Elizabeth Southerden Thompson, Lady Butler (1846-1933)
Elizabeth Southerden Thompson, Lady Butler (1846-1933)

Chasseur Vedette

Details
Elizabeth Southerden Thompson, Lady Butler (1846-1933)
Chasseur Vedette
signed with monogram and initials and dated 'E.S.T./1872' (lower left)
oil on canvas
20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 61 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 15 November 2007, lot 105, where purchased by the present owner.

Brought to you by

Clare Keiller
Clare Keiller

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Lot Essay

Lady Butler, arguably the greatest British military painter of the 19th Century, began her formal artistic training at the age of sixteen. Her first introduction to the army came in 1872 when she observed the Autumn manoeuvres at Southampton. A sketch, Soldier watering horses, was sold to a Mr Galloway of Manchester. He then commissioned The Roll-Call which was considered the picture of the year at the Royal Academy of 1874. It was fêted by the Royal family, and Mr Galloway was obliged to surrender the painting to Queen Victoria, where it remains in the Royal Collection. Further successes followed: Rorke's Drift was also bought by Queen Victoria while The Remnant of an Army remained the artist's favourite.

Chasseur Vedette shows a French light cavalry trooper on picket duty as night begins to fall. French military artists often used the theme of the vedette in depicting a single soldier and Thompson's treatment of the subject may well have derived from Jean Luis Ernest Meissonier's Vedette au Hussards which was exhibited in 1872 at Gambart's French Gallery in Piccadilly and reproduced in The Graphic, 1872, p. 322.

This lot is an earlier, and slightly larger, version of the picture exhibited at the Dudley Gallery and illustrated in Wilfred Meynell's The Life and Work of Lady Butler.

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