Sir John Lavery


Buses gathered outside Lavery’s Cromwell Place home, 1905
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Name:Sir John Lavery

Dates:1856 - 1941


Address: 5 Cromwell Place, SW7

Dates at address:1899 - 1940


Lavery was apprenticed to a photographer in Glasgow, studying at Haldane Academy of Art then later in London and Paris. He married twice, first to Kathleen McDermott in 1890 who died that same year in childbirth, then Hazel Trudeau in 1909.

Lavery was a social climber and changes in his painting style reflect this. First his early French poor rural scenes were replaced by the more profitable Glaswegian urban elite scenes, like The Tennis Party. Then the major exhibition at Kelvingrove Place marked another major change. Paid £600 to paint a portrait of every visitor, including Queen Victoria, Lavery began a career as a portrait painter. He moved to London, where he and his friend Whistler established the International Society of Painters, Gravers, and Sculptors in 1897. A supporter of home-rule for Ireland, his portraits include Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins.

The Lavery’s home on Cromwell Place became a social hub thanks to Hazel, one of London’s great hostesses. Her parties and connections even proved vital to the Irish Free State negotiations in 1920. The house went on to become home to many artists, including Francis Bacon, and is now the headquarters of the National Art Fund.

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