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The Remarkable Miss Breton: Artist, archaeologist, traveller’ is a portrait of an extraordinary woman and her adventures. Adela Breton (1849-1923) - well-known to scholars of Mesoamerican art and culture for her watercolours of Maya temple murals - is relatively unknown in her own country.
Most of her life was spent in Bath, caring for parents, but after her father’s death in 1887, she became an intrepid traveller in the Americas, inheriting her father’s ‘inherent propensity to wander’.
Working with archaeologists in Mexico, Adela made beautiful and detailed paintings of the ancient temple murals in the Yucatán Peninsula, thus preserving an invaluable record for the future. She travelled extensively and in her final years participated in international conferences of archaeology in Europe and the Americas, until her death in 1923 in Barbados.
Both Adela and her father were BRLSI members and their legacy continues with their donations to the BRLSI collections. Adela bequeathed her art collection to Bristol Museum, Art Gallery, and Archives, and to the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.
This account has been compiled using archive material from Adela C. Breton Papers, American Philosophical Society, Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI), British Library, City of Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives, King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum, Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Philadelphia Museum, Royal Anthropological Institute, Tasmanian Archive & Heritage Office, and The Bath Chronicle by Jane Sparrow-Niang.
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