Love Locked Out (1890) – Anna M. Lea
Anna Massey Lea (1844–1930), also known as Anna Lea Merritt, was born in Philadelphia, US, but lived in England for most of her life, working as a professional artist. In 1871 she met Henry Merritt (1822–1877), a noted art critic and picture conservator, who would become her tutor and later, from 1877 onwards, her husband.
They married in mid-April 1877, but he died less than three months later, and Anna Lea never married again. In memory of her husband and of her love toward him she painted this lovely oil I show here: Love Locked Out (1890); which would become her best-known work.
It shows Eros standing before a locked door, crestfallen and noticeably saddened and impatient while waiting for the door of death to open, and the reunion of the lonely couple.
Love Locked Out was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1890 and became the first painting by a woman artist acquired for the British national collection. A great purchase indeed !