Lily Pettigrew (born Lilian Pettigrew, on 25 Feb 1870, in Portsmouth in the UK) was a famous artist's model in turn-of-the-century London, alongside her equally famous sisters Hetty and Rose. She is the woman depicted in numerous illustrious works by J A M Whistler and J W Godward, amongst others.
According to her Wikipedia page (the only one available is in Spanish) she took her own life in São Paulo, Brazil, on 26 Feb 1920. However:
- This doesn't fit with what little I know of her life. Why on earth would she be in Brazil?
- I can't back this claim up with any source outside of Wikipedia and its sister projects.
What I'd like is either a refutation or a confirmation of this Brazilian story.
Some useful stuff I've found so far:
- A search through British birth, marriage and death records (using Free BMD) faithfully corroborates the date of birth given on Wikipedia, but none of the death (or marriage) records match our particular Lilian Pettigrew.
- According to this article, '[n]othing is known about Lily after 1911'.
- The aforementioned Wikipedia page gives Miss Pettigrew's cause of death as 'Suicidio por salto al vacío'. A Spanish speaker has confirmed that this means that she died by jumping from a great height.
A bit of context: the Spanish Wikipedia page for Lily's sister, Harriet Pettigrew, states that Harriet died following a fall on 30 Oct 1953, at 86, in Buenos Aires. Perhaps this adds some credibility to her sister dying in Brazil? However:
- This page says that the death of one Harriet S Pettigrew - our Harriet Pettigrew's middle name was Selina - was registered in March (or January or February) 1953, with the age given as 83.
- The above record states that the death was registered in Croydon (a London borough). But I presume that, even in the 1950s, if a British national died abroad, the death would still be registered in the UK? But then why wasn't Lily's death registered?