Frank Daniell (1868-1932) Victor Batte-Lay (1865-1935)

Frank Daniell (1868-1932) Victor Batte-Lay (1865-1935)


Frank Robinson Daniell was the third son of Shephard Thomas Daniell. The Daniell family were well known locally for their brewery, which became a large business in the village of West Bergholt.

Frank Daniell was best known as a portrait painter whose subjects were the celebrities of the day such as Mayors, city Fathers any many others prominent in the life of the town of Colchester in his day.

In addition to painting portraits, Frank Daniell also completed some note-worthy still-life works of art. He travelled to Europe to paint Church interiors and these religious paintings are rich in detail.

Frank Daniell exhibited at the Royal Academy and in the Salons of Paris, Berlin and Madrid. He also exhibited before the Society of Portrait Painters. His principle works were carried out between 1889 and when he died in 1932.

The Colchester Museum Collection has 22 paintings by Frank Daniell. Most of these paintings were commissioned by Colchester Corporation for the new Town Hall which opened in 1902. A number of the portraits are still on display in the Town Hall. Two striking and treasured works of his are the Blue Coat Boy and the Blue Coat Girl, which form an interesting link with an ancient Colchester Charity.

Frank Daniell lived at 8, East Hill with his wife Ethel, formerly Brignell, and his mother-in-law. They had one son, Dirk Daniell, who tragically predeceased his father by six years. Dirk was on the threshold of a promising career as an actor.

Frank Daniell died on 11th March 1932 after suffering a heart attack ten days earlier. He is buried in Colchester cemetery.


1889-1921 RA (18)


Clarence Victor Lay was born in Holy Trinity Parish in Colchester in 1865 and was educated at Colchester Royal Grammar School. He was a successful businessman but made his reputation in the brewing industry in the King’s Lynn area. In 1922 he changed his name to Batte-Lay by deed poll.

When Clarence Victor Batte-Lay retired he returned to Colchester and continued to collect furniture and paintings, which had been an interest of his throughout his life.

He died in 1935, after falling from his horse. His widow, Mrs Margaret Eleanore Batte-Lay, directed at her death in 1955 that her Trustees should purchase and endow a building in Colchester as a memorial for her husband ‘for the benefit and advantage of the inhabitants of Colchester and in particular those who shall take an interest in the artistic and antiquarian features of that town.’ In accordance with this direction, the Trustees purchased The Minories. This art gallery was opened to the public on 30th May 1958.

Most of Clarence Victor Batte-Lay`s collection was bequeathed to The Minories as The Victor Batte-Lay Trust Collection. This trust continues to this day.


East Anglian Daily Times 12 March 1932, 16 March 1932, 18 March 1932

Essex County Standard. March 12th 1932.

“A brief note on the Victor-Lay Trust & The Minories.” From the History of The Minories.

Info. Supplied by Catherine Newley – Assistant Curator of Community History.

Priscilla Hall, née Daniell