Mary was the sister of the sculptor, F W Sargant, and was born in London (21 July 1857). She studied art under Luc-Olivier Merson in Paris, and at the Slade School with Alphonse Legros. Whybrow includes Florence as an artist of the St Ives Colony in the period 1883-1900 (p 210), but she is not mentioned further within the text and may have been a short-term visitor only.
In 1888 she married an American musician, and lived in Nutley, New Jersey. The couple had a son and a daughter. In 1892 her husband died and she returned to Britain, living at Marlow, Bucks and in Cheyne Row, Chelsea (1913ff), but retaining an American base. She is remembered mainly for her power as a painter of frescos, and for the strong force with which she tore her work away from the confines and techniques of academic art. This, of course, sits well within the social realism and impressionist tendencies found amongst the Newlyn painters. She died in Twickenham, Middlesex, 14 December 1954.
Figure, rustic and domestic painter; craftworker, muralist
works and access
Society of Mural Decorators
Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945
Chantrey Bequest list: Tate On-line
Gaze (1997) Dictionary of Women Artists
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p325)
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
Whybrow (1994) St Ives (1883-1900 list)
The Year's Art