1938 - ?

'Tory' Lawrence

As Victoria Mary Dennistoun, and known as Tory, she was born at Chelsea, London on 2 April and baptised at Christ Church, Down Street, Mayfair on 21 June 1938, she has sometimes given her year of birth as 1940, daughter of John (Ginger) Dennistoun, a racehorse trainer, and his wife Nancy Mary née Court (7 April 1909-1990), who married at Christ Church, Down Street, Mayfair on 13 March 1937. Educated at East Haddon Hall School, Northamptonshire and studied painting and printmaking at Morley College, Westminster. A secretary to Sir John Betjeman when she married at City London in 1959, John Geoffrey Tristram Lawrence, (1929-2012), OBE, who from 1971, succeeded as 4th Baron Trevethin and 2nd Baron Oaksey. The couple had two children, Patrick John Tristram Lawrence QC, 5th Baron Trevethin and 3rd Baron Oaksey (born 1960) and Sara, a former jockey who married the trainer Mark Bradstock. The couple split in a public fashion about 1983 when Victoria started a relationship with artist Maggi Hambling [q.v.] who also had an affair with Henrietta Moraes. Victoria spent her childhood in the downland of Wessex, which for many years was used as her subject matter but only took up painting in 1980. Since moving to Suffolk she discovered a very different, more gentle sense of place beneath the clear light of the famous sky. Exploring the landscape around Dedham and Flatford Mill, where Constable was inspired in the nineteenth century, to find whether her compositions were still recognisable. A National Trust guide took her around the well known views on which Constable based many of his paintings. People do not seem to intrude and the water meadows, through which the path to Dedham runs, are tranquil and timeless and where black and white cows graze peacefully. The Victorian planting of willow trees obscure the original view of Dedham Church, but it can be seen in the distance and this richly historic landscape that has inspired her new watercolours. She has her studio at White House, Rendham, Suffolk and her solo exhibitions include Montpelier Sandelson, Charleston, Sussex; Newbury Spring Festival; James Colman Fine Art and Thomas Williams Fine Art New Bond Street, London. Her work has also been shown at Contemporary Art Society, the Hunting Art Prize, and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions. She has several awards including winner of the Spink Prize for Painting in 1996 and 1998 and Gainsborough’s House Museum Drawing Prize in 2002.

Works by This Artist