Anna Brownell Jameson, née Murphy, was an English writer on art, religion and women, but was of Irish birth. Her father Denis Murphy (d. 1842) was a painter of miniatures. In 1825 Jameson married Robert Jameson, a barrister. Her unmarried sisters depended on her for financial support.
Jameson was a popular writer on contemporary, classical and Renaissance art. In particular she contributed to writings on religious iconography, and, influenced by the work of the German art historian Carl Friedrich von Rumohr and the French art historian Alexis-François Rio, she helped to give added weight and importance to the works of the early Renaissance artists who had been disparagingly termed the 'Primitives' by critics.
In 1849 Whistler was given a copy of Jameson's Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters (1845). This helped inspire him to become an artist.
Jameson, Anna, Diary of an Ennuyée, London, 1826; Jameson, Anna, Characteristics of Women, 2 vols, London, 1826; Jameson, Anna, Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad, 4 vols, London, 1834; Jameson, Anna, A Handbook to the Public Galleries of Art in and near London, London, 1842; Jameson, Anna, Companion to the Most Celebrated Private Galleries of Art in London, London, 1844; Jameson, Anna, Memoirs of the Early Italian Painters, 2 vols, London, 1845; Jameson, Anna, The Poetry of Sacred and Legendary Art, London, 1848; Jameson, Anna, Legends of the Monastic Orders, London, 1850; Jameson, Anna, Legends of the Madonna, London, 1852; Jameson, Anna, The History of Our Lord Exemplified in Works of Art, 2 vols, London, 1864; Needler, G. H. (ed.), Letters of Anna Jameson to Ottilie von Goethe, London, 1939; MacPherson, G., Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson, Toronto, 1967; Ernstrom, Adele M., 'Anna Brownell Jameson', The Grove Dictionary of Art Online, ed. L. Macy, http://www.groveart.com (accessed 5 April 2002).