WittenBunty - Lilies.JPG

Dublin Core




From slightly above a table, we look down upon a vase of trumpet lilies playing in all directions, their green foliage lush. A dark background adds dramatic contrast the white lilies. Next to the vase is a figure wearing a helmet or headress with a red jewel.

About the Artist: There are conflicting, possibly invented details surrounding the life of this colorful artist. Born in England to a Spanish father and English mother, her birth name was Mable Alice Mary Azue; her stated birth date ranges between 1896 and 1901. According to a 1951 newspaper feature, her mother was killed during a 1914 German bombing raid of London, then the teenager’s education was sponsored by a soldier named George W. Witten, who married her a year later when she was sixteen. Col. Witten’s own story—of running away from home to become a soldier of fortune, fighting in the Boer War, plotting to overthrow Venezuela, publishing exposes of fraudulent stock transactions—has its own interests, not least his profession as writer-adventurer (Hooper, “Soldier”). Bunty Witten’s life as an artist included study in New York with Michel Jacobs and fashion designer Ethel Traphagen, then briefly at Académie Colarossi in Paris. Her work included commercial art, interior design, and book illustration. A charming illustration for Jack O’Brien’s Rip Darcy, Adventurer (1938) shows her talent for portraiture, which included several well-known figures: Gen. Robert Lee Bullard and the aviators Amelia Earhart and Jessie “Chubbie” Miller. As of the late 1930s she and her husband, Col. George W. Witten, had relocated to St. Petersburg, FL.

Sources Consulted: Paul Hooper, “The Vista That Hides the View,” Tampa Tribune 18 Nov. 1951: 45; Paul Hooper, “Soldier of Fortune Finally Reaches ‘Journey’s End,’” Tampa Tribune 15 June 1952: 46; Lilian Blackstone, “Artist and Husband Forget Their Proposed Trip to Guatemala as Soon as They Reach Here,” Tampa Bay Times 30 April 1932: 14.


Witten, Bunty, 1894-1968


Federal Art Project




Ritz, Abigail (photography)

Cooper, Ken (biography)


New Deal Gallery, Genesee Valley Council on the Arts

Object #FA18372


jpeg, 1.1 MB


Still image



Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Oil painting

Physical Dimensions

20 x 24 in.
Condition: surface dirt