A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Born in Belfast in 1856, Lavery was orphaned at three (his father was shipwrecked), raised in County Down, dispatched to a Saltcoats pawn shop, ran away from home at the age of 15 and was homeless in Glasgow for a while before being returned to Salcoats then back to Moira, Co. Down.
Anyone for Tennis ?
The Tennis Party
The painting depicts Cartbank tennis courts in Cathcart in the south of Glasgow and includes fellow Glasgow Boys artists Arthur Melvile, EA Walton and James Guthrie.
“A Rally”, 1885
This is also Cartbank with members of the MacBride family. The artist Alexander MacBride recalled posing with his sister Elizabeth and a cousin also being there.
The Enchanted Glen
Although working in Glasgow, he was living in Paisley, probaby commuting from nearby Potterhill Station which opened in 1886. He stayed in the picturesque grounds of The Glen mansion at the foot of the Gleniffer Braes in what became known as Lavery Cottage, now Glen Park (on Glenfield Road).
Paisley Lawn Tennis Club (South Avenue) 1889
One of the players is Nina Fullerton* of Crossflat House (behind the Grammar School). The illustrious guests included Mrs MacKean the provost’s wife, Mrs Clark and Mrs Coats of the two great Paisley thread families who sat for Lavery along with their daughters.
The owner of The Glen James Fulton asked for portraits of his daughters, Alice and Eva.
Provost Mackean’s connections opened doors for Lavery, including those of Windsor Castle, where he secured a sitting from Queen Victoria in 1889 and the commission below. Such was the power and influence of Victorian Paisley.
Video presentation on ‘The Tennis Party’.
* Nina Fullerton died 13th November 1934 aged 70 years Woodside Cemetery
Thanks to Roddy Boyd for the info about Lavery living in Lavery Cottage.
Contemporary cartoon about fashionable bandanas suddenly turning tennis into blind man’s buff .