The Maplesdens of Kent:Information about Elizabeth Southerden Thompson
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Elizabeth Southerden Thompson (b. 03 Nov 1846, d. 02 Oct 1933)Elizabeth Southerden Thompson (daughter of Thomas James Thompson and Christiana Jane Weller) was born 03 Nov 1846 in Lausanne, Switzerland, and died 02 Oct 1933 in Gormanston Castle, Co Meath.She married William KGCB PC Ireland ButlerKGCB, PC on 11 Jun 1877.
Notes for Elizabeth Southerden Thompson:
Elizabeth Southerden Butler, nee ThompsonSource:"Lady Butler, Battle Artist 1846-1933" by PaulUsherwood,Senior Lecturer in Art History, Newcastle upon TynePolytechnic & JennySpencer-Smith, Keeper of Fine Art, NationalArmy Museum."Lady Butler,Battle Artist (1846-1933)",published by Alan Sutton, National ArmyMuseum, for exhibitionsheld at the National Army Museum, London 14 May -26 September1987, at the Durham Light Infantry Museum and Arts Centre 10October - 8 November 1987, and at Leeds City Art Gallery 25November - 14February 1988."Elizabeth Southerden Thompson, subsequently Lady Butler, wasthe firstpainter to celebrate the courage and endurance of theordinary Britishsoldier.In the words of her brother-in-law,Wilfred Meynell, a championof her work, 'Lady Butler has donefor the soldier in Art what Mr RudyardKipling has done for himin Literature - she has taken the individual,separated him,seen him close and let the world so see him'."(Obituary'TheTimes' 4October 1933)"Amazon's work this; no doubt about it..." John Ruskin 1875.Her father was Thomas James Thompson (1812-1881), gentleman ofprivatemeans, having inherited from his grandfather whosemoney had been made inWest Indian sugar plantations.(KathleenTillotson ed. "The Letters ofCharles Dickens 1844-46,Vol. IV", Clarendon Press Oxford 1977.ThomasJames Thompsonhad studied at Trinity College, Cambridge and stood 3times forparliament as a Liberal candidate, without success.He had metDickens in1838.)"Thompson took to European travel and thepursuit ofhis own cultural interests. The painter's mother,Christiana Weller (1825- 1910) shared her husband's interestin art.In her youth she hadacquired a reputation as atalented pianist and singer and it was afterone of her pianorecitals that Charles Dickens first introduced hisfriendThompson to her."(Graham Storey and KJ Fielding eds. "The Letters of CharlesDickens1847-49 Vol.V", Clarendon Press Oxford 1981.Dickensdescribed Weller as'...the fair forte piano player ofLiverpool' in a letter of 11 July1847.For a brief period hehad been infatuated with her but after hisfriend's marriage inOctober 1845, his view of her changed.'MrsThompsondisappoints me very much.She is a mere spoiled child, I think,and doesn't turn out half as well as I expected.Matrimony hasimprovedhim, and certainly has not improved her':ibid. p604, 17 August 1846."Elizabeth Thompson was born on 3 November 1846, in Lausanne byLakeGeneva.Her sister, later to achieve considerable fame asthe poet,essayist and critic, Alice Meynell, was born a yearlater.From 1851,the two girls spent much of their childhoodon the Ligurian coast ofItaly, constantly moving from place toplace in pursuit of their father'sinterest in Italianculture."In 1862, at the age of fifteen, ET began taking lessons in oilpaintingfrom W. Standish in London, spending two hours a weekpainting his owncopies of Edwin Landseer's pictures.Shortlyafter she enrolled in theelementary class at the Female Schoolof Art., South Kensington.ETsettled for one year on Isle ofWight.ET was fiercely competitive. When a study by a fellow student,KateGreenaway, who later achieved fame as an illustrator, wasjudged to bethe best in the class she was chagrined.Before her marriage to William Butler the artist customarilysigned herworks with her initials EST or simply ET.Fromabout 1867 to 1880 sheadded the monogram of a capital Ccontaining across within it, a devicewhich symbolised RedCross Society.The 'society' was a group formed bythe artistand a few of her fellow students at the South KensingtonSchoolof Art.ET's marriage to Major William Butler of the 69th Regiment(SouthLincolnshire Foot, subsequently after 1880 the WelshRegiment) on 11 June1877 was widely regarded as being a goodmatch.John Ruskin wrote toButler to congratulate him, 'I amprofoundly thankful for the blessing ofpower that is nowunited in your wife and you.What may you not do forEngland,the two of you'.William Francis Butler (1838 - 1910), a Catholic Irishman fromanimpoverished family, had made his way in the army entirelythrough forceof personality, intelligence and a readiness foractive service anywherein the world.By 1977 he had alreadyserved in Burma, India, Canada andWest Africa.He was also agifted and prolific writer who, by this time,had publishedaccounts of his experiences in Canada in "The Great LoneLand"and "The Wild North Land", and during the Ashanti War of 1873 inAkimFoo, "The Story of a Failure", as well as a history of hisownregiment.EB had to reconcile life as army officer's wife and motherbringing upfive children. (Patrick eldest b.1880, join RoyalIrish Regiment 1902,and served in Great War;Eileen,Elizabeth (family name 'Coos');Martinyoungest.The Boer War followed a crisis in husband's career.In October1898he was appointed Commander-in-Chief, South Africa withlocal rank ofLieutenant General.He was Acting Governor ofthe Cape Colony and HighCommissioner of South Africa duringthe temporary absence of Sir AlfredMilner.In October 1905,at the age of 67, Sir William was placed on theRetired List,and with his wife and youngest child, moved to BanshaCastle,Co.Tipperary, to spend his remaining years near his birthplace.In June 1906 he was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order oftheBath and, three years later he became a member of the PrivyCouncil inIreland.He died on 7 June, 1910.After the marriage of her daughter Eileen, in the autumn of1911, LadyButler remained at Bansha alone.In 1922 when thehouse was sequesteredby the Republicans she move to live withher younger daughter Eileen,Viscountess Gormanston atGormanston Castle in Co. Meath. EB died atGormanston Castle on2 October 1933 and was buried at the nearby villageofStamullenReferences:1. June Badeni 'The Slender Tree,A Life of Alice Meynell',Tabb House,Padstow 19812. Viola Meynell Alice Meynell. 'A Memoir'Jonathan Cape,London 19293. Elizabeth Butler 'Letters from the Holy Land' 19034. Elizabeth Butler 'From Sketch Book and Diary' 19095. Elizabeth Butler 'An Autobiography' Constable & Co.Ltd London19226. Edward McCourt 'Remember Butler, The Story of Sir WilliamButler'Routledge and Kegan Paul, London 1967.1881 Census (RG11/2199, f.88, p.8) :3 Ellott Terrace, Plymouth (St Andrew)Elizabeth Butler, head, M, 34, F, Painter (artist), b.Switzerland(British Subject)Patrick R, Butler, son, 4m, b. Plymouth DEVElizabeth F. Butler, dau, 1, b. MDX[Plus 5 servants]
More About Elizabeth Southerden Thompson:
Burial: Unknown, Stamullen, Co Meath.
Record Change: 08 Feb 2003
More About Elizabeth Southerden Thompson and William KGCB PC Ireland ButlerKGCB, PC:
Marriage: 11 Jun 1877
Children of Elizabeth Southerden Thompson and William KGCB PC Ireland ButlerKGCB, PC are:
- Eileen Butler, d. date unknown.
- Martin Butler, d. date unknown.
- Elizabeth 'Coos' Butler, b. 1880, Middlesex [1881 Census], d. date unknown.
- Patrick R. Butler, b. Dec 1880, Plymouth DEV [1881 Census], d. date unknown.