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Lilias Trotter

Lilias Trotter – unsung 19th century artist and missionary

Christian History Institute (CHI), publisher of Christian History magazine (CH), announces the publication of issue #148, titled: Lilias Trotter – the life, work and surprising legacy of an unsung artist and missionary. The issue includes four Trotter articles and a large collection of Trotter paintings to further document the life and times of Lilias Trotter (1853-1928), an unsung but  pioneering woman of the Victorian era, whose inspired literature, art and life-long commitment to missions exemplifies the Christian calling to go forth and disciple nations (Matthew 28:19).

Early in her ministry and while in her hometown of London, England, Trotter served alongside D. L. Moody and Hannah Whitall Smith, and the leaders of the YWCA movement. But, most notably, her inspired vision helped pioneer the independent & voluntary missionary work in Islamic French Algeria. Trotter tirelessly and faithfully reached out to the diverse people groups of North Africa from 1888 until her death in 1928.

Fueled by an enduring passion for making known the universal love of Christ, she uniquely influenced Muslim Sufi mystics, with whom she recognized a familiar zeal and passion to know God. Her spiritual and artistic legacy continues to influence the North African culture into the present.

The leading European art critic of the day, John Ruskin, recognized Trotter’s potential when she was but 23 years of age and promised a stellar art career. “Trotter turned Ruskin down,” said CH managing editor, Jennifer Woodruff Tait. “She continued to paint, she continued to serve, and she eventually went to Algiers as a missionary—not with an organization, but on her own. … She managed, in the course of her life and work, to meet, influence, and be influenced by many famous people, and to leave a legacy you may not even realize belongs to her, from many modern missionary methods to the song ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.’ But she did not follow any expected path.”

Issue #148, contains seven full-length features and six side-bar articles; illustrations, photos & rare artwork; a chronological timeline, and an extensive reading list of related books & materials.

Did you know? Lilias Trotter - Lilias Trotter’s life intersected many trends in Victorian art, culture, mission, and service work by the editors

Editor’s note: Lilias Trotter – Trotter loved art but loved Jesus more by Jennifer Woodruff Tait

Artists, angels, apostles, and the abode of peace – Some of Trotter’s friends, colleagues, and mentors by Jennifer Boardman

“The marvel of springtime” – Hope in Christ for your soul’s next grace by Lilias Trotter

“The heart of every flower” – Lilias Trotter and George MacDonald by Jennifer Trafton

Minds occupied with heaven – Organizing lay people for piety and service in the Nineteenth Century by Kevin Belmonte

“Life is reigning, not death” – What it means to be born again by Lilias Trotter

Christian History Timeline: Lilias Trotter – A life of art and service. Trotter’s experiences amid the cultural and missional currents of the nineteenth & early twentieth centuries by the editors

God told her to go – Like Trotter, Amy Carmichael blazed her own missionary trail by Jennifer Woodruff Tait

“Joy and peace from the first step” – Christ for the Sufis by Lilias Trotter

“Turn full your soul’s vision to Jesus” – An ocean of grace and power lying all around us by Lilias Trotter

“A long drink of cool water” – After she resolved the role of art in her life, Trotter went back to her London work with renewed fervor and dedication by Miriam Huffman Rockness and the editors

Lilias Trotter: art, culture, mission – Questions for reflection

Recommended resources: Lilias Trotter - About the life and work of Lilias Trotter, Victorian art, piety, and missions, in these resources recommended by authors and CH staff by the editors

The entire archive of Christian History magazine issues is searchable, along with related books, videos, and study-guides, using the website’s search engine feature. A magazine subscription, available only by donation, is offered at no-cost as a study resource for homeschoolers, church libraries, middle/high schools, and colleges & universities. It is the mission of CHI donors and staff to make this resource as widely and freely available as possible (donations gratefully accepted). The archive of CH issues can be read online at:

Christian History Institute
Worcester, PA

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Category: Church History, Summer 2023

About the Author: The editors are Raul Mock, Mike Dies, Joe Joslin, and Jim Dettmann with significant input from other writers including John Lathrop, Amos Yong, Tony Richie, and Kevin Williams.

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