John Roger Burrow Gregory was elected a Governor of the Foundling Hospital in 1892. He served as the Hospital’s Treasurer between 1914 and his death in 1938. He was the son of George Burrow Gregory, MP for East Sussex, who had himself been Treasurer of the Hospital between 1857 and 1892. Roger Gregory was born in the Treasurer’s House in the Hospital grounds in 1861. In his professional life he was a senior partner in the family firm Gregory, Rowcliffe & Co. and was President of the Law Society between 1930 and 1931. His role as Treasurer and his legal expertise meant that he was instrumental in arranging the Foundling Hospital’s move from London to Berkhamsted between 1926 and 1935. From the early 1900s he resided in a cottage that had belonged to his grandfather in the village of Shoreham, Kent. His daughter Phoebe Plant was subsequently elected a Governor of the Foundling Hospital, one of the few women to occupy this position in the Hospital’s history.
Gerald Festus Kelly was born in London of Irish descent. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge University where he befriended Aleister Crowley who would later marry Kelly’s sister Rose. Kelly studied art in Paris where he met Monet, Degas, Rodin, Renoir, Cézanne and Sickert among others. The art he encountered in his Paris days would have a profound influence on his own style. By 1934 when he began work on this painting he had become a fashionable portrait artist and was much in demand. In 1938 he was commissioned to undertake state portraits of George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In 1949 he was elected President of the Royal Academy. In 'Old Friends' (1956) the art critic Clive Bell described Kelly as the ‘best president the Royal Academy has given itself since Joshua Reynolds.'
Where to see this painting?
The Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Square, London, Greater London, England, WC1N 1AZ
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.
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