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The Belgian Refugee

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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Keywords: artists, Belgians, First World War, immigrants, oil paintings, painters, portraits, refugees, Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses, women

The Belgian Refugee by Norah Neilson Gray (1882-1931).

Also known as The Belgian in Exile, this oil painting was completed c 1915 and depicts a man from Liege who fled to Scotland when his country was invaded by Germany during the First World War. The painting is regarded as one of Gray's strongest portraits and was awarded a bronze medal when exhibited in Paris in 1921.

Gray was born in Helensburgh in 1882, the daughter of a Glasgow ship owner. She studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1901 to 1906 and during that period moved to Glasgow with her family. By 1910 she had a studio in Bath Street and exhibited her works regularly in Scotland and Paris, being best known for her portraits of women and children. Gray went to France as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse during the First World War, but continued to paint when off duty. After the war she returned to Glasgow and concentrated on portraiture. She died of cancer in 1931.

Reference: 3348

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums



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