An American painter, born Belle Elkin MITCHELL, who moved from Kansas to the UK with her parents in the late 1880s, in her teens. After a successful early career as a pianist, Belle married John Thomas Norman in 1897. The couple settled in Surrey and had three sons but separated in 1904. Belle moved to Peaslake, where she and her children shared a home with Adah Franks, an unmarried women friend, who was an artist.
Here Belle took up painting and adopted the name 'Da Loria'. She began to build a career as an artist. Contemporaries saw in her work a likeness to that of William Blake. Da Loria enjoyed unusual success practising book illumination, working also as a painter in oils and watercolour. She became well known too for her murals and needlework. She collaborated with Walter Crane and developed an affinity for the Arts and Crafts Movement.
In 1911, seeking artistic stimulus, Da Loria spent several months in St Ives. The census for 1911 gives her address as '18 The Terrace' which she and her sons shared with Adah Franks. Returning to London, she took a studio in Camden Mews. In 1914 one of her paintings was exhibited in the Louvre.
On the eve of the First World War, Norman returned to the USA for good. In New York City her circle included the photographer Alfred Stieglitz. She exhibited widely and undertook some significant private commissions. Nowadays her work is almost unknown, but the Smithsonian American Art Museum has a number of her paintings, and her papers are held in the Archives of American Art.
Painting in oils and watercolour, book illumination, murals, needlework
works and access
Smithsonian American Art Museum
misc further info
Whybrow St Ives (1911-20 list pp 216-8)