Dame Ethel Walker

The Hon. Mrs Adams


Not on display

Dame Ethel Walker 1861–1951
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 902 × 743 mm
frame: 1076 × 922 × 75 mm
Purchased 1938

Display caption

Walker was a self-motivated and unusually confident figure on the British scene at the turn-of-the-century. Her range of subject matter was considerable, including landscapes and imaginative decorative compositions, but she was best known for her portraits and still-lifes.

The restricted palette that Walker uses here, in what she herself called ‘rather a marvellous portrait’, does not subdue her energetic vision. The sitter - the daughter of the Lord Chief Justice - brims with life. Mrs Adams' animated expression, the free brushwork and enjoyment of paint make this canvas typical of Walker's portraiture.

Gallery label, February 2010

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Catalogue entry

N04944 THE HON. MRS ADAMS c. 1901

Not inscribed.

Canvas, 35 1/2×29 1/4 (90×74).
Purchased from the artist (Knapping and Clarke Funds) 1938.
Exh: N.E.A.C., summer 1918 (74).

The portrait dates from about 1901 and the sitter is Mildred, youngest child and only daughter of Sir John Duke, 1st Baron Coleridge (1820–94), Lord Chief Justice of England, and his first wife, Lady Jane Fortescue (née Seymour, died 1878). Mildred married Charles Warren Adams.

Another portrait, ‘The late Hon. Mrs Adams, daughter of the late Lord Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice of England’, was exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1944 (351). This is almost certainly the same painting later shown at Agnew's in November–December 1947 (45) and included in the Tate Gallery Memorial Exhibition of May–June 1952 (4), canvas, 35×27 in., lent by the artist's executors. This other portrait shows her reading.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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