Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow


Cyril Flower

Title: Lord Battersea
Nationality: English
Date of birth: 1843
Date of death: 28 November 1907
Category: collector


Cyril Flower, barrister and collector. He was the eldest son of Mary and Philip William Flower of Furzedown, Streatham, who had emigrated to Australia in the 1830s and established a successful merchant trading house in Sydney. He married Constance de Rothschild, eldest daughter of Sir Anthony de Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild, in December 1877. He became 1st Baron Battersea in 1892.


Educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, Flower was called to the bar in 1870 after reading law with Sir John Day. He was a Liberal MP from 1880 to 1892 and Lord of the Treasury under Gladstone, who made him the first Baron Battersea in 1892.

Flower was a friend of the Pre-Raphaelites, and owned work by Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Sandys, Gilbert and Storey. His patronage of Whistler spanned several decades, buying oils (Caprice in Purple and Gold: The Golden Screen y060, Variations in Pink and Grey: Chelsea y105 and Note in Red and Violet: Nets y269) and pastels (Corte del Paradiso m0784 and The Red Doorway m0795).

His taste was for Aesthetic movement and Old Master painters. Flower was elected a member of the Burlington Fine Art Club on 12 February 1867. His wife's cousin, Blanche Fitzroy, founded the Grosvenor Gallery with her husband Sir Coutts Lindsay.


Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, London; Macleod, Dianne Sachko, Art and the Victorian Middle Class: Money and the Making of Cultural Identity, Cambridge, 1996 , pp. 414-15.