Anna Teasdale obituary

Other lives: Landscape artist who ran away from home as a teenager, enduring poverty and homelessness before enrolling at St Martin’s School of Art in London

My friend Anna Teasdale, who has died aged 88, was a landscape artist and art teacher.

She was born in East Molesley in Surrey, to Geoffrey Teasdale, a gardener, and his wife, Marguerite (nee Smyrk), who died when Anna was eight years old. Anna grew up in Rye in East Sussex, where she became intrigued by the local painter, Edward Burra, whose unsettling landscapes influenced her for the rest of her life. After Rye grammar school she ran away from home to follow her dream of attending art school. Enduring poverty and sometimes homelessness, she enrolled at St Martin’s School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) in London, where she displayed a rare ability to draw.

By the end of the 1950s she had married Robyn Denny, fellow St Martin’s student and rising art star. Beside her husband’s glamorous achievements Anna’s were modest, but they were real: her paintings were included in exhibitions at the Arthur Jeffress gallery, in London, and at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, among others.

In the mid-60s she and Robyn relocated from London to Bath, where they bought a Georgian townhouse which over the years hosted a coterie of successful artists as tenants. Anna continued painting while juggling the domestic demands of bringing up two children.

From Solsbury Hill, oil on canvas, by Anna Teasdale, private collection
From Solsbury Hill, oil on canvas, by Anna Teasdale, private collection Photograph: None

She and Robyn separated in the late 60s, and divorced in 1975. Anna switched to making a living through peripatetic art teaching and selling some of her work, including beautifully painted brooches. Later she opened an art school in her house in Bath, and was a charismatic teacher much loved by her students. She revelled in the rituals and processes of painting, including the mixing of pigment and the laying on of colour on her palette, and occasionally exhibited her paintings in the annual summer show of the Victoria art gallery in Bath.

In many ways Anna lived what one of her friends called “a rackety life”, but – a bit like the rhythmic structures that ordered her landscape compositions – the disarray concealed an inner order, strengthened by the twin pillars of her Roman Catholic faith and her humour.

She is survived by her two children, Dom and Lucy.

Hester Westley

The GuardianTramp

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