Sir John Lavery (Irish, 1856–1941) was a well-known artist who belonged to the Glasgow School, the Ulster School, the Irish School, and the British School. His works are greatly admired for his development of the aesthetic value of the sketch, in which each touch of the brush is left undisguised to create a vibrant and atmospheric affect.

Born in Belfast, he was orphaned in infancy and brought up by an uncle near Moira, and, later, another relative in Ayrshire. As a teenager, Lavery was apprenticed to a Glasgow photographer, and during the late 1870s, attended classes at the Haldane Academy. He then trained at Heatherleys in London, and in 1881, settled in Paris, where he studied at the Académie Julian and Atelier Colarossi; during this period, he was influenced by Jules Bastien-Lepage, and painted in the en plein-air and naturalist style.

Lavery then returned to Glasgow in 1885, and became one of the leading members of the Glasgow School. He moved to London in 1896, and helped Whistler found the International Society two years later, where he served as vice president until 1908. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1911, and became a full academician in 1921. He was appointed Official War Artist to the Royal Navy in 1917, and was knighted the following year. Lavery traveled extensively during his career, visiting Morocco, Italy, Spain, Germany, and Holland, and these visits inspired many of his works.

Following the death of his wife, Hazel, in 1935, Lavery traveled to Hollywood, wanting to paint celebrities. With the outbreak of the Second World War, he was obliged to return, and died at Kilmaganny in 1941.