A Space of Their Own

Mary Benwell

1739 – after 1800

Active in: England
Alternate names: Mary Codd


Mary Benwell was an English miniaturist and pastellist born in London in 1739. Her possible early teachers include John Russell and Catherine Read. She exhibited regularly at the Society of Artists and the Royal Academy between 1761 and 1791. In 1762, she married Robert Codd, a military officer. Benwell was living as a retiree in Paddington by 1800 and died in London in 1811.

Selected Works


Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon: die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker. Munich: Saur, 1992.

Bénézit, Emmanuel. Dictionnaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris: Gründ, 1999.

“Benwell, Mary.” Oxford Art Online. https://doi-org.proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.B00016703.

“Biographical notes on Mary Benwell.” Royal Academy. https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/archive/anderdons-biographical-notes-on-mary-benwell-1.

Doran, J. History and Antiquities of the Town and Borough of Reading in Berkshire […]. London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1836.

Fiske, Tina. “Benwell [married name Code], Mary.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. https://doi-org.proxyiub.uits.iu.edu/10.1093/ref:odnb/2177.

Jeffares, Neil. “Benwell, Mary, Mrs. Robert Codd.” Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800. http://www.pastellists.com/Articles/BenwellM.pdf.

“Mary Benwell (Miss).” RKD. https://rkd.nl/explore/artists/6687.

Pilkington, Matthew. The Gentleman’s and Connoisseur’s Dictionary of Painters. London, 1852.

Sée, Robert René Meyer. English Pastels 1750–1830. London, 1911.

Spilsbury, John. A Journal of the Siege of Gibraltar, 1779–1783. London, 1908.

Waterhouse, Sir Ellis Kirkham. The Dictionary of British 18th Century Painters in Oils and Crayons. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1981.

Whitley, William Thomas. Artists and Their Friends in England, 1700–1799. London, 1928.