Elizabeth Crosfield

Frances Hargreaves

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This generously sized and well-painted miniature portrays a young Quaker lady, Elizabeth Crosfield, as she prepares for married life. Quakers traditionally wore sober colours, their dresses plain without frills or even cuffs. As a rule they did not sanction portraiture, believing it to be vain, so this miniature is unusual.

The Crosfields were a prominent Quaker family from Liverpool. Elizabeth was born in December 1815 to George and Margaret (née Chorley). George was a grocer; later he worked as a botanist and a Quaker publicist. Margaret was a Quaker elder. The couple had five children, Elizabeth being the eldest.

In August 1836 – the year of this portrait – Elizabeth married Octavius Waterhouse, a coffee dealer and land agent. They lived at Walton on the Hill, Liverpool and had a son and four daughters. Elizabeth was widowed in 1847 when her youngest daughter was just two years old. She then had a long widowhood as she was 78 when she died in 1894.

The portrait is signed on the reverse ‘F. Hargreaves pinxt / 1836 / Liverpool / Portrait of / Elizabeth Crosfield’. It is set in the original decoratively chased gilt frame that is glazed on the reverse to reveal the artist’s signature.

Liverpool-born, Francis Hargreaves was the son of a miniature painter who no doubt trained him and his brother George to follow in his steps. He worked between 1810 and 1854 but examples of his work are scarcely seen.

Item Ref. JH008

Size: framed, 95 x 77mm + hanger