Sir John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, the Marquess of Lorne, was the eldest son of George Douglas Campbell, the eighth Duke of Argyll, and Lady Elizabeth Georgiana Sutherland Leveson-Gower, the eldest daughter of the second Duke of Sutherland. He was an M.P. and succeeded his father as the ninth Duke of Argyll in 1900. In 1871 he married Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (d. 1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. They had no children and J. D. S. Campbell was succeeded by his nephew Niall Diarmid Campbell.
John Campbell was one of twelve children. His brothers were Archibald, a soldier, writer and businessman (b. 1846); Walter Campbell (b. 1848); George Granville, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy (b. 1850); and Colin Campell, M.P. for Argyllshire from 1878 to 1885 (b. 1853). His sisters were Edith, Countess Percy (b. 1849); Elizabeth (b. 1852); Victoria (b. 1854); Evelyn (b. 1855); Frances (b. 1858); Mary Emma (b. 1859); and Constance Harriet (b. 1864).
Campbell was educated at the St. Andrews and Trinity College, Cambridge. He entered Parliament in 1868 as the Liberal M.P. for Argyllshire, was Private Secretary to his father at the India Office from 1868 to 1871 and was later Secretary of State for India. In 1878 he was appointed Governor-General of Canada. JW, with whom he and his wife were friendly, wished them well on their voyage (#00510). In Canada Campbell met Oscar Wilde who was on a lecturing tour (#09546). He held the post of Commander-in-Chief of Prince Edward Island from 1878 to 1883, returning to Britain in 1883 where he contested Hampstead unsuccessfully at the next general election. He and his father left the Liberal Party on the question of Home Rule.
In 1886 JW invited Campbell and his wife to attend the private view of the Society of British Artists' winter exhibition (#02636).
Campbell was appointed Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle in 1892, a post he held until 1914. In 1892 he contested an election at Bradford and from 1895 to 1900 was the Liberal Unionist member for South Manchester. He was Captain of the London Scottish Rifle Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel Commandent of the Argyll and Bute Voluntary Artillery and Honorary Colonel of the fifth Volunteer Batallion Highland Light Infantry. He was also the author of several books on Canada, a pamphlet advocating imperial federation, various novels, volumes of poetry, a life of Palmerston and his reminiscences.
Lord John Campbell's brother and sister-in-law Lord and Lady Archibald Campbell were important patrons of Whistler who helped to restore his artistic position in London following his bankruptcy in 1879 (see Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell in Court Dress (YMSM 240), The Grey Lady: Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 241), Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune - Portrait of Lady Archibald Campbell (YMSM 242), Note in Green and Brown: Orlando at Coombe (YMSM 317) and r. and v.: Trellis (M.848)). They had two children.
Lord and Lady Colin Campbell also commissioned a painting from Whistler, Harmony in White and Ivory: Portrait of Lady Colin Campbell (YMSM 354), a painting which was executed during Lady Gertrude Elizabeth Campbell's divorce hearing.
Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, London, 1896; S. Lee, Queen Victoria, London, 1902; J. S. Willison, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party, London, 1903; J. D. S. Campbell, Passages from the Past, 2 vols, London, 1907; Who Was Who: A Companion to Who's Who, London, 1920 et seq.; Young, Andrew McLaren, Margaret F. MacDonald, Robin Spencer and Hamish Miles, The Paintings of James McNeill Whistler, New Haven and London, 1980; MacDonald, Margaret F., James McNeill Whistler. Drawings, Pastels and Watercolours. A Catalogue Raisonné, New Haven and London, 1995.