William Bruce Ellis Ranken was born in Edinburgh in 1881 and studied at the Slade School of Art in London under Henry Tonks. Through his contact and friendship with the American painter, John Singer Sargent based in London at the time, Ranken received commissions from eminent American families, including the Whitneys and the Vanderbilts. He exhibited in Boston, New York and London, and was a member of the National Portrait Society and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. Due to his success in America in the early 1920s, Ranken was able to purchase Warbrook House, a grand 18th-century house in Hampshire, where he lived the mid 1930s. After his death in 1941, a retrospective exhibition was held in New York.
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