Sir John Lavery
British/Irish (born in Northern Ireland), 1856–1941
The Countess of Oxford and Asquith, The Wharf, Sutton Courtenay, 1925
oil on canvas
63.8 x 76.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Mrs. Cyril W.A. Chivers in memory of her husband
Born Emma Alice Margaret Tennant, Margot Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith (1864–1945) was the wife of Herbert Henry Asquith, who became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1908–1916). The couple left a large house on Cavendish Square in London to take up official residence at 10 Downing Street during Asquith’s term in office. The Wharf in Sutton Courtenay in Oxfordshire, built in 1912, was the couple’s weekend home, and it was here that the Countess entertained her artist and literary friends, including the painter Sir John Lavery. The Irish-born Lavery was known for his “portrait interiors” of the rich and famous, and through his dealer, Joseph Duveen, he earned a similar reputation with American clients. Lavery had studied in London and Paris before settling in Glasgow (where he was raised), becoming one of the leaders of the Glasgow Boys, a group of young painters identified by their interest in naturalism.