Barton, Mary (‘Molly’) Georgina (1861–1949) artist, was born 3 April 1861 at Dundalk, Co. Louth, second daughter (and youngest of seven children) of James Barton (qv), civil engineer, of Stillorgan Rd, Dublin, and Catherine Frances Barton (née Golding) of Lime Park, Caledon, Co. Tyrone. In 1863 the family took up residence in Farndreg House, just west of Dundalk town, and it was here that she spent her youth. Her mother died on her second birthday, and after her father's remarriage (1870) to Mary Hewson of Dunganstown, Co. Wicklow, she assisted in bringing up his second family of nine children, six of whom survived. Educated at Southsea and Boulogne, on moving to London in 1895 she studied at the Westminster School of Art, and in 1898 travelled to Rome, where she studied and taught. She subsequently gave art lessons during the summer to groups of women in gentry homes around the country, and in 1900 taught in five different locations. Her career as an exhibitor began in earnest around the turn of the century, when she exhibited with the RHA (1900) and Belfast Art Society (1902). She became a member of the Women's International Art Club and (for a time) the Watercolour Society of Ireland, and in 1902 she held a joint exhibition with Ina Clogstoun entitled ‘Irish life and scenery’ at the Fine Art Society; her work was again on display there in 1905. Hugh Lane (qv) included two of her paintings, ‘A cypress avenue’ and ‘Autumn in Muckross’, in his 1904 exhibition of Irish art held in London's Guildhall. After visiting family members in India in 1905, and some travelling in Nepal, she made an extensive journey throughout Mexico in 1909, where she painted in numerous parts of the country. Her Mexican experiences resulted in an exhibition entitled ‘Mexico: watercolours’ at the Fine Art Society (1909), an article for the Studio (1910), and her illustrated book Impressions of Mexico with brush and pen (1911). She visited Canada in 1914, and France and Portugal in 1929. She continued to exhibit her work, and had paintings shown at Venice, Vienna, Durban, Leeds, Liverpool, and the Paris Salon. The last of her four paintings shown by the RHA was in 1930. She was a regular exhibitor with the Society of Women Artists, of which she was appointed an associate member in 1909 and a full member in 1911. In 1949 she was listed as a member of the Ridley Art Club, with which she had previously exhibited. Her best known works include ‘The road winds uphill all the way’ and ‘Fountain in the cathedral patio, Seville’. She lived for many years in London, and also in Bracknell, Berkshire, where she died 8 November 1949; she never married.
Ir. Times, 6 Apr. 1863; Mary Barton, Impressions of Mexico with pen and brush (1911); Stewart, Index; Bernard Dolman, A dictionary of contemporary British artist 1929 (1981); Canice O'Mahony, ‘Iron rails and harbour walls: James Barton of Farndreg’, Louth Arch. Soc. Jn., xxii, no. 2 (1990), 134–49; Snoddy