Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue
Elizabeth Southerden (née Thompson), Lady Butler (1846-1933), Military painter; wife of Sir William Francis Butler
The opening day of the Royal Academy [Monday, 4 May 1874]. A dense crowd before my grenadiers.… I may say that I awoke this morning and found myself famous.
In the same exhibition [RA Summer Exhibition 1874] was the brilliant picture ‘The Roll Call’ […] It was so popular that the coveted railing had to be placed in front, so great were the crowds that surrounded it. […] Elizabeth Thompson was very nearly elected a member of the R.A., after this great success, and I heard that it was chiefly the determined opposition of Sir John Gilbert, R.A. that prevented her being elected. Sir John is credited with declaring that he didn’t ‘want any women in.’ Needless to say that he was an old bachelor.
In person Lady Butler was notable for a combination of dignity and humility; she was always reticent in the presence of public curiosity. Her friends were gratefully familiar with the droll inventiveness of her conversation.
Footnotesback to top
Referencesback to topAtkins 1949
Atkins, J.B., ‘Butler, Elizabeth Southerden (1846–1933)’, DNB, Oxford, 1949.
Bills & Webb 2007
Bills, M., and D. Webb, eds, Victorian Artists in Photographs: [The World of G.F. Watts]. Selections from the Rob Dickins Collection, exh. cat., Watts Gallery, Compton, 2007.
Butler, E., An Autobiography, London, 1923.
Cheney, Faxon & Russo 2000
Cheney, L., A.C. Faxon and K.L. Russo, Self-portraits by Women Painters, Aldershot, 2000.
Fish, A., ‘Some English Lady Artists’, Harmsworth Magazine, May 1901, pp.329f.
Furniss, H., Some Victorian Women: Good, Bad and Indifferent, London, 1923.
Gigliucci, V., ed., Clara Novello’s Reminiscences, London, 1910.
Gillett, P., The Victorian Painter’s World, Stroud, Glos., 1990.
Blom, E., ed., Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 10 vols, London, 1954; repr. 1977.
Jopling, L., Twenty Years of my Life, 1867 to 1887, London, 1925.
Maas, J., The Victorian Art World in Photographs, London, 1984.
McMaster, J., ‘That Mighty Art of Black-and-White: Linley Sambourne, Punch and the Royal Academy’, British Art Journal, Autumn 2008, pp.62–76.
Meynell, W., ‘The Life and Work of Lady Butler’, The Art Annual for 1898 (Art Journal Christmas number), 1898, pp.1–32.
Rideal, L., Mirror Mirror: Self-portraits by Women Artists, exh. cat., NPG, London, 2001.
Usherwood, P., ‘Butler , Elizabeth Southerden, Lady Butler (1846–1933)’, ODNB, Oxford, 2004.
Usherwood & Spencer-Smith 1987
Usherwood, P., and J. Spencer-Smith, Lady Butler, Battle Artist, 1846–1933, exh. cat., National Army Museum, London, 1987.