Sarah A.E. Shrubsole 1823–1914

Pictured: The Shrubsole Memorial (1882) by Francis John Williamson (1833-1920)

Carrara marble on a Cornish granite pedestal with basin, inscription, and portrait medallion. Market Place, Kingston-upon-Thames, London.

From website of Somerset & Wood Fine Art Company:

“Sarah Alicia Eliza Shrubsole (1823–1914) married into the wealthy banking family of Shrubsole & Co (c.1792–1894). She and her husband John (1822–1874) lived at Surbiton Hall mansion house in Kingston upon Thames. Sarah outlived her husband by some forty years, during which time it is said she was frequently visited at Surbiton Hall by King George V, Queen Mary and the Pre-Raphaelite painters. One of her paintings she exhibited was accepted by the Duchess of Albany.

Through an impressionistic painting style she transforms landscape subjects into visions of spiritual transcendence. Many of the views depicted are sublime (including Romantic subjects painted by J.M.W. Turner): mountain passes, vertiginous precipices and vast lakes, dominated by the immensity of the natural elements. Although many of the views are abstracted through mist and low light, most are landscapes observed by the artist from life—either locally in Surrey or as memories of her travels.

Sarah Shrubsole had a rich appreciation of literature, accompanying all the paintings with an associated poetic extract. The pictures were accompanied by a scrap album compiled by her, which evidences her involvement in local theatre and fundraising, through which she received royal invitations from the Prince and Princess of Wales, and collected signatures from the likes of comic actors George Grossmith (1847–1912) and John Parry (1810–1879).”

Frank Lynwood includes in his Oral Traditions in Surbiton Park:

The Tram Route: tramway was routed via Surbiton Crescent as a result of pressure from the occupant of Surbiton Hall.”

This could very well be true. Mrs Shrubsole was a member of a prominent family in Kingston, one of whom, Henry – an older brother of John – served as mayor three times. No doubt she had the ear of councillors. Examination of the 50in. map shows that the tramway company would have preferred to take the route via the gentler turn into Maple Road and the very gentle turn into Claremont Road. However, Mrs Shrubsole would not have wanted to have clanking, screeching trams passing in front of her home every few minutes.”


“Henry Shrubsole (1816-1880) came from a family of undertakers & drapers who developed their business into banking.   After mergers from 1894 the Shrubsole bank became part of the National Westminster Group.  Henry was a Parliamentary Agent & Banker and in February 1879 was appointed as a County Magistrate.  He was also three times Mayor of Kingston upon Thames, Surrey – in 1877, 1878 & 1879.  He died in January 1880 suddenly, whilst presiding at the annual dinner given by the towns-people for the poor….he had just finished addressing the meeting & was in the act of presenting a small packet of tea to each of the old women, when he fell forward & immediately expired!”

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