Elizabeth Catherine Caroline Hervey
Alexander Gallaway (fl.1794-1812)
Born in Suffolk in 1780, Elizabeth Catherine Caroline was the only child of Captain John Augustus Hervey, Lord Hervey, RN and his wife Elizabeth whom he’d married whilst serving in Quebec. Hervey died when his daughter was just fifteen years old and two years later, aged seventeen, Elizabeth married Charles Rose Ellis, 1st Baron of Seaford. Charles was a wealthy young man having inherited Jamaican sugar plantations and slaves when his parents were lost at sea en route to England in 1782.
By the time of their marriage, Charles had already been elected to the House of Commons where he staunchly defended slavery. Elizabeth gave birth to her first son in 1799 followed by a second son in 1800 and a daughter in 1802. At that point her health failed and she travelled to Nice where she died in January 1803. She was only twenty-two years old. Her husband did not remarry.
Painted by Scottish miniaturist Alexander Gallaway, the portrait shows Elizabeth, possibly around the time of her marriage, simply dressed and without jewels leaning against a classical column. Columns were a prop much favoured by Galloway in his miniature paintings. The portrait is housed in what appears to be the original papier-mâché frame with a decorative surround, domed glass and a large acorn hanger. It is backed with a label confirming the sitter’s details and the portrait’s provenance via Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law, Lady Howard de Walden.
Item Ref. 6419
Size: 125 x 90 mm ; framed, 213 x 189mm
Provenance: By family descent via Lady Howard de Walden