Christiana Herringham

Other names: 

Lady Herringham

Christiana Jane Herringham

Date of birth: 
08 Dec 1852
City of birth: 
Blackheath Park, Kent
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
25 Feb 1929
Location of death: 
Sussex, England

40 Wimpole Street, London


Christiana Powell married Wilmot Herringham in 1880. Her father had been, among other occupations, an art collector. Herringham was also interested in art, an interest that was encouraged by her husband. In 1906 the Herringhams toured India and saw the Ajanta caves in Hyderabad, which contained damaged wall paintings of the life and times of Buddha.

In 1910, Herringham became involved in the promotion of Indian Art in the UK through her friendship with William Rothenstein. Ernest Havell and Rothenstein formed the India Society and Herringham joined the committee. She was the only female committee member at the time. The Society would often meet at her home at 40 Wimpole Street in London. Her husband became Chair of the India Society committee in 1914.

Following the formation of the Society, Herringham returned to the Ajanta caves with Rothenstein. She set up a camp with the help of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and with several artists set about copying the frescoes. It should also be noted that Herringham was a committed suffragette. In 1914, she returned to the UK but was beset by ill health until her death in Sussex in 1929.

Published works: 

Ajanta Frescoes (London: India Society, 1915)

Contributions to periodicals: 

The Burlington Magazine 17 (June 1910)


The Times, 28 February 1929 (obituary)

Secondary works: 

Arrowsmith, Rupert Richard, 'An Indian Renascence and the Rise of Global Modernism – William Rothenstein, Abanindranath Tagore, and the Ajanta Frescoes,' Burlington Magazine, April 2010

Crawford, Elizabeth, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 (London: UCL Press, 1999) 

Lago, Mary, Christiana Herringham and the Edwardian Art Scene (London: Lund Humphries, 1996)

Lago, Mary, ‘Herringham, Christiana Jane, Lady Herringham (1852-1929)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2006) []

Archive source: 

Rothenstein Papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University

India Society Papers, Mss Eur F147, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

Catalogue of the Herringham Collection, Archives, Royal Holloway, University of London

Victoria and Albert Museum, London