Lady Russell-Cotes

Lady Russell-Cotes (1835-1920), 1897
John Henry Lorimer (1856-1936)
Oil on canvas
BORGM 01357
Image © Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Lady Russell-Cotes (1835-1920)

John Henry Lorimer was a Scottish painter, known for his portraits and genre scenes. He produced almost 400 oil paintings, including 130 portraits, in his lifetime. Portraits were his mainstay, allowing him to earn a living and spend time on the Edwardian interiors, scenes of family life and light-filled landscapes that he loved. The Lorimer family acquired Kellie Castle in Fife, on the east coast of Scotland, in 1878 and the castle and its grounds feature in many of Lorimer’s paintings.

This portrait is one of a pair, alongside the painting of Merton Russell-Cotes, Annie’s husband. The paintings were commissioned by the couple. Merton writes about the artist, John Henry Lorimer, and the portraits, in his autobiography:

‘About the time that he painted our portraits he also painted that of the late Lord Lister, which was presented to that eminent scientist on his retirement from his professorship at King’s College, London. At an exhibition held at the Grafton Gallery, London, of Mr. Lorimer’s works, the three singled out for especial praise were the portraits of the late Lord Lister, my wife and myself.’

Merton also includes a Lorimer’s reply to Merton’s request that he paint their portraits:

‘Dear Sir,

I received with great pleasure your very kindly letter this morning. I shall be most happy to undertake your portrait as Mayor of Bournemouth, and also that of Mrs. Russell-Cotes.

With many thanks for your most kind reference to my father’s portrait. – Believe me,

Yours faithfully,
J. H. Lorimer.’

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