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


Coutts Lindsay

Title: Sir Coutts Lindsay of Balcarres
Birthname: Lindsay
Nationality: British
Date of birth: 2 February 1824
Place of birth: London
Date of death: 7 May 1913
Place of death: Kingston upon Thames
Category: gallery founder, artist


Sir Coutts Lindsay of Balcarres, 2nd Baronet, artist, collector and gallery director, was the eldest son of Lieutenant-General Sir James Lindsay, and Anne, daughter of Sir Coutts Trotter, 1st Baronet, a principal partner in Coutt's Bank.

In 1864 he married Caroline Blanche Fitzroy, daughter of Rt Hon H. Fitzroy, MP. In 1881 the census recorded the family as living in Cromwell Place, Kensington: Sir Coutts, then aged 57, his wife Blanche (36), daughters Effie (15) and Helen (12), twelve servants and a governess. Sir Coutts and Blanche Lindsay parted in the following year, 1882.


Together with his wife Blanche Fitzroy, Coutts Lindsay founded the Grosvenor Gallery, which became a celebrated alternative exhibition venue to the Royal Academy and focus of the Aesthetic Movement between 1877 and 1890. It was at the inaugural exhibition on 1 May 1877 that Whistler exhibited Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket y170, which John Ruskin attacked in Fors Clavigera, prompting Whistler to sue for libel. Whistler always tried to maintain a good relationship with Lindsay, who was extremely important to his career during this period, providing a sympathetic venue for his works to be displayed.

However, after Lindsay's separation from his wife, the Grosvenor Gallery declined and it closed in 1890.

Lindsay's studio was at 4-5 Cromwell Place (built 1859), and was also used by Archibald Stuart-Wortley. In about 1892 Sir J. D. Linton ran a school there.


UK census 1881, website. Walkley, Giles, Artists' houses in London 1764-1914, Aldershot, 1994 ; Casteras, Susan P., and Colleen Denney, The Grosvenor Gallery: A Palace of Art in Victorian England, New Haven, 1996 The Annual Register 1913, p. 95; Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, on-line edition.