Lady Hazel Martyn Lavery (Lady Lavery)

Lady Hazel Martyn Lavery

Hazel Martyn was the daughter of a Chicago industrialist of Irish descent. In 1904, she was on holiday in Brittany, where she met John Lavery (q.v.), thirty years her senior, who had been a widower since 1891. Hazel was engaged to a Canadian doctor, who died shortly after their marriage; and, in 1910, she married John, becoming Lady Lavery in 1918 when he received his knighthood. Apart from her own paintings, she is noted for two facts. Firstly, in 1922, the Laverys lent their house at 5 Cromwell Place in South Kensington to Michael Collins and the Irish delegation in the negotiations which led to the founding of the Free State, and the new Dublin Government arranged for Sir John to paint his wife as the legendary heroine Cathleen ni Houlihan. Until well into the 1970’s, this picture was used on the Irish pound note, and remained as the watermark until 2002, when the Republic joined the European Single Currency. Secondly, Lady Lavery was responsible for Churchill taking up painting. After the failure of the Dardanelles Campaign in May 1915, Sir Winston resigned from the Admiralty and had plenty of time on his hands, and purchased some oil paints, an easel and a canvas, but was uncertain of beginning this new hobby. By chance, “the gifted wife of Sir John Lavery” chose this moment to visit Churchill. ‘”What are you hesitating about? Let me have a brush, the big one”. Several large, fierce strokes and slashes on the absolutely cowering canvas. Anyone could see that it could not hit back. The spell was broken. The sickly inhibitions rolled away. I seized the largest brush and fell upon my victim with berserk fury. I have never felt in awe of any canvas since.” (From the essay, “Painting as a Pastime”, found in Churchill’s book, “Thoughts and Adventures”.)    (bio by: Iain MacFarlaine)  Family links:  Spouse:  John Lavery (1856 – 1941)* *Calculated relationship


  • March, 14, 1880
  • USA


  • January, 01, 1935
  • England


  • Putney Vale Cemetery and Crematorium
  • England

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