John Lavery was born in Ireland and moved to Scotland as a child following the death of his parents. He was educated at the Haldane Academy in Glasgow, at Heatherley's School of Art in London, then at the Académie Julian in Paris (in 1881). Influenced by the plein-air style of Jules Bastien-Lepage, Lavery returned to Glasgow in 1885 and became a leading member of the Glasgow Boys (a group committed to naturalism in painting). His commission to paint Queen Victoria's visit to Glasgow in 1888 established him as a portraitist. He moved to London in 1896, became friendly with James McNeill Whistler, and was vice-president of the International Society (founded in 1897). Lavery continued to receive portrait commissions and his marriage to Hazel Martyn Trudeau, the daughter of an American industrialist, ensured his prominence in high society. He travelled widely and exhibited his work in several European countries, where it was more celebrated than in England. Lavery was appointed an Official War Artist in 1917. He was knighted in 1918 and became a Royal Academician three years later. Lavery died in 1941. Lavery's autobiography was published as `The Life of a Painter' (1940). The most recent biography is Kenneth McConkey's `Sir John Lavery: Portrait of an Artist' (Belfast, 1987). An earlier biography was Walter Shaw-Sparrow's `John Lavery and Work' (1911).
From the guide to the Papers of Sir John Lavery (1856-1941), 1886-1977, (Tate Gallery Archive)