Elizabeth "'Elsie" Ebsworth)
-- American painter
Institute of Chicago
124.5 cm (90
x 49 in.)
lower left: "John S. Sargent"
Wirt D. Walker Collection, 1922.4450
Jpg: local / ArtInstituteofChicago
image to step
Numerous and Fashionable Audience: The Story of Elsie Swinton,"
Posted: Wed, 30 Oct
(1874-1966), nee Ebsworth, was a prominent society lady in Edwardian
who in 1906 took the unusual step (for a person of her social rank in
days) of becoming a professional singer, and in the years up to the
World War she had a successful career despite family opposition. She
also of striking appearance, and there are portraits of her by Sargent,
Sickert and others. In her singing career she worked with well-known
such as Hamilton Harty, Percy Grainger and Gabriel
Faure (who was one of her many admirers). She also kept open house
to many, including Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Szymanowski and Arthur
After the war, opposition from the family and other factors led her to
abandon her career and she turned to good works and exploration of
she actually grew up in St Petersburg, and left vivid accounts of life
in pre-Revolution Russia.
based on unpublished memoirs by Elsie and other members of the family.
It includes an appendix of hitherto unknown lettersto her from Faure.
drawing ("Mug") of Mrs. George Swinton
signed and dated: "To my friend Mrs. Swinton/John S. Sargent 1906"
George Sitwell Campbell Swinton
Thanks to Fred de
a decendent of Mrs. George Swinton and friend
of the JSS Gallery, for sending me the the excerp from "A
Numerous and Fashionable Audience: The Story of Elsie Swinton"
An Exhibition -- Whitney
Museum, NY & The Art Institute of Chicago 1986-1987
From: Fred de
Date: Mon, 28 Oct
Elsie Swinton was
mother, or was it great-great grandmother, anyway the Swinton family
on to many great things, the most recent being my cousin Tilda Swinton,
of her films have been:
Edward II (1992)
Conceiving Ada (1998)
The Beach (2000)
Wed, 30 Oct 2002
me a biography on Elsie a couple of years ago, "A Numerous and
Audience: The Story of Elsie Swinton," by David Greer. It was
Note: Fred sent an excerpt from the book which located above]
From: Sue Collins
email contact see Fred
Date: Fri, 1 November
I've received an
from my son
Fred de Bradeny, saying you would like to know more about Elsie Swinton
[my grandmother]. In brief: she came from an interesting family &
into an even more interesting & talented one. She led an
life & lived till 91, though her last years were rather grim health
wise, I was 21 when she died so remember her very well. I think the
thing you could do if you are really interested in her, is to read her
biography, " A Numerous and Fashionable Audience" by David Greer
1997. . .Tilda is Elsie's great grandchild, & is probably
old enough to remember her.
Also there is a man
who is a very distant Swinton who runs the Swinton Society for Swintons
all over the world, his e.mail is: gary. swin email@example.com
[e-mail all one word] . In
answer to some of your ?'s: The Sargent picture was sold by her &
(George died in 1937 before I was born) in 1922 to Wirt Walker &
it ended up in the The Art Institute in Chicago, I imagine because it
so huge, they had no way of hanging it, when they moved homes. There
also several drawings of her also by Sargent which are reproduced in
Sargent books & occasionally go on exhibition, & I see you have
one on your web site i.e. "To my friend Mrs Swinton".
. . .There
of Elsie by many other artists, sadly all in Museums, she was a great
& at the forefront of London Society. Anyway I hope this
has been helpful.