Born in Dublin, Ireland, Lily studied in Paris and lived in Carbis Bay and St Ives. She suffered frequently from ill health and lived with a sister, who looked after her 'like a mother hen' (Havelock Ellis, in My Life). The sisters had independent means, and did not rely on their work for their living. The Census of 1901 names her accompanying sister as Isabella, when they were staying with relatives in Edgbaston, Birmingham. 

An exact relationship to the artists Ida and Ethel KIRKPATRICK, who visited St Ives in the 1890s, is as yet unproven, though the latter are not sisters of Lily. [This is an update on Tovey 2009]. The name given to their cottage on Talland Road shows there is a family link to Ida and Ethel, however, as other members of their wider family have traditionally employed this title for their homes.

Lily was an active member of the St Ives Artists Club and a talented pianist.  She was a good friend and love-partner of the writer Edith Ellis (Mrs Havelock Ellis), and their relationship is referenced in HE's autobiography in some detail. 

The sisters took a lease from Thomas Millie DOW on a property on Talland Road which they called 'Closeburn' (a reference to an original family seat, Closeburn Castle, of the Kirkpatricks in Scotland) and is now called 'The Cottage'.  That lease was effective from 1893 through to 1906, (Tovey, p42) when Isabella ceased being the ratepayer.  Rock Studio at The Warren was used for Lily's working purposes.  She exhibited at her first Show Day in 1895, with an oil painting An Old Score.

Tovey in his social history of the St Ives arts colony (2009), The Artists and the Community 1860-1930, includes a b&w plate of Lily's painting, The Duet (1899) (p63), and a lovely photograph of her taken shortly before her death from Bright's Disease in 1902 (p97).


Painter, primarily of figures

works and access

Works include: The Duet (1899); A Quiet Hour (1897); Mother and Child (1898); Girl with Violin (1902); Mother and Child (1902)


St Ives Show Day, 1895

Birmingham (8)

Walker Gallery, Liverpool (3)

Manchester (1)

RA (3) 1897-98

RHA (8)

Whitechapel (2) 1902


STIAC 1898


Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (p333)

Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists

Havelock Ellis (1940) My Life

Tovey (2009) St Ives: Artists and the Community/A Social History

Whitechapel Exhibition catalogue (repr Hardie 2009)

Whybrow (1994) St Ives

Wood (1995) Victorian Painters

Year's Art 1902