Frances Flora Bond Palmer

American (1812–1876)

Palmer was born Frances Flora Bond in Leicester, England in 1812. An unheralded Brooklyn artist, few 19th century women worked so hard and got so little credit as Fanny Palmer. The only professional art training she received was at a nearby private school for young ladies.

When she was 20, Frances (known as “Fanny”), married Edmund S Palmer, a man of no known profession. By 1842, the Palmers had fallen on hard times and they decided to go into the lithography business, Fanny as an artist and her husband as a printer. The Palmer’s printing business, called “F&S Palmer”, eventually failed and they ended up settling in Brooklyn, NY. Fanny’s husband ran a tavern, but is believed to have drunk up a good deal of their profits, so Fanny became the family workhorse and in 1851, she was hired, by Nathaniel Currier.

In much of her work, Fanny depicted places that she had never visited, basing the details on various sources, such as daguerrotypes and later, photographs. She would go out to Long Island and sketch all types of rural and suburban scenery. Sometimes she used her husband and his dogs for models for her Long Island hunting and wildlife scenes.

In 1859, Fanny’s husband, Edmund died as a result of a fall down a flight of stairs. During the latter part of the nineteenth century, Palmer’s prints decorated the homes of more Americans than any other artist of the time.