William Gayler was appointed Surveyor of Taxes for Bath in 1881, before becoming Chief Inspector of Stamps and Taxes at Somerset House in 1903. Gayler died in 1907, after reportedly fracturing his skull when he fell at his office in Somerset House.
This portrait was painted in 1883 by the sitter’s wife, Ellen, who exhibited portraits and genre subjects at Bristol Fine Arts Academy and the Royal Academy, London, between 1891 and 1903.
Figure and portrait painter Ellen A. Gayler lived at 3 Brandon Villas in Bristol when she exhibited ‘Love’s Watch Keeping’ at the Royal Academy in 1891. In the following year she showed a further two works at the Bristol Fine Art Academy. By the time she exhibited at the Academy again, in 1895, she had moved to 43 Carlton Hill in northwest London. A single example of her work continued to be included in Academy exhibitions of 1896, 1897, 1902 and 1903. William Gayler, appointed Chief Inspector of Stamps and Taxes in 1903, who was painted by Ellen in 1885, is presumed to have been her husband. He was living at 71 Carlton Hill in 1907, when he died, having reportedly fallen at his office in Somerset House and sustained a fractured skull.
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