London 1858-1940 Worplesdon, Surrey
Jessica was the eldest of four daughters to the artist James Hayllar RBA (1829-1920), from whom she learnt to paint along with her sisters Edith, Mary and Kate, who were also talented artists. ‘As each one reached school-leaving age she was put through a thorough course of drawing, perspective and painting, which lasted from ten till four every day. In the evenings there would be ‘modelling in clay, etching or mezzotint engraving on copper’ according to the Ladies’ Pictorial Magazine, which published an article about Jessica, Edith and Kate in 1889.
Jessica began to exhibit in 1879, at the Royal Academy, London from 1880-1915, as well as other venues including the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Painters in Oils, the Royal Society of Arts, Birmingham, the Walker Gallery, Liverpool and the Manchester Art Gallery. For Christopher Wood: ‘Her best works, painted between 1885-1900, are nearly all quiet domestic scenes of everyday life at her father’s house, Castle Priory. Both her figures and interiors are observed with great naturalness and charm; her models were mostly members of her family, or locals from the village. About 1900 she was crippled in an accident and thereafter painted only flower pictures.’ In 1899, following the death of his wife, Ellen (nee Cavell, sister of the artist John Cavell), James and Jessica moved to Redholme, Cambridge Road, Bournemouth and were looked after there by Kate Hayllar, who became a nurse.
Christopher Wood, ‘The Artistic Family Hayllar’, The Connoisseur, Part 1, April 197pp.266-2734, Part 2, May 1974, pp. 2-9
Mary Gabrielle Hayllar ‘Framing the Hayllar Sisters. A Multi-genre biography of four English Victorian Painter’, Phd University of New South Wales, August 2012: http://unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unworks:2012.11131/SOURCE01
Anthony Wilder, Victorian Artists of Walliingford. A Tale of Two Dynasties: The Hayllar & Leslie Families, Pie Power Press, 2006