Artist Biographies

Mildred Anne Butler RWS 1858 - 1921

Born in 1858, Mildred Anne Butler lived most of her life at the family home, Kilmurry House, near Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. Indeed, Kilmurry was the inspiration for much of her work throughout her career, and its animals, birds and walled flower garden feature in much of her work. In 1885, she visited France, Switzerland and Italy sketching as she travelled and in 1886, studied under Paul Jacob Naftel in London. The Dudley Gallery in London showed her work in 1888 and she began to exhibit with the Watercolour Society of Ireland in 1892. In 1893, her work was included in the book of watercolours given by the Society of Lady Artists to Princess May, later Queen Mary, and Mildred Anne Butler later painted a tiny picture of crows for the Queeen’s dolls house at Windsor. She was regularly represented at the Watercolour Society of Ireland exhibitions and contributed more than 200 works. She exhibited widely including the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1891, and the Belfast Art Society. She was in Paris in 1894, and later travelled with May Guinness to study under Norman Garstin at Newlyn in 1894 and 1895. She exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1896, and in 1897, Lady Cadogan, the Vicereine in Dublin, presented one of her watercolours to the Princess of Wales. Mildred Anne Butler continued to travel regularly in Ireland and abroad, and in 1907, she exhibited at the new Dudley Gallery in London with Percy French, Claude Hayes and Bingham McGuinness. She continued to exhibit widely and lived out her final years at Kilmurry, where she died in 1941. In 1978, much of her private collection came to light on the dispersal of Kilmurry’s contents and this collection became an important touring exhibition, which was sold in Christies in London and at subsequent Christies sales in Belfast and Dublin. Many fine examples of her work are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Ireland, the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art and the Ulster Museum.
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