In 2010 the Lander Gallery was invited to sell a charming portrait of a child on a beach, playing with a toy boat with the name of DAD on the sail. It had a Cornish plein air quality, though similar paintings by her suggest a Dutch location. Research revealed that the artist Edith Hume was in fact born in Truro not far from the Lander Gallery's premises.
Edith Dunn (born 1841) was one of the most successful women to emerge from Truro in the 19th century, though few people know about her now. She grew up in Pydar Street, where her father was a tea merchant. They were remarkably talented children: Edith’s sister became a Professor of Music and her brother Henry Treffry Dunn earned his place in history as a studio assistant who helped Dante Gabriel Rosetti paint so many Pre Raphaelite masterpieces.
When Edith was young and learning to paint, Cornwall was just beginning to attract artists and she was able to meet the skilled professionals who were discovering St Ives for the first time. When she married fellow artist Thomas Oliver Hume they moved to London and then Petersfield, but she returned to Cornwall regularly and there are Cornish titles among the many works she exhibited. She also travelled to Europe and many of her scenes suggest a Dutch influence.
She painted warm sunny outdoor scenes which could be quite sentimental in the Victorian taste- and were very popular. Well over a hundred were shown in Glasgow Institute Of Fine Arts, the Royal Society of Artists at Birmingham, The Walker at Liverpool, ManchesterCity Art Gallery and the Royal Scottish Academy. In London she was shown at all the most important galleries- the Fine Art Society, Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, Royal Society of British Artists and the Royal Academy.