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The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, founded in 1819, is a charity that promotes interest in science, literature and the arts – in the city of Leeds and beyond. We have meetings, lectures, entertainments, publications and visits.

Scarlet & greys to black & white

The art of war in Leeds Art Gallery from Lady Elizabeth Butler to Nevinson’ – with Jane Winfrey

20 Jun 2024

Henry Moore Lecture Theatre, Leeds Art Gallery



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A red-coated cavalry regiment on grey horses charges towards the viewer. The dramatic canvas ‘Scotland Forever’, depicting the Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo, was amongst the first exhibits of the Leeds Art Gallery, opened in 1888.

Artist Lady Elizabeth Butler (1846-1933), who painted this vivid work in 1881, was unusual in various ways. Jane Winfrey will explain Butler’s specialism in military painting, which was her sole focus. With a strong Catholic faith, she never wished to glorify war but to depict the reality. She understood the way horses galloped/cantered before it was proven.

Despite her obvious talent, Butler was not accepted into the elite list of Associates of the Royal Academy.


Since her degree in Archaeology and History at the University of Leeds Jane Winfrey has worked in museums, galleries and auction houses. She was a freelance exhibition curator of shows including ‘Weddings’, ‘Hockney – Bradford to LA’ and ‘Cartwright Hall: a Centenary Exhibition’ at Cartwright Hall, Bradford. Since 2012, she has worked for Bonhams Auctioneers and previously headed the Nineteenth Century Paintings Department at Phillips Auctioneers in London.

When she married and moved back to Leeds, she did the Fine Art MA and graduated in 1993. In the early years of parenthood she freelanced, largely at Cartwright Hall but also buying paintings for clients. She catalogued and curated the opening exhibition of the ‘European Illustration’ collection at Humberside University. Jane also freelanced for The Hart Gallery in London, working in Yorkshire with clients and exhibitions. She has also freelanced with Hilary Diaper, formerly curator at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds.

Jane is currently researching a catalogue raisonné on the sculptor Alfred Drury – inspired by being supervised on her Masters dissertation by Benedict Read (1945-2016), the champion of nineteenth century sculpture.

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