Angelica Dingwall-Fordyce Harvey

Mother of 17 Children!


Shown here in a black empire-line dress trimmed on the neckline and sleeves with white lace, is Angelica Harvey. Angelica came from a large family – born in 1780, she was the seventh of fifteen children born to Arthur Dingwall-Fordyce and his wife Janet Morison of Culsh in Aberdeenshire. Angelica went on to follow in her mother’s footsteps by having her own large family – between the time of her marriage in 1800 and 1820, she gave birth to seventeen children. Although this portrait is undated, it is almost certain that Angelica would have been ‘with child’ when it was painted.

Angelica’s husband was John Aberdein Harvey. A few years prior to their marriage John inherited substantial estates in the West Indies from his uncle that yielded him an income of £8,000 a year equating to over £600,000 today. No wonder he could afford to purchase Kinnettles Castle and parkland in Forfar for his family seat.

Despite their wealth, life must have been difficult for the couple as sadly many of their children died young. The year 1809 must have been particularly tough when they lost their three oldest children, all girls. Indeed all ten of their girls died between the ages of 2 and 22. The boys fared better with four surviving well into adulthood.

Angelica herself was 80 years of age when she died at Kinnettles in 1860, her husband having pre-deceased her by two decades.

The portrait is in fine condition and resides in the original papier-mâché frame  with a decorative surround and grapes hanger. The frame has the usual nibbles to the edges but is overall fine; there is also a short scratch to the convex glass.

Item Ref. 6931

Size: framed, 135 x 118mm (5¼ x 4⅝")