Louisa Harriet Luker 1873-1970
Phyllis Bentley, the writer, and Louie
The Herkomer scholarship was only for tuition. Louie had to support herself and she knew that she could expect no help from her parents. They were hurt and resentful that she should want to give up her good job at the High School and the salary they so badly needed and she had to stay out the term and find the money before she could get away.
When she wrote to Amy's headmistress asking her to engage her as an art teacher until she could save enough to pay for the first term's board and lodging at Bushey and a helpful reply came. She left for
. She found the new life liberating. She taught in the school and painted portraits of the local people. Miniatures were still a popular art format which she excelled and it was here that she painted the first of the hundreds of little gems, which for the next thirty years she scattered about the world. Quick, cheap and transfiguring they were always sure money makers everywhere. Truro
Harry Bates RA, Sculptor - Friend of the family and in love with Louie
It was here, too, that she began the friendship with the headmistress whom Amy so adored and which, ultimately, ended so unhappily. Miss Morison was a strong personality with a magnetic charm which, to a lesser extent also affected Louie. But she soon left for Bushey, evading it.
Pandora's Box by Harry Bates - Exhibited at the
Louie posing for Harry Bates
Sir Hubert Von Herkomer was born in
Waalnear . His gradfather was a master mason and his father, Lorenz, a carver. There were so many carvers in Bavariathen that her could not make a living and in 1851 the family emigrated to Landsberg-am-Lech, Bavaria where his mother, Josephine, supported the family by giving music lessons. In 1857 they returned to America Europeand settled in Southamptonwhere Jospehine continued her music lessons and Lorenz did menial jobs such as picture framing. In 1883, Hubert opened his art school in Bushey in Hertfordshire where he succeeded as a painter and art teacher and, in 1907, was knighted by King Edward VII.
Sir Hubert Von Herkomer, RA. 1849-1914
Louie enrolled in 1900. She said that Herkomer never taught her anything but he gave her confidence in herself and she loved the student life.
By this time, he was less interested in the school than in his theatrical work and public expositions and she took part in all the performances and painted one of the 7ft transparencies of the Kings of England, displayed in Bushey village during the period of the coronation of King Edward VII. Her picture was of Edward I.
There are lots of stories about her Bushey life. Her little dog, Lulu (not allowed in the studios) who used to hide under her skirt when she heard Herkomer's footstep. The bugs in the second-hand mattress which Louie hatched out during the night, and the landlady's scream, "You've brought them with you!
Herkomer Schools Coronation Transparencies - Louie's Edward I Middle row right
Louie third from right
Herkomer's school work
Every Saturday morning the village people queued up for work as models for the following week - at 6d an hour. They posed nude for the life class or, for their portraits, when Louie always worked in ivory.
Herkomer - self portrait
In good weather he took the students into the woods to draw trees. Every year she sent her work to the
and every year she won the "Enamel", given for the most outstanding work. In the vacations she painted the portrait miniatures which supported her during term-time. Royal Academy
One day, while she was having lunch in her lodging, there was a knock at the door and an old gentleman was shown into the room. He was very tall with a proud handsome face, wild white hair and a piece of crimson taffeta thrown carelessly round his neck which, he explained later was a piece of his wife's petticoat that he had purloined and cut up for its colour. He had seen Louie's miniatures in the Academy that year and had come to be painted. Taking a packet of sandwiches out of his pocket, he sat down with her for lunch. He was Lord North.
A model. Exhibited RA 1902
A Model. Exhibited RA 1903
He lodged in the village and when she had done the work he showed it to all his friends. It was he who launched her as a painter of the Royal Family and aristocracy. They raved about her work. She went to their great town houses and when she left Bushey in 1904, she could have made a great career if a new rival passion had not arisen. She wanted marriage and children. The pattern was repeated. She seemed to have a vision of the man that she must marry and she went to
Africato find him. After the Boer War, many Englishmen had stayed out there to take up the opportunities in farming and mining.
"I wish to testify that Miss Louise H Luker has been one of my most successful pupils, and I can in every way recommend her for portrait work, either in oils or in miniature.
22nd February 1904."
Old Sales. A model regularly employed
Previous Page Home Page Next Page