Two recently donated oil paintings by Elizabeth Ackerman are remarkable for their subjects and their frames.
Both painted around 1900, they depict cottages in and near to Quay Street which have since been demolished. They are framed with intricately carved wood salvaged from St. Michael’s Church in 1888 during Victorian renovations.
Elizabeth Mary Ann Ackerman was born in London in 1840, granddaughter of German immigrant Rudolph Ackermann, print seller, publisher, and creator of the widely celebrated Regency magazine, Ackermann’s Repository. After her father inherited the business it fell on hard times, culminating in his tragic suicide.
We know a lot about what happened to Elizabeth’s mother and siblings, but not why Elizabeth settled in Minehead. She taught drawing at a “School for Ladies” in The Parks, but is later recorded as a governess living in various lodgings in the town.
It was Bob Upham, son of one of the families she lived with, who framed her paintings.
The painting entitled Quay Street shows cottages on the seaward side which had to be demolished in 1910 after a year of terrible storms.
Lamb Cottage, featured in the painting above, was demolished in 1901.
Elizabeth died 1924 and is buried in Minehead Cemetery.