Mrs Elder painted in 1886 by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896).
Isabella Elder (neé Ure) (1828-1905) was the daughter of a Glasgow lawyer. When she was 29 she married John Elder (1824-1869), a partner in Randolph, Elder & Co, marine engineers in Tradeston. The business acquired a shipbuilding yard at Govan in 1860 and in 1868, renamed John Elder & Co, moved to the Fairfield Shipyard. The following year John Elder died and Isabella managed the business until it was acquired by a new partnership composed of her brother J F Ure, the shipbuilder William Pearce and the engineer J L K Jamieson. In 1886 Pearce formed the Fairfield Engineering and Shipbuilding Co Ltd.
Mrs Elder devoted herself to charitable works after managing the transfer of the business. In Govan, for example, she funded the purchase and laying-out of Elder Park and the establishment of the Elder Cottage Hospital. She also supported good causes in Glasgow, endowed two chairs at the University of Glasgow and offered moral and financial support for the development of higher education courses for women at Queen Margaret College.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
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