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The Lady in White returns to Bushey

Last Modified April 13, 2022

A stunning portrait by renowned artist, Hubert von Herkomer, has been unveiled at Bushey Museum and Art Gallery.

The Lady in White, one of the most important acquisitions the museum has made, sees the return of the painting to its home in Bushey.

The acquisition is thanks to financial help from the Arts Council England / Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund (PGF), The Art Fund P.G.F. and Friends of Bushey Museum.

The painting depicts Katherine Grant, aged 19, a Bushey resident and daughter of a friend of the artist, who was painted in 1884 by Herkomer in a series of weekday breakfast painting sessions before he went to teach at his Bushey art school.

Councillor Meenal Sachdev, Portfolio Holder for Community, Leisure, Culture and Health, said: “Bushey Museum and Art Gallery specialises in displaying the work of local artist Hubert von Herkomer, so it’s wonderful that such an important and beautiful painting is being displayed in the town it would have been created.

“Thank you to our dedicated volunteers who have made this possible. Their expertise and enthusiasm for art has created an incredible collection for its many visitors. We are fortunate to have an impressive collection in our local community for everyone to enjoy. If you have not visited the museum before I would encourage you to come. The people are so welcoming and knowledgeable about the many items on display.”

John Gerry, Joint Art Curator at Bushey Museum and Art Gallery, said: “We are excited to have acquired the Lady in White for our extensive collection at Bushey Museum and Art Gallery. It is an important piece in telling the story of Herkomer portraits and we are delighted to welcome it back to Bushey. I hope visitors will enjoy it as much as we do and look forward to welcoming visitors to the museum soon.”

The portrait was first exhibited in 1885 at the Royal Academy and was greeted with instant acclaim by critics and public alike. Until this time, Herkomer had mainly received commissions for male portraits and ‘The Lady in White’, as the portrait is often called, is said to be his answer to those who said he could not paint women.

Herkomer took the painting to America, where it received rapturous acclaim in Boston, and exhibited it widely in Europe, winning a gold medal in Vienna. He refused all offers to buy, even from the Kaiser and thereafter commissions for females increased rapidly. Herkomer finally sold the portrait to Miss Grant’s brother-in-law in 1900 and since then it has remained in the family, before coming to auction in December last year.

To find out more about Bushey Museum and Art Gallery, please visit: www.busheymuseum.org or www.hertsmere.gov.uk/BusheyMuseum.

The museum is free to visit and open 11am to 4pm, Thursday to Sunday.

Posted on Wednesday 13th April 2022

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