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Lady Elizabeth Butler (1846 - 1933)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

British painter, specializing in the realistic depiction of scenes from British military campaigns and battles, including the Crimean War and the Battle of Waterloo. Among her best-known works are The Defence of Rorke’s Drift, January 22nd, 1879 (exh. RA, 1880; Royal Collection), Scotland For Ever!, (1881; Leeds City Art Gallery), and Calling the Roll After an Engagement, Crimea, (exh. RA, 1874; Royal Collection). The latter work, better known as The Roll Call was a huge success when exhibited at the 1874 annual exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, requiring a policeman to be posted by the painting to protect it from the crowds.

In 1879 Butler came within two votes of becoming the first woman elected as an Associate Member of the Royal Academy, the nearest any woman came to being elected to the Academy in the nineteenth century. (Ultimately the first Associate Member was Annie Swynnerton, elected in 1922 – the first female Member since the two Foundation Members, Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffman.The first full Member was Laura Knight in 1936).


Born: 3 November 1846 in Villa Claremont, Lausanne, Switzerland

Died: 2 October 1933

Gender: Female

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