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The Rayners: Intro  //  Ann  Frances  Louise  Margaret  Nancy  Richard  Rose  Samuel  //  Known Paintings  Sources
Regional pages for Louise Rayner:   Scotland   Northern England   Wales and the west Midlands   South and South West
Eastern England   London and its Region   South Eastern England   Louise Abroad     Town pages:   Chester   Flint   Dudley


Louise exhibited a painting at the Royal Society of British Artists (Suffolk Street) in 1866 titled Roslin Chapel - The last view painted on the spot previous to its restoration. This means she must have been up to the Edinburgh/Roslin area in the Autumn of 1860/Spring of 1861 as the major restoration began in 1861 and was completed with a re-dedication in 1862. Her brother Richard visited Roslin in 1863, and whilst not certain, it's quite likely she went as well. Their sister Margaret was with them in 1877 when they went to Edinburgh and other locations, but was not necessarily on the trip recorded below.

In Richard Rayner's diary for 1877, the year of his and his sister Louise's joint visit to Edinburgh, he makes this record which Andy King has kindly provided:

"September 2nd. After breakfast took the 11 a.m. train to Roslin and was surprised to find the station close to the village, the north end. The village seemed very little altered since '63 a few more cottages built and for the place rather an imposing Hotel at the corner of the road leading to Woodhouselee. We walked down to the Chapel by the road overhung by sycamores on the left and on the right open (except for some fine Scotch firs) to the Pentland Hills. A lodge has been built at the entrance to the Chapel where admission tickets are sold (1/- each). The old seringa is removed and a piece of ground enclosed and turfed at the west end of the Chapel - which looked more beautiful than ever notwithstanding their improvements. Very small inside wonderfully rich. The same man that has been here for 23 years showed us round repeating almost the same words."

Richard would have been 33 at this point, so the inference is that he made an earlier visit to Roslin in 1863 and remembers the man's words from then, not from when the man first started! Seringa is unlikely - he probably means syringa (lilac), and the 1/- (one shilling or 5p) entry fee translates to 4 pounds today.

Roslin itself is a village about 10 miles south of Edinburgh, and despite its small size has at least three spellings of its name. The village's two ancient claims to fame are its repeatedly battered Roslin Castle (used as holiday accommodation today), and its Rosslyn or Roslyn Chapel approved in 1446 (but not commenced until 1456), with its supposed link to the Knights Templar and the legend of the Holy Grail. Its modern claim is its appearance in the novel and film The Da Vinci Code for that same reason.

Louise knew nothing of the latter, but came instead for the highly decorated Apprentice or Prentice Pillar in the Chapel. She painted two views that we know of, and both are shown here. At right we have The Prentice Pillar which demonstrates the craftsmanship applied to its carving (and also Louise's love of challenging detail). It is the third of a row of three pillars, being in the descending rank of Master Pillar, Journeyman Pillar and Apprentice Pillar. These names were applied in late Georgian times. Prior to that, the names were The Earl's Pillar, The Shekinah and the Prince's Pillar. For more on the chapel, including the 'legend' of the naming of the Apprentice Pillar, see Wikipedia's article on Rosslyn Chapel.

For once we see very few people in the scene - just a simple conversation between husband, wife and child, and one of the Chapel staff(?) to give the picture human warmth. And the bright side-light illuminates the figures and gives nice shadows behind the pillars.

Our second painting, kindly supplied by Julia Wright, is simply called Roslin. The white mark at bottom is a flash reflection and we've brightened the colour a little.
  The Prentice Pillar, Roslin

We can see that this picture is from a different period of Louise's work, with far less detail in the columns and elsewhere - and we can also see artistic licence in action. The benches and wall along the right-hand side of the first picture have shortened or disappeared to allow this angle of view. Louise did at least one other painting, Roslin Chapel, an interior oil painting that was listed in Ellen Clayton's book and is therefore before 1877. As Louise was older than Richard, she could have visited previously without him, or on the same 1863 occasion alluded to above. We don't know if we've seen that image yet.

The image at right was sent to us with concerns about publication, so this is a mono version with a stripe added to deter misuse of the image. As it shows work being carried out on the floor of the Chapel, there is a possibility that it is an early image, though this one looks like a watercolour. The title is Apprentice Pillar at Roslyn Chapel. The signature is almost lost, but just creeps in at bottom left of the image. It is not truly readable but has the right shape.


The poor image at right may relate to the pre-Chapel-restoration painting, but we have no proof of that - it could just be another moment witnessed or imagined by Louise. Unfortunately we don't have a title or date for this painting either, though we do know it's by Louise.

DudleyMall pages about Louise:
Louise at Dudley - Front page introduction, Dudley, link to Richard Rayner's work at Dudley.
Louise Rayner - the main biography, listing some of her early paintings
Louise at Chester - where Louise made her home and did some of her best work.
Louise at Flint - her drawings for Henry Taylor's book.

Louise on expedition:

North to South progression, West before East
Louise in Scotland - Edinburgh
Louise in Southern Scotland - Roslin Chapel (we have no other Scottish paintings at present)
Louise in Northern England - York... Selby... Beverley... Durham
Louise in Wales and the west Midlands - Conway... Ludlow... Gloucester
Louise in the South and South West - Oxford... Chippenham... Salisbury
Louise in Eastern England - Lincoln... Derby... Cambridge
Louise in London and its region - Temple Bar, Drury Lane, Holborn, Greenwich, Eton and Windsor
Louise in the South East - Tunbridge Wells, Knole, Herstmonceux, Canterbury, Hastings... more
Louise Abroad - Rheims, Nuremberg, Bruges... and possibly Venice
In preparation: - The Rayners at Windsor

Harry Drummond, January 2015.

Please take note: we claim no art expertise, and in no way do we offer provenance for any paintings. What you see here was compiled out of interest in Louise Rayner's paintings and those by her family, but is based on sometimes very fragmentary evidence. As such, it is inevitable that there will be errors, though we naturally hope to reduce these over time.

We would gratefully receive any information or corrections that will help us to fill the gaps and resolve unproved links - for example confirmation of dates of birth, death, etc., and details of other addresses the family lived at (and roughly when). Images of any of the family's paintings would also be very welcome. Thank you!

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