William Bruce Ellis Ranken (1881-1941)
Scottish born portrait painter
Initialed and dated 'WBER 1933
Jpeg: Wendy Hawksley
From: Wendy & Gordon Hawksley
The lady in the painting is, as we had first thought, an American. Her name (and the painting's title) is Mrs Edwin D Morgan Jr. Her full name is Mrs Elizabeth Winthrop Denison Morgan (nee Elizabeth Winthrop Emmet - known to her Family as 'Lybba' or 'Liba' ). She was born on 17 May 1898. Her Father was Christopher Temple Emmet and her Mother was Alida Beekman Chandler (the youngest of the famous Astor Orphans). She was an artist as well as being a socialite and what was then called a professional beauty (meaning model - she was painted and photographed by everyone of note and generally chronicled by society pages and Vogue, etc. ). Elizabeth came from an amazing family many of whom also had strong artistic talents. In particular, her three Aunts who were prominent artists, they were Jane Erin Emmet (as you know, Wilfrid De Glehn's wife and a close friend of JSS), Lydia Field Emmet and Rosina Emmet. Elizabeth married Edwin Denison Morgan Jr (whose great Grandfather, also known as Edwin Denison Morgan (1811-1883), was once the Govenor of New York) in 1920 and they subsequently had two sons, Edwin Denison Morgan and Temple Emmet Morgan. They had homes in both New York and Wheatley Hills, LI. Elizabeth suffered from ill health throughout her adult life (and possibly her childhood ). Tragically, she died at the age of 36 in 1934 from chronic leukemia.
[Editor's Note -- When the Hawksleys first sent me this image back in July of 2000, the identity of woman was unknown to them]
Trying to establish the name of this
rather enigmatic lady has taken a vast amount of our time. Little did we
know that all along the answer lay in some papers which one of the members
of the Ranken family owned and which have only recently come to light.
These papers had an image of the painting and its title. On first viewing,
we could hardly contain our excitement !
Special thanks to Wendy & Gordon
Hawksley, wonderful friends
of the JSS Gallery, for the image and information.
By: Natasha Wallace
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