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Mrs George Gribble
(Norah Royds)
John Singer Sargent -- American painter  
Art Museum of Western Virginia
Oil on canvas 
89 x 46 3/4 in. 
Jpg:  Webshots

Norah Royds (1859-1923) married George James Gribble (of London) on July 27, 1881. Seven years later, when she was about twenty-nine, Sargent painted her. They would have six children: 
    i. Phyllis  
    ii. Norah le Grand  
    iii. Lesley  
    iv. Barbara  
    v. Philip le Grand 1891-  
    vi. Julian Royds, VC 1897-19 
Norah survive, but only physically, the death of two of these children -- Lesley, after  a few years of marrage in what Norah thought was neglect; and then, Julian Royds, her youngest, whom during WWI was thought to have died, gallantly in June of 1918 serving as a Captian, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, but later learned was only wonded, left for dead, captured, to only die five months later, of all things on Armistice Day from Spanish Influenza -- again Norah blamed neglect. The two deaths broke her spirit from which she never recovered. She died four years later. 

From: Nigel Watts 
(wa tt 
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003  

 . . . my mother's grandmother's first cousin was painted by Sargent in 1888 and have found the image on your site.  What a wonderful resource! 

Her name was Norah Royds [which Natasha has since added] (Mrs George Gribble) and there are some biographical details about her on my family history site: [look under "Brereton branch" and then "Norah Gribble" or look here]. [In the future, there might be] a book on the Royds family which I am hoping to write. 

Much of my uncle's information about the Gribbles came from Norah's son Philip Gribble's autobiography "Off the Cuff".  I have a copy somewhere at home which I will see if I can dig out.  I have to confess that I have not 
read it myself but I will see if it contains some more about George Gribble. 

Tue, 8 Jul 2003 

Unfortunately most of my books are currently stacked in boxes in my attic while the house is being restored. I'm sure it's there somewhere and when I find it I will certainly let you know.  Copies do occasionally turn up on the second hand market and are not expensive (eg via  

I think I have now located the portrait.  I believe it is in the Art Museum of West Virginia at a town called Roanoke.  I e-mailed the curator a few weeks ago but have not yet received a reply.  I have just sent another e-mail to their Director of External Affairs. 



PS in my search for Royds portraits [Norah's side of the family] I have even managed to acquire one myself.  A first cousin of Norah's and of my great-grandmother was Mabel Allington Royds who was married to Ernest Lumsden.  Both were art teachers and artists in their own right; Mabel produced woodblock prints in the Japanese manner and Ernest was a very proficient etcher.  His book on the technique of etching is still in print many years after his death.  I found a small ink wash sketch of Mabel by Ernest for sale on the net which I bought and has recently been delivered. 

Special thanks to Nigel Watts, of London, a friend of the JSS Gallery, for giving me a link to the family history.  

By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2004 all rights reserved
Created 2001
Updated 9/3/2004