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Elizabeth Thompson, 1846-1933, Scotland Forever! c. 1881
Scotland Forever! is an 1881 oil painting by Lady Butler (also known as Elizabeth Thompson), an artist that specialised in painting battle and military scenes. It portrays the charge of the Royal Scots Greys at the battle of Waterloo. It is named after the battle cry of the soldiers, who were shouting "Now, my boys, Scotland forever!” as they attacked the enemy. More than a quarter of them died during the battle, and another quarter were left wounded. This painting is one of the most famous images of that historic battle. It was exhibited at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly the same year it was painted, and donated a few years later to Leeds Art Gallery.
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Elizabeth Thompson, or Lady Butler, (1846-1933) was a well-known artist who produced many paintings portraying battles and military scenes. Unlike many other artists, she commented in 1922 that she did not use paint “for the glory of war, but to portray its pathos and heroism”.
As an artist, she initially focused on religious themes, but when she moved to Paris and was exposed to battles scenes, she shifted her focus to paintings based on war. She quickly became one of the leading artists in this area in Europe, and one of the few women who painted battle scenes.
Some of her most notable paintings such as The 28th Regiment at Quatre Bras, or Scotland Forever! portray battles from the Waterloo campaign and mainly show British soldiers, exhausted, fighting an enemy who is almost never represented in the scene. Even though her most famous work show battles and soldiers, she never actually observed a battle herself, but she watch her husbands’ regiment during training, and paid extremely close attention to the horses and they how the acted when charging. She also had copies of the soldier’s uniforms made in order to be able to paint them with as much detail as possible.
Macclesfield was once the centre of the English silk weaving industry and the world's biggest producer of finished silk. The area has been printing silk for over 300 years and at one point had over seventy mills operating in the town. The town is close to a water supply that passes through limestone, and when used in washing and dyeing it gives silk a uniquely attractive lustre.
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