Elizabeth Vila Taylor Watson (American, 1863-1949)

Elizabeth Vila Taylor Watson, a portrait painter, was often professionally referred to as E.V.T. Watson. She was born Elizabeth Vila Taylor in Westfield, NJ. She died in 1949. She graduated from The Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, now called The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Elizabeth exhibited her paintings for 50 years in Boston.

Elizabeth was primarily known as a portrait painter, both full-size and miniature. She moved to the Boston area with her parents and joined the ranks of the best Boston artists at the Boston School. She studied with Edmund Tarbell and Walter DeCamp and had a studio at Harcourt Studios until it perished in a fire in 1904. Fenway Studio was built in 1905 as a result of the total loss of Harcourt. Watson was among the first few to commit to working at Fenway before it was completed and she continued there for the years that she flourished as a Boston painter.  Fenway is still in existence today, in its same role, providing residential artists’ studios. Fenway is the most famous surviving Arts and Crafts architectural building in Boston.

Her portrait subjects were primarily academic, artistic, political, civic, religious, and social leading figures. The grand figure shown on this site is a life-size portrait of the opera singer, Madame Marie Conde, was her stage name, while her real name was Ernestine Cobern Byer. Elizabeth’s portraits included those of Judge Anderson of the Circuit Court of Appeals; Dr. Henry Norris Russell, director at Princeton Observatory; Grace Moore, opera singer; and Judge Emma Fall Scholfield.

After she married Albert Mortimer Watson, Elizabeth summered on Clarks Island off the coast of Massachusetts. The island is owned, in part by the Watsons. The rest of the year she was a resident of Fenway Studios. She was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston in her family mausoleum.