Giovanni Barbaro

Biography :

Giovanni Barbaro was an extremely popular Italian artist during the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. It is generally accepted that his prolific period was between 1890 and 1907. He lived in London and Bath and exhibited at The Royal Academy, The Royal Institute, The Royal Society of British Artists on Suffolk Street and the New Watercolour Society. His still-life subjects were fruits, flowers, birds and fish but he also painted many Egyptian desert and street scenes which displayed the exotic side of his personality. He also painted under the pseudonym of Arthur Dudley (now in dispute and subject to confirmation), representing a more traditional English approach to Fine Art and only these works were displayed at Exhibition. Most of his Arabian themed works were signed Giovanni Barbaro (although some signed G. Barbaro are now emerging) but the traditional still-lifes were signed either Giovanni Barbaro, G. Barbaro or A. Dudley (never Arthur Dudley). There were also earlier Italian themed works which were signed either Giovanni Barbaro or G. Barbaro but these were completed before his move to England and probably before he met his future wife Amy. An intriguing question is where are the works of his wife Amy? (Two works signed Amy Barbaro have since been discovered in the United States and may be entered at auction in 2014). (See Amy Dawson Listings below).

Giovanni Barbaro was born in Amalfi, Italy, 16th April 1864. At some time during the following 27 years he moved to England and met and married his wife Amy Dawson. The announcement of their marriage was made in the Newcastle Courant dated Saturday 1st January 1898 stating "On the 10th December 1897, at the Municipality, Rome, and the Church of SS. Vincenzo and Anastasio, Amy, daughter of Mr. Edward Dawson of Whitley, to Giovanni, son of Dona Maria and the late Don Leopoldo Barbaro of Amalfi, Italy". Following their marriage and presumably a period in Italy, Egypt and Morocco, they were first recorded in the 1901 census living at 35 Carlton Crescent Southampton. Giovanni's occupation was recorded as a retired courier and he was registered as an Italian Subject. Amy Barbaro, born in Newcastle, was recorded as aged 34 and a watercolour artist by occupation. They were also recorded as travelling to New York in 1901. There are no records at this time of their activities between 1901 and 1911 other than the exhibition entries listed below. The 1911 census has the following details : Giovanni was recorded as a boarder in a private house with 8 rooms at 31 Pelham Street SW, aged 47 and an artist by occupation. Amy, aged 44, was also recorded as a boarder and an artist by occupation. They have both entered that their present marriage has lasted 10 completed years which makes their year of marriage 1901 (actually December 1897 as recorded in the Newcastle Courant archives) and that they have no children born alive. The Housekeeper was a German Subject. The remaining tenants were an American actor and an English silk salesman. There are no further records at this time up to their deaths. Giovanni died age 51 on the 10th October 1915 in a Nursing Home in Chiswick. Amy died age 70 on the 20th February 1937 in a Nursing Home in Twickenham. They are buried together in Chiswick Old Cemetery, Hounslow, West London. Relatives are still living in the Amalfi district Italy and in the United States.

The grave in Chiswick Old Cemetery.

Giovanni's signature.

Amy Barbaro:

Thanks to very detailed research carried out by April Marjoram, the following information has been obtained which identifies Amy Barbaro as Amy Dawson born 1867 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Here is an extract from the research :

1. Amy Dawson was born Newcastle upon Tyne in 1867 (ref BMD New.U.Tn 2nd quarter 1867 10b/1).

2. Her parents were Edward Dawson (who worked for Newcastle & Gateshead Gas Co) b.1836 and Jane A F Dawson (nee Thompson - see 3. below). Her siblings were all born NUT (Edward E b.1866; Simpson b.1869 and Edith G b.1874). In 1871 census, the family were living at 11  Coburg St Gateshead and in 1881 in Elswick (ref 1871 census RG11/5053/29/14 and ref 1881 census RG11/5051/74/18).

3. Amy Dawson's parents married in 1863 - Edward Dawson married Jane Ann Fredrina Thompson in/around Newcastle upon Tyne (ref BMD 3rd quarter 1863 New.U.Tn 10b/200).

4. 1891 census shows Amy Dawson described as "artist" visiting (or possibly lodging?) at the home of Henry Graham at 16 Bute Street.

5. 1st October 1893 Dorothy Worden (who was also born in Newcastle upon Tyne) - a member of St Ives Arts club signed in Amy Dawson from Northumberland.

6. 31 March 1901 at 35 Carlton Crescent Southampton at home of Mary Heath widow aged 49 living on own means b. Ireland; Tyrone Power her nephew aged 29 single b India book publisher and Giovanni barbaro aged 37 retired courier b. Italy (Italian subject) and Amy his wife aged 34 b Newcastle Upon Tyne "artist, watercolours" (ref RG13/1060/39/12).

7. 20 April 1901 John Barbaro "artist" aged 34(!!) and his wife Amy "artist"aged 33 left Southampton to sail (2nd class cabin) to New York on the SS New York (ref shipping register).

8. 23 January 1907 Amy Barbaro was one of the two witnesses at the wedding of Dorothy Worden (though by that time she was the widow of William Evelyn Osborn - so is recorded as Dorothy Osborn) to Commander Harold Ernest Browne at St Luke's church, Chelsea (ref P74/LUK/245).

9. Giovanni Barbaro died 1915 whilst his wife Amy Barbaro (ref probate register) died on 20 Feb 1937 at Nursing Home (Milton House Strawberry Hill) but her home address was Montpellier House, Montpellier Row Twickenham. Effects=£8.8s.2d and probate administration was granted to Gipsy [Edith] Archdale Cook, widow (she had been married to an accountant - see 1911 census ref RG14/6978/127).

10. Amy Barbaro was listed on the electoral register in 1936 at 29 Montpelier Row Twickenham.

11. Victorian Painters C.Wood, C.Newall, M.Richarson pub 2008 p133 lists "Dawson, Amy fl1889-1891; exhibited three pictures at SS 1889-91, flowers, fruit and one portrait. London address."


My own conclusion from this research is that, unless it can be proved otherwise, Amy Barbaro was Amy Dawson (now confirmed by the marriage records) and she, not as previously assumed, Giovanni Barbaro, used the pseudonym A. Dudley or Arthur Dudley (maintaining the initials A.D.). She probably adopted this nom de plume as a male name was preferable to a female name in Art Circles in Victorian Britain.


Amy Dawson Listings : 

London (1889-91), she exhibited three paintings at the RBA. She is mentioned in Whybrow's 1883-1900 List of Artists In and Around St Ives.


fl 1889-91



Fruit and flower painter; also figures.


Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p321);

Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists;

Johnson & Greutzner (2008) British Artists 1880-1940 : Exh. 1889-1891. Flower, fruit and portrait painter. Address : London. Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) : 3 exhibits;

Whybrow (1994) St Ives (1883-1900 list p 210).

There are still many gaps in their life story. However, following the research carried out by Margaret Fay we now have the record of their marriage at the Municipality Rome on 10th December 1897 (recorded in the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries of the Newcastle Courant 1st January 1898). They must have spent considerable time in Egypt and Morocco.  There are no records of an Arthur Dudley other than the exhibition entries made under his name.

The search will continue for new information which will be added to this biography as it is found. 

If anyone has more information of any nature regarding their lives please contact me at  

31.05.2014 : Here is an update to the continuing research by April Marjoram :

"I have just come across a couple of snippets in the Exeter newspapers:

1. report in the Exeter & Plymouth Gazette 18 August 1898 = a review of the annual exhibition held at Eland's Gallery in High Street Exeter (usually about 300 paintings for sale) includes "the exhibition includes.......Mr A. Dudley after an absence of 2 years with a couple of works - one of flowers, the other of fruit" ie suggesting that Amy Dawson was using this name before she married Barbaro

2. adverts for sales by auction of oil paintings etc in Exeter which includes paintings by A. Dudley - one was in the Western Times 31 March 1896 (auction was to be on 2 April) the other in the Western Times 27 August 1896 (auction was to be on 2 Sept) - also suggesting that Amy Dawson was using the name before 1896".


Although we do not know when Amy and Giovanni met, it is clear from the above reports that Amy was using the pseudonym A. Dudley (note that it was prefixed Mr) prior to their marriage. The significance of this remains to be seen.


Gut feeling tells me the Mr was an assumption - we ARE talking Devon!! - in the 1890s!. Plus the women in the exhibitions tended to use their Christian names as well.....however...there is no way of knowing. The reason I was scanning the newspapers is that Amy's friend Dorothy Worden was exhibiting in Eland's Exeter around that time - two paintings in 1895. Plus of course William Evelyn Osborn and Dorothy Worden were married in Exmouth in 1896 - but Amy Dawson/Barbaro was NOT a witness at THAT wedding.

Once again, many thanks to April Marjoram and Margaret Fay for their valuable research and contributions to this biography.

Please note that two Egyptian themed watercolour works signed Amy Barbaro have since come to market in the USA and sold at auction for $12,000.00. They are particularly detailed and "borrow" many of the characteristics and techniques from Giovanni, measuring 23-1/2" x 16-1/2".   


Exhibition listings :         

Below is a list of his paintings recorded at The Royal Academy Exhibitions, entered under Arthur Dudley, with date, exhibition entry number and registered address. No further listings have been found at this time.

1892 : 1107 Geraniums. 1108 Oranges and Grapes.

1894 : 1034 Oranges and Grapes.

1895 :   916 Cherries and Apples.

1896 : 1194 Rhododendrons.

1897 : 1220 Oranges and Grapes.

1901 :   959 Dead Game.

1907 : 1036 Pomona's Bounty. 1044 Lobster, Trout and Mullet.

1892 :  47, Brompton Road.

1894 :  27, Coniger Road, Fulham.

1897 :    8, Princes Buildings, Bath.

1907 :  24, Banner Street, E.C.

These listings are particularly interesting as they do not include any of his Egyptian themed works even though many of Dudley's still-life studies were signed Giovanni Barbaro or G. Barbaro.

More info and discussions regarding Barbaro and Amy Barbaro can be found in Blog 3

 Works signed A. Dudley

Still-life watercolour on paper under glass, signed A. Dudley, 1895.

Dimensions : Frame : 405mm x 910mm. Image : 255mm x 755mm.

An early work actually dated by the artist. 

 Arthur Dudley's signature and date year 95 (1895). Note the unusual formation of the printed D and U compared to his later signature seen in the works below:

Still-life study of Rhododendrons, watercolour on paper under glass, signed A. Dudley, c1895.

Dimensions : Frame : 488mm x 970mm. Image : 262mm x 742mm. 

A. Dudley signature, lower lh corner. No date. 

Still-life watercolour on paper study of Grapes and Oranges under glass, signed A. Dudley c1901.

Dimensions : Frame : 416mm 920mm. Image : 275mm x 775mm.   

Still-life study of Apples and Grapes, watercolour on paper under glass, signed A. Dudley, c1901.

Dimensions : Frame : 416mm x 920mm. Image : 275mm x 775mm. 

 Arthur Dudley's signature on later works c1901. 

Still-Life Study of Fruit, watercolour on paper, signed Arthur Dudley, dated 1901.

Dimensions : 480mm x 378mm. 

Works signed Giovanni Barbaro. 

Travellers on camels passing Egyptian ruins, watercolour on paper under glass. Signed Giovanni Barbaro c1901. Many of his Egyptian scenes are located in the vicinity of these same ruins adjacent to the River Nile. Dimensions : Frame : 280mm x 640mm. Image : 240mm x 604mm. 

The same two travellers from a different aspect, watercolour on paper, under glass. c1901.

Dimensions : Frame : 401mm x 210mm. Image : 362mm x 172mm. 

Giovanni Barbaro's signature. 

A camel rider at dusk with a mosque beyond, watercolour and bodycolour on paper, signed Giovanni Barbaro Italy. c1898.

Note that the addition of Italy to signature indicates pre-1900.

Dimensions : Frame : 312mm x 564mm x 11mm.  Image within gilt mount : 171mm x 410mm. 

Artist's signature "Giovanni Barbaro Italy" lower rh corner. 

Resting on the banks of the Nile, watercolour on paper, framed under glass, signed Giovanni Barbaro. c1900.

Dimensions : 400mm x 220mm. 

"View of the Pyramid", title in handscript verso, watercolour on paper, signed Giovanni Barbaro, c1901.

Framed and glazed. Dimensions : Frame : 770mm x 460mm.  Image : 605mm x 305mm.

Detailed study of the main character who often appears in Barbaro's desert scenes. 

Giovanni Barbaro's signature on the "View of the Pyramid" lower rh corner.

 "Travellers and camel passing Egyptian temple near sunset", watercolour on thick wove paper, signed Giovanni Barbaro c1900.

Main character again, leading the camel.

Framed and glazed.  Dimensions : 690mm x 430mm. Image : 570mm x 310mm.

Camels Passing Colossi of Memnon at Sunset, watercolour on paper, signed Giovanni Barbaro. c1900.

Framed and glazed. Dimensions : Frame : 360mm x 715mm x 45mm. Image : 245mm x 600mm. 

Barbaro's signature on the above Colossi of Memnon, lower rh corner. 

Egyptian street scene, watercolour on paper, signed Giovanni Barbaro. c1900.

Framed and glazed.  Dimensions : Frame : 416mm x 861mm x 38mm.  Image : 304mm x 748mm.

Egyptian Marketplace with Figures and Camels, watercolour on paper, signed Giovanni Barbaro. c1900.

Framed and glazed. Dimensions : Frame : 487mm x 933mm x 40mm. Image : 303mm x 747mm. 

Barbaro's signature on the above painting.  

Egyptian Marketplace with Figures, Snake-Charmer and Camels, watercolour on paper, signed Giovanni Barbaro. c1900.

Framed and glazed. Dimensions : Frame : 485mm x 933mm x 40mm. Image : 304mm x 748mm.

The Snake-Charmer in detail. 

Barbaro's signature on the above painting. 

Please click here for the next page : Barbaro 2