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Captain George Swinton (1859-1937)

Arms: Sable on a chevron or between three boars’ heads erased argent a crescent gules all within a bordure ermine

SOURCE, NOTES & CREDITS: Source of blazon of arms: No 28, “Pride of Lyons”, Anthony Maxwell, source of colour illustration, same; text Wikipedia articles on him and his wife, Elsie.

Captain George Sitwell Campbell Swinton was born in Edinburgh on 10 May 1859, the second son of Archibald Campbell Swinton of Kimmerghame and Georgiana, daughter of Sir George Sitwell, Bt, 2nd of Renishaw. He served in the British Army from 1878, gazetted to the 71st Highland Light Infantry, retiring as a Captain in 1893, and was an extra Aide-de-Camp to the Marquess of Landsdowne between 1888 and 1894. He served in the national and regional political arena from 1900 until about 1922. And was named March Pursuivant of Arms Extraordinary for a period and then appointed Albany Herald in 1923 and then appointed Lord Lyon in 1927 serving until 1929. He died on 17 Jan 1937.

In 1895, Capt. Swinton married “Elsie” Elizabeth Ebsworth, OBE, daughter of E.H. Ebsworth of Gattonside, who was born in 1874, they had one son and two daughters. Elsie was a fabulously beautiful woman who apparently sang like an angel. The couple enjoyed friends who were artists & musicians and her portrait in oils “Mrs. George Swinton” ( see her image elsewhere in this album) which was painted by John Singer Sargent in 1897, which painting we consider to be one of his best. additionally, he drew a mug shot of her in 1906 to be used to promote her singing career. Imagine, an Edwardian socialite hostess becoming a professional singer..... to say the least this caused a tidal wave of shock at the time in “London Society”, but she persevered and became a successful singer in the period before WW1. After the Great War, her family and friends prevailed on her to “abandon” her career and to limit her activities to good works. The couple sold the Sargent portrait in 1922 because it was so large ( 90” x 49” ) and they had no place to hang it when they moved. Today the painting hangs in the “Art Institute of Chicago”. Although a Brit. She grew up in the Russian Capital of St. Petersburg and has left accounts of her life in pre-revolutionary Russia. Elsie died in 1966. Her great-great ( or maybe great-great-great ) granddaughter is Tilda Swinton the film actress.

Captain George Sitwell Campbell Swinton, was Lord Lyon 1927 to 1929;
He was preceded by Sir James Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon 1890-1927 and
succeeded by Sir Francis James Grant, Lord Lyon 1929-1945

The artwork is a rendering by John Hamilton Gaylor.

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