Rocks, Bermuda, 1899, by Hanna Rion (American 1874-1924). Oil on Canvas *Image courtesy of Masterworks
Rocks, Bermuda, 1899, by Hanna Rion (American 1874-1924). Oil on Canvas *Image courtesy of Masterworks

Hanna Rion was atypical of the “southern belle” image we would expect from a woman born into a family of a Colonel in the Confederate Army who fought at Fort Sumter.

Hanna attended the College for Women in Columbia SC but ran away with her piano teacher and married him in 1894 but they eventually split up and she then married Leroy Williams who either died or they were divorced.

She then married illustrator Frank Ver Beck, a well-known artist and illustrator who she had studied art with him and helped him illustrate some of his children’s books.

Again, Hanna was divorced and made her fourth- and final marriage in 1924 to the Reverend Alpheus Baker Hervey. They moved to Bermuda and lived at “The Cocoon” in Warwick.

Quite a full life… but Rion was a “renaissance woman” and besides being an accomplished artist, she played piano, was fluent in German and translated a number of books including Twilight Sleep in 1905. It has been reported that her garden at “The Cocoon” was spectacular and she counted gardening among her other tributes.

Her oil painting Rocks. Bermuda is s typical example of her style of landscape and captures the light playing off the craggy Bermuda coastline. 

Elise Outerbridge is curator of Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

mworks2@logic.bm