Mildred Anne Butler's art was rooted in the surroundings of Kilmurry, the estate in Northern Ireland which she inherited from her father, Captain Edward Butler, a grandson of the 11th Viscount Mountgarret. With its borders providing a notable testament to the innovations of the garden designer, William Robinson, and abundant bird life on its lawns, and in its pastures and farmyards, the estate provided ample subject matter for an artist who delighted in the natural world.
Having worked briefly with Paul Jacob Naftel, William Frank Calderon, and Norman Garstin, Butler established a friendship with Luke Fildes and Stanhope Forbes. The influence of the Limerick born Garstin, and Forbes, whom she met at Newlyn, clearly informed Butler's development, but thereafter she worked in isolation, although Rose Barton became a friend.
Her work was much admired, and from her first exhibition at the Dudley Gallery in 1888, she showed regularly at the Royal Academy and the Old Watercolour Society, as well at the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Water-Colour Society of Ireland. Queen Mary became a collector of her work, and a small watercolour of crows, similar to the anthropomorphic subjects we see in the following lots, was purchased for the Queen's Doll House at Windsor.
Christie's London sold 175 lots of her work on 13 October 1981, sold by order of the Executors of the late Mrs Doreen Archer-Houblon, and removed from Kilmurry, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.