Sir John Lavery

Edward Arthur Walton, 1860 - 1922. Artist. With his fiancée Helen Law, 1859 – 1945 (Hokusai and the Butterfly) (Dated 1889)

About this artwork

This painting shows Scottish artist Edward Arthur Walton and his fiancée Helen Law dressed up for the Grand Costume Ball, organised by the Glasgow Art Club on 29 November 1889. Walton is dressed as the Japanese printmaker Hokusai, while his fiancée’s costume represents the painter Whistler’s signature in the shape of a butterfly. A photograph taken on the night by James Craig Annan shows a tableau vivant made up of several guests of the ball. It includes Walton as well as the artist of this work, Sir John Lavery, who is dressed as the Dutch painter Rembrandt. Lavery sketched this portrait of Walton and Helen Law on the night and presented it to them as a gift for their engagement, which they had announced earlier that evening.

  • title: Edward Arthur Walton, 1860 - 1922. Artist. With his fiancée Helen Law, 1859 – 1945 (Hokusai and the Butterfly)
  • accession number: PG 2467
  • artist: Sir John LaveryIrish (1856 - 1941)
  • depicted: Edward Arthur Walton
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Glasgow Boys
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: Dated 1889
  • measurements: 61.10 x 45.70 cm (framed: 80.20 x 65.00 x 4.10 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1980
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Sir John Lavery

Sir John Lavery

Lavery rose to prominence as a painter of society portraits and contemporary scenes during the Glasgow International Festival of 1888. His determination to paint led him from his native Ireland to Glasgow where he tinted photographs to finance his art classes. He studied in London and Paris, returning to Glasgow in 1885. Lavery befriended the artists known as the Glasgow Boys, with whom he shared an interest in subjects from modern life. He enjoyed great success after his move to London in 1896, where he combined his talents as a portrait painter with an interest in contemporary events. Lavery was knighted in 1918.