Lurot Brand is fortunate to possess a unique gallery of portraits of mews houses created over decades by the artist Doris Hope Lurot Betjeman, the mother of founder Antoine Lurot. Painted in a variety of media from ink to oils, the works capture the singular character of London’s mews in their infinite variety.
Doris was born in Paris in 1915, the daughter of a French mother and an English tea merchant called Arthur Betjeman whose brother had a son called John – the future poet laureate. She attended art school at Düsseldorf in 1931 and then went to the world-famous Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris the following year.
In 1937, the Paris gallery of Jean Charpentier held her first solo exhibition. Highly acclaimed by critics and the national press, the exhibition was a sell-out. The following year, she was commissioned by the British Embassy in Paris to execute a portrait of Sir Robert Cahill, ‘Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps’ and Commercial Councillor to the Embassy.
In 1939, she was invited to exhibit three paintings at the Salon des Artistes Français, and was subsequently awarded the prestigious Medaille d’Or by the Société Lorraine des Beaux-Arts for one of her works. During this year, she married and spent her time between Paris and Varengeville in Normandy.
In 1949, she exhibited for a second time at the Salon, where she was again awarded, this time with the Prix de la Savoie, by the Ministère de la Culture. With this honour, she was also bestowed with the permanent position of sociétaire of the Salon.
In 1956, she painted her first portrait of her cousin, the poet John Betjeman, at his home in Wantage. The following year, she was commissioned by the Spanish Royal Family to execute a portrait of Don Jaime of Spain. In 1960, she moved to London with her two children, and continued to undertake prestigious commissions, including a second portrait of Sir John Betjeman, which has since been bequeathed to his old school, Marlborough College. Her portraits, landscapes, still lives and nudes can be found in private collections all over the world.