Eustis Estate

Diversity – Ranken


William Ranken, photograph courtesy of the Wikipedia Commons.

A confirmed bachelor, Henry Sleeper is likely to have shared interests beyond art with William Ranken, who was exceptionally handsome and as devoted to the British actor Ernest Thesiger as Sleeper was to his neighbor in Gloucester, the economics professor A. Piatt Andrew. Born in Edinburgh, Ranken had attended Eton College, where he mixed with Britain’s elite, then London’s progressive Slade School of Art. Thanks to John Singer Sargent’s introductions, he created portraits of leading families in America and, by the late 1920s, when Sleeper commissioned this and eleven other “portraits” of his two homes, Ranken had painted the families and houses of many British aristocrats—probably another enticement to Sleeper.