strong, vigorous, representational colour, and I still use that method for many subjects. But this is a day of freedom and research in water-colours as in all else, and I am coming more and more to prefer doing my portraits in outline, with only hints of colour, the outlines always showing."



Elinor was a cousin of Frederick Barnard (who was the famous Charles Dickens illustrator).  Her father, George Edward, and Frederick were first cousins. This I learned from doing a genealogical search. There were a few John's and one was a cousin to G.E. and Fred. Komroff was probably confused with all of these names.


Elinor studied with Emily Cummins Barnard-widow of Elinor's uncle William. Emily made her living doing miniatures of the "significant people" in England. She was born in 1840, died in 1902. Emily was living with Elinor in 1901 (found on the census of 1901 in Kensington) She did a miniature of the Duke of Clarence which resulted in visits to Buckingham Palace to confer with Queen Alexandra.


Elinor was born August 9, 1871 (birth certificate). Her given name on the certificate is Ellen Margaret. She used Elinor as her professional name and on entry into the United States at Ellis Island. "Elinor-Ellen" is found on her marriage license. Margaret is for her maternal grandmother, Margaret Sandeman Morison.


<>Elinor is related William Barnard -- the silversmith of The Barnard and Son Silver Co.

<><>Frederick's father was Edward-not John. I have Frederick's birth certificate. He was born 26 May 1846-father Edward and mother Mary Chater. Edward was a silversmith as was George Edward's father, who was William. The Barnard and Sons Silver Co. is still in business in London. Edward and William were first cousins. Alice Faraday Barnard's girls and son (Geoffrey b. 1872) were second cousins to Elinor M. Barnard. Alice Faraday Barnard was the niece of Michael Faraday-he being married to her aunt, Sarah Barnard. Alice and Frederick were married on the Isle of Wight Aug. 11, 1870. 



By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2004 all rights reserved
Created: 5/28/2004
Updated 08/24/2004