Beatrice Elvery

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Beatrice Moss Elvery
William Orpen Bridgit.JPG
Portrait of Beatrice Elvery by William Orpen (1909)
Alma mater
Spouse(s)Charles Campbell, 2nd Baron Glenavy

Beatrice Moss Elvery, RHA (1883, Dublin – 1970, Rockall, Sandycove) was a painter, Irish stained-glass artist and sculptor.[1]

Early life[edit]

Beatrice Moss Elvery was born in 1883, the second daughter of the Dublin businessman, William Elvery, whose family had originated from Spain where they were silk merchants. Her family owned the original Elverys Sports store in Wicklow Street, Dublin. Beatrice's mother, Theresa Moss, had attended the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art along with her sister, Annie Moss. Following in their mother's footsteps, Beatrice and her sister, Dorothy Elvery attended the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art (now the National College of Art and Design) where William Orpen (1878–1931) taught painting and later used Beatrice as a model.[2] Of his pupil, Orpen wrote that she had "many gifts, much temperament and great ability. Her only fault was that the transmission of her thoughts from her brain to paper or canvas, clay or stained glass became so easy to her that all was said in a few hours. Nothing on earth could make her go on and try to improve on her first translation of her thought."[3] She remained a friend and correspondent of Orpen until shortly before his death in 1931. As a student at the Dublin Metropolitan School, Elvery won numerous prizes, including the Taylor Scholarship in 1901, 1902 and 1903. She is only one of three students to win the scholarship three years in succession.


When Sarah Purser founded her studio An Túr Gloine (The Tower of Glass) in 1903, she invited Beatrice Elvery to be one of the designers.[4] Her first commission of six windows was installed in the Convent of Mercy chapel, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh in 1905. Christ among the Doctors, 1907, is at St Stephen's Church, Mount Street, Dublin; and St Nicholas's Church, Carrickfergus, a three-light, Good Samaritan; and The Prodigal Son. Some of her sketch designs in ink and watercolour are held in the National Gallery of Ireland.[5]

Elvery's Éire (1907) was a landmark painting promoting the idea of an independent Irish state.[6] She also produced numerous illustrations for children's books. Elvery was appointed an associate member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 1932 and a full member in 1934. Her paintings were described by Albert Power as '...romantic , absurd, theatrical and exhilarating...'.[5]

Beatrice married Charles Campbell, 2nd Baron Glenavy in 1912 and they settled in London, returning to Ireland at the end of the war when she then concentrated on painting. She had three children Patrick, Bridget (known as Biddy) and Michael. Bridget was killed by a fire bomb in the Blitz.

In London, the circle in which they lived was frequented by literary and artistic personalities. The couples literary circle included Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, and D.H. Lawrence, Middleton Murray and Katherine Mansfield. The latter described Beatrice in one of her letters as 'a queer mixture for she is loving and affectionate, and yet she is malicious'.[5] Elvery was also a friend and correspondent of the short story writer Katherine Mansfield. Her portrait of Mansfield in Elvery's garden is in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.[7]


  1. ^ "Miss Beatrice Elvery". Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland 1851-1951. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  2. ^ Gordon Bowe, Nicola (1995). "The Art of Beatrice Elvery, Lady Glenavy (1883-1970)" (PDF). Irish Arts Review. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  3. ^ Rice, Jean. "Fine Artisan Beatrice (Elvery) Glenavy -- Clarke, Orpen, Purser, Campbell". IrelandGenWeb-L Archives. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Elvery, Beatrice (Lady Glenavy)". Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720-1940. Irish Architectural Archive. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Theo Snoddy (1996). Dictionary of Irish Artists 20th Century. Wolfhound Press. p. 143. ISBN 0-86327-562-1.
  6. ^ [1] Echoes of The Belle Epoque. When Time Began to Rant and Rage: Figurative Painting from Twentieth-Century Ireland. NYU. Retrieved. Jan. 31, 2008.
  7. ^ [2]Katherine Mansfield and S.S. Koteliansky in the garden, 1920 by Beatrice Campbell, oil on canvas

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