John Lavery 1856 - 1941

Detail from title page of 'Mr Whistler's


Sir John Lavery's signature

Detail from title page of 'Mr Whistler's "Ten O'Clock"' by James McNeill Whistler (copy owned by John Lavery)
London: Chatts & Windus, 1888
Fine Art Library 709.73WHI


One of Ireland’s leading society portraits painters of the last century, Belfast-born Lavery was orphaned as a child and sent to school in Scotland, later attending the Glasgow School of Art. Following a commission to paint Queen Victoria’s visit to the Glasgow International Exhibition in 1888, he then moved to London as a highly successful society painter. Following the beginnings of the War of Independence, he and his wife became close friends of the Irish delegates to the Treaty talks in London, entertaining Michael Collins and his co-signatories during 1921. Lavery is a much sought after artist in the Irish art market to this day, with his portraits of Edwardian society including commissions by Edward Carson and Winston Churchill. Most memorably, his wife Hazel modelled for him and provided the iconic image of ‘Kathleen Ni Houlihan’ later reproduced on Irish banknotes for most of the last century.