Allen Moore was born in County Antrim. Her father, the Revd Hamilton
Moore, was called to be minister of Loudoun Parish Church in 1891. She
briefly attended Kilmarnock Academy in 1902 and she later went to the
Glasgow School of Art. After graduating she was unable to afford the
cost of a model, posing for herself in some of her early paintings.
For one oil painting she grandly dressed herself in silk in a pose partly
suggested, perhaps, by the work of the Scottish colourist, F.C.B. Cadell.
In 1922 Moore married Robert Cecil Robertson, a doctor and another former
pupil of Kilmarnock Academy. Her husband was appointed Public Health
Officer with Shanghai Municipal Council in 1924 where Eleanor continued
painting, producing some fine watercolours of the Chinese people in
the 1930s. She was also popular as a portrait painter in the expatriate
community. As she and her husband explored the countryside around Shanghai
in their houseboat, Robert, the son of a Kilmarnock house painter and
decorator, also took up painting, producing some impressive studies
of local scenes and people. Eleanor and her husband stayed in Shanghai
until the outbreak if the Sino-Japanese war in 1937 when they moved
to Hong Kong. After World War II she returned to Scotland.
Eleanor Allen Robertson is claimed as belonging to the school of painters
known as 'the Glasgow Girls'. This is a description for women painters
associated with the Glasgow School of Art in the early twentieth century
which has been coined to counterbalance the better-known male painters,
' the Glasgow Boys'. She and her husband were the subject of an exhibition
at the Dick Institute, Kilmarnock, in 1997, where several of her works
are held. The catalogue to the exhibition contains a number of illustrations
of her work.