Barton, Rose (1856–1929), painter, was born 21 April 1856 in Dublin, the second daughter of Augustine Hugh Barton, a wealthy lawyer and country gentleman of Rochestown, Co Tipperary, and Emily Barton (formerly McCalmont, née Martin) of Ross, Co. Galway. Rose was a cousin of the artist and writer Edith Somerville (qv). Brought up strictly by her parents, she was educated privately in music and drawing by a German governess, and was a talented horsewoman. Following the death of her father in October 1874, she travelled to the continent with her mother and sister, and while in Brussels received her first formal lessons in painting. Having returned to Dublin she entered into a hectic social life; she turned to painting professionally supposedly after a disastrous love affair. Her early works often depicted family members in garden surroundings. She became a committee member of the Watercolour Society of Ireland and regularly exhibited there; she first exhibited with the RHA in 1878 with a painting entitled ‘Dead game’. She made her London debut in 1880 at the Dudley Gallery and the Society of Lady Artists. In the early 1880s she studied in London under the landscape painter Paul Jacob Naftel (1817–91), and later in Paris with the popular Impressionist Henri Gervex (1852–1929), under whom she developed many of the characteristic features of her work.
In the years that followed, her career centred primarily on London and Dublin. Her work was shown in various London galleries, including the Royal Institute and the Grosvenor Gallery, and, between 1884 and 1889, at the Royal Academy. After her election as an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) in 1893, she exhibited mainly with that body. Successful shows in March 1893 at the Japanese Gallery in Bond Street with George Charles Haite, and in 1898 at the Clifford Gallery added to her reputation, so that she could command large sums for her work. She produced mainly impressionistic townscapes, often of Dublin or London, which masterfully captured changing weather conditions, and showed the influence of Whistler. She was also known for her popular depictions of children, and genre paintings, of which ‘Here we dance Lubin, Lubin’ (1897) is a good example. She painted the portrait of George, prince of Wales, as a child. Her illustrations figured in Frances A. Gerard's publication Picturesque Dublin, old and new (1898). This was followed by a more ambitious project Familiar London (1904), for which Barton provided both the text and illustrations. In that year she was represented in Hugh Lane's (qv) Exhibition of Irish Artists at London's Guildhall Art Gallery.
Barton was a lifelong friend of Mildred Anne Butler (qv), with whom she exchanged watercolours. In 1911 she became the first female member of the RWS. Her later years were spent mainly in London, where she regularly entertained Irish relatives and friends. She retained an interest in horseracing throughout her life, and backed two winners on the day of her death. She died 10 October 1929 at her home, 79 Park Mansions, Knightsbridge, London. She never married and is referred to in some sources – for reasons that are uncertain – as Rose Maynard Barton.