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Allingham was an English illustrator and painter. The daughter of a physician, she was brought up in Altrincham, Cheshire. After her fathers death in 1862 Allingham studied at the Birmingham School of Design and in 1867 began to study at the Royal Academy Schools, London.

From 1869 she provided illustrations for Joseph Swain and subsequently for the Graphic and Cornhill magazines. She exhibited watercolours at the Dudley Gallery. In 1874 she married the Irish poet William Allingham, and her consequent financial independence allowed her to abandon black-and-white illustration. Her circle of friends included Tennyson, Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, whose portrait she drew in 1879, and is now in the collection of the Naional Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. In 1875 she was elected an associate of the Old Water-Colour Society (she became a full member in 1890 after the prohibition on lady members was withdrawn); she was a regular exhibitor there.

After 1881, when the family moved to Witley, Surrey, Allingham developed a characteristic style and subject-matter in her watercolours: views of the vernacular architecture of southern England, garden scenes, pure and figurative landscapes, and interior views depicting her own house and family. In each case she sought the informal and intimate character of a subject; her closeness of observation was the result of careful study from nature. She was impressed by the rural subjects of Frederick Walker and learnt from his watercolour technique. She also admired the work of her friend and neighbour Myles Birket Foster. While most of her work depicts the English countryside, she did also paint some scenes of Venice. Her contemporary reputation was considerable, her work well known from exhibitions and reproductions.

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