Lady Elizabeth Butler (British, 1846–1933), Balaclava, 1876. Oil on canvas, 40 5/8 x 73 5/8 in. Manchester Art Gallery. Gift from Robert Whitehead, 1898, 1898.13. Courtesy American Federation of Arts

Lady Elizabeth Butler was one of the few women artists in the nineteenth century to specialize in history painting. She began her studies at the South Kensington Art School, but became frustrated by the restricted access to models. In 1869 she traveled to Florence, enrolling in the Accademia di Belle Arti. She frequently traveled to Paris, where she became familiar with military painting. She made battle scenes the focus of her paintings, undertaking extensive research into historical accounts and even purchasing soldiers’ uniforms and equipment.

Lady Elizabeth Butler

British, 1846–1933

London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company, Miss Elizabeth Thompson, 1874. Carte de visite. The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography