Partner Eva Palmer

Queer Places:
Bryn Mawr College, 101 N Merion Ave, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Art Students League of New York, 215 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019
Academie Julian, Passage des Panoramas, 75002 Paris
Académie Colarossi, 10 Rue de la Grande Chaumière, 75006 Paris
Sydney Pl, Kensington, London SW7, UK
Christ Episcopal Church Cemetery Milford, Kent County, Delaware, USA

Virginia Greer Yardley (June 17, 1878 - June 20, 1971) was a modernist painter from Delaware.

She was born in South Orange, NJ, to Major Eldredge Taylor Yardley and Clara Wilson Hall. She was the granddaughter of Purnell Hall and Ann Pettigrew Millechop, and descended from Lieut. John Pettigrew. She attended Bryn Mawr College. Eva Palmer embraced the contradictory directions given to her by Bryn Mawr College. Though no stellar student, she gained enough training in classical languages to understand the significance of gendered adjectival endings and pronouns (lost in English translation) and to recite Sappho’s poetry in ancient Greek. Then, following M. Carey Thomas’s line of argument, she made use of classical prototypes to invert social conventions. She was likely practicing some form of “inversion” in the sexual sense in her dormitory room in Radnor Hall in the spring of 1898—perhaps testing Sappho’s words of love on a fellow student. At least one female classmate, Virginia Greer Yardley, recalled having a devastating “crush on Eva Palmer” and remained emotionally attached to her for years. In any case, Eva was caught doing something strictly prohibited, and President Thomas wrote her a stern letter “[forbidding her] the right of residence in the halls of Bryn Mawr College for one year from the 28th of May, 1898, to the 28th of May, 1899.”  Yardley was a woman of class who inherited no wealth, but was the most attentive of Eva's lovers to issue of money and class as they influenced relations in their group. She maintained a painfully beautiful correspondence with both Palmer than Mary Gwinn Hodder. Yardley did not matriculated from Bryn Mawr College, yet misterously appears in the class book of 1901 (BMCSC).

After college, Yardley studied painting at various art schools including the Art Students League in New York (1899, 1921, 1942-1956), and the Academie Colarossi and the Academie Julian schools in Paris. Her instructors included Maurice Sterne, Morris Kantor, Vaclav Vythacil, Kenneth Hayes Miller and Henry Caro-Devaille. She knew many of the American expatriates, and other foreign artists and writers living in Europe at the time, including Isadora Duncan, Natalie and Laura Barney Clifford.

She lived and painted in Europe for nearly 30 years (1912-1941), maintaining various residences in Paris, Dieppe and, during World War I, in London. Sydney Place is a terrace laid out between 1844 to 1846 to a design by George Basevi. One of the first residents was the future politician Sir James Stansfeld, who was then London agent for Giuseppe Mazzini, spearhead of the Italian revolutionary movement. Mazzini spent several months of 1851 staying at the house. Other occupants included Thomas Vacher, the parliamentary publisher; and Edward Trelawny, the writer, adventurer and companion of Lord Byron and Shelley, who lived here with his young mistress in 1860. Actors Murray Carrington and Basil Rathbone had rooms here after the First World War, as did Virginia Greer Yardley. After two decades as a guesthouse, the property was converted to flats, before being restored to a single dwelling in the 1980s. A recent resident was Tamara Mellon.

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