Lady Layard (1843–1912)

Image credit: The Trustees of the British Museum

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Lady Layard (1843–1912), wife of the distinguished Assyrian excavator and diplomat Sir Austen Henry Layard (1817–1894), is shown seated on the balcony of ‘Ca Capello’, the Layards’ house in Venice, overlooking the Grand Canal, which they purchased in 1874. Born Enid Guest, daughter of the industrialist Sir Josiah John Guest (1785–1852), she married her much older cousin in 1869. She accompanied her husband during his postings as Ambassador to Spain and later to Constantinople. In 1874 the Layards retired to Venice where, according to the 'Oxford Dictionary of National Biography', they ‘lived in seigneurial style, running an unofficial embassy-cum-gallery… [to which] a stream of political and artist friends came from England and abroad.

British Museum



Lady Layard (1843–1912)




oil on canvas


H 86 x W 62 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Miss Phyllis Layard to the British Museum Friends, 1974, and by them to the British Museum

Work type



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