Lady Rowallan’s father, John Polson of Paisley and Castle Levan, discovered and patented a method for producing corn flour, transforming the fortunes of his father’s muslin manufacturing plant in Paisley. William Ewart Lockhart was a family friend of the Polsons, and painted John Polson’s portrait in 1893. In 1887 Mary Alice Polson married Archibald Corbett, then the Liberal Unionist MP for Glasgow Tradeston. The pair purchased the Rowallan Estate in Ayrshire in 1901, donating their previous home at Rouken Glen as a public park to the citizens of Glasgow. Upon his retirement from the House of Commons in 1911, Corbett was granted the Barony of Rowallan, becoming 1st Baron Rowallan.
Lockhart studied at the Royal Scottish Academy
from the age of thirteen in 1860, and by 1861 he was submitting work to its Annual Exhibition. He exhibited annually at the RSA for the remainder of his life, with the exception of 1864 when he went to Australia to improve his health, and 1889/90, when completing a royal commission celebrating the 1887 Jubilee. Lockhart is most renowned for his commissioned portraits, though he also painted scenes of Spanish life following several visits to the country.
British Portraits. Exhibiiton Catalogue. London: The Fine Art Society, 2018. No. 9. Online version. Web. 21 October 2014.
Lord K.T. Rowallan. Rowallan: the Autobiography of Lord Rowallan. Toronto: Dundern Press, 1976.
Savage, Peter. Lorimer and the Edinburgh Craft Designers. London: Steve Savage Publishers.