|Elizabeth Thompson, (3 November 1846 - 2 October 1933) was born at Villa Claremont in Lausanne, Switzerland, she specialized in painting scenes from British military
campaigns and battles. These included scenes from the Crimean War and the Battle of Waterloo. The Roll Call (1874), The Defense of Rorke's Drift (1880) and Scotland Forever!
(1881) are among her better-known works. She was married to Lieutenant General Sir William Butler in 1877 afterward being known as Lady Butler. She was one of the
preeminent British Victorian era painters of military themed subjects.
The daughter of Thomas James Thompson and his second wife Christiana Weller, Elizabeth began receiving art instruction in 1862, while growing up in Italy. In 1866 she went to
South Kensington, London and entered the Female School of Art. She became a Roman Catholic along with the rest of the family after they moved to Florence in 1869. While in
Florence she studied under the Italian artist Giuseppe Bellucci at the Accademia di Belle Arti.
Initially she concentrated on religious subjects like The Magnificat (1872), but upon going to Paris in 1870 she was exposed to battle scenes from Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier
and Édouard Detaille, and switched her focus her paintings to war subjects. With the painting Missing (1873) a Franco-Prussian War battle scene, depicting the common solders'
suffering and heroism, she earned her first submission to the Royal Academy. After The Roll Call was shown in 1874 at the Academy, she gained even greater notoriety due to
the paintings immense popularity.
Her career and fame peaked about the time of her marriage to General Sir William Francis Butler (1838–1910) in 1877 - a distinguished officer of the British Army, from
Tipperary in Ireland. The couple would have five children.
On her husband's retirement from the army, she moved with him to Ireland, where they lived at Bansha Castle, County Tipperary. She was widowed in 1910, but continued to live
at Bansha until 1922, when she took up residence with her daughter, Eileen, Viscountess Gormanston, at Gormanston Castle, County Meath. She died there at the age of 86 and
was buried at the Stamullen cemetery.
Mounted Cut Autograph
3 inches by 1 1/4 inches (8cm x 3.5 cm)
|Left: A carte de visite portrait was taken prior to her marriage in 1877 since it bears her
facsimile signature under her maiden name of Elizabeth Thompson.
Carte de Visiet
Frendell & Marshall - Photographer
|Above: Elizabeth Butler's brooding The Defense of Rorke's Drift (1880) is probably her best known work today. It depicts the defense of the mission station in Natal by a
garrison made up mainly of members of "B" Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th Foot while under the joint command of Lieutenant John Rouse Merriott Chard, Royal Engineers
and Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, 2/24th Foot.