Hannah Elliott

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Portrait of Hannah Elliott in 1940 by Arthur Stewart.

Hannah Elliott (born September 29, 1876 in Atlanta, Georgia; died October 6, 1956 in Birmingham) was an artist and art educator.

Elliott was the daughter of Robert Habersham Elliott, a consulting engineer for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, and the former Elizabeth Hannah Thurman, and the granddaughter of Stephen Elliott, the first Episcopal Bishop of Georgia and a founder of the University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee. Her family came to Birmingham when she was 8 years old. She was trained by private art teachers in Vicksburg, Mississippi; New Orleans, Louisiana; Kansas City, Missouri; and Memphis, Tennessee and also took classes at the Yale Art School and the Columbia Institute. In Birmingham she trained with Mrs W. S. Lovell and with Roderick MacKenzie. In 1900 she began an 18-month tour in Europe, including a course at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, France and long visits to Florence and Rome, Italy.

When she was 19, Elliott founded the Nineteenth Century Club as a young women's group for the discussion of literary topics. On her 28th birthday in 1904 her mother told her that she could no longer be expected to marry, making that the happiest day of her life.

Early in her career, Elliott specialized in producing portrait miniatures. She was invited to join the Miniature Association of America, and developed a national reputation by the turn of the 20th century. Her works, often executed with watercolors on ivory medallions, were exhibited them at the National Miniature Exhibition in New York City, the Pennsylvania Society of Miniature Painters at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Southern States Art Association at New Orleans, and at the 1933 Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. When Giuseppe Moretti died in 1935 he bequeathed his sculpting tools to her.1.

In the early 1930s, she turned to landscape painting and adopted a "uniform" featuring a black dress with hat and neck ribbon worn with tennis shoes. She taught countless students at her home studio at 2036 13th Avenue South, as well as at the Margaret Allen School and Brooke Hill School. She also hosted regular Saturday salons for discussion. Among her students were Eleanor Bridges and Gage Bush Englund. She was known to have taken groups of students on European tours. One alumnus, attorney Henry Upson Sims, was so impressed by his Italian tour led by Elliott that he commissioned the Italianate-style Florentine Building in downtown Birmingham in 1927 in her honor.2.

Elliott's father died in January 1937, soon followed by her mother, before 1940.

In 1942 Elliott, employed by the Federal Writers Project, prepared a typescript documenting the lives of Eleanor and Georges Bridges. Elliott was a founder of the Birmingham Art Club and a long-time supporter of the establishment of an art museum in Birmingham. On October 2, 1955 the Art Club, now restyled the Birmingham Art Association mounted an exhibit of 46 of her miniatures at the museum, many of which depicted members of prominent Birmingham families.

Elliott died at her home in 1956 and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery.


  1. Rowell-1970
  2. White-1986