From 1887-1890, railroad tycoon and founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer’s wife and daughters, Mary Lincoln Mellen ‘Queen’ Palmer and Marjory, Elsie, and Dorothy, were residents of Ightham Mote, a moated English manor house built around 1320. An engaging hostess, ‘Queen’ welcomed some of the most highly regarded figures of the day to the manor, including artist John Singer Sargent, actress Ellen Terry, and author Henry James, making it an intellectual hub for the elite of the Aesthetic Movement. Late in the Palmer’s tenure at the manor, Sargent painted the stunning portrait of a then 17-year-old Elsie (A Lady in White), one of the most celebrated objects in the Fine Arts Center Collection and one that has been on loan to the National Trust/Ightham Mote since early 2017. To fete the return of our beloved Miss Elsie Palmer, the Fine Arts Center has organized an exhibition that represents Elsie’s domestic life and surroundings both in Colorado Springs and in England. From letters and photographs to furniture, paintings, and antique ephemera, we can capture a rare glimpse of what life may have been like for the Palmer family during the late-19th and early 20th centuries. P.S. I Love You: A Portrait of Miss Elsie Palmer is made possible thanks to our generous collaborators: The National Trust/Ightham Mote, The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and The Navigators/Glen Eyrie.
Image above: John Singer Sargent, Portrait Of Miss Elsie Palmer, or A Lady In White, 1989-1890 (detail)