The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler

Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler

A carte-de-visite portrait of the English artist Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler (1846-1933). A celebrated battle painter, her reputation was made when Queen Victoria bought The Roll Call, painted by her in 1874. Her sister was the writer, Alice Meynell.

This photograph is possibly from the sitting referred to in Elizabeth Butler’s An Autobiography (1923):

’Of course, the photographers began bothering. The idea of my portraits being published in the shop windows was repugnant to me. Nowadays one is snapshotted whether one likes it or not, but it wasn’t so bad in those days; one’s own consent was asked, at any rate. I refused. However, it had to come to that at last. My grandfather simply walked into the shop of the first people that had asked me, in Regent Street, and calmly made the appointment. I was so cross on being dragged there that the result was as I expected – a rather harassed and coerced young woman, and the worst of it was that this particular photograph was the one most widely published. Indeed, one of my aunts, passing along a street in Chelsea, was astonished to see her rueful niece on a costermonger’s barrow among some bananas!’

Photographed by Robert W Thrupp of Birmingham.


Code: 126470
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