Lady Butler

Behind some of our most cherished pocket squares is the incredibly talented Lady Butler, a British painter who gained fame for her stunning depictions of military battle scenes. Join us as we take a deeper look into her story and the works we've selected to feature in our pocket square collection.

Elizabeth Thompson, also known as Lady Butler, was born in 1846 in Switzerland. Elizabeth was the daughter of a wealthy British businessman and spent much of her early life travelling Europe with her family.

She began her artistic training in Rome, where she studied under Italian, Rococo painter Andrea Casali. She later moved to Paris to learn from the renowned painter Jean-Jacques Henner, who practised ‘Academic art’ a style which represented a fusion of Romanticism and Neoclassicism. During this time, Elizabeth began to develop her distinctive style, which later would make her one of the most sought-after painters of her time.

A pivotal moment in her development as an artist occurred when she witnessed military manoeuvres in Southampton in 1872 and she began her focus on military subjects.

The Roll Call, 1874. Credit: Royal Collection Trust.

Elizabeth's breakthrough came in 1874 when she exhibited her painting "The Roll Call" at the Royal Academy in London. The painting depicted a dramatic scene from the Crimean War, in which British soldiers are called to muster. The work was an immediate success and brought Elizabeth instant notoriety.

Over the next few years, Elizabeth continued to paint military scenes, focusing on the bravery and heroism of soldiers in battle. Her paintings were highly detailed and meticulously researched, with Elizabeth even visiting battlefields and interviewing soldiers to ensure accuracy.

The Colours, Advance Of The Scots Guards At The Alma, 1899

In 1877, Elizabeth married Lieutenant-General Sir William Butler, which is how she came to be known as Lady Butler. Despite her marriage, Elizabeth continued to paint and exhibit her work, often depicting scenes from the Boer War and other conflicts of the time. 

Elizabeth's work was highly regarded during her lifetime, and she received numerous awards and honours, including being appointed as an official war artist during World War I. Her dedication to accuracy and attention to detail set her apart from her contemporaries and cemented her place in art history. Today, her paintings are still highly sought after by collectors and art enthusiasts alike.

Scotland Forever, 1881


The Rampley & Co. Collection

We selected three key Lady Butler works to feature on our pocket squares and jacket linings, varied in colours and tones they offer a wardrobe of options. Follow the below links to find out more about each individual work.