Catherine Hellier

Nathan Cooper Branwhite


When Catherine Hellier was born in Dundry, Somerset in July 1810, her mother was 43 years old and her father was 57. She was their only (surviving?) child. When she sat for this watercolour portrait in 1833, Catherine was 23 years old and had just married John Shorland. Her mother had already died a few years previously and her father was to die the following year at the grand old age of 81. Catherine and John went on to have a large family with seven children born over fourteen years. She died in 1859 and is buried in the Dundry having lived there her entire life.

The portrait, painted in monochrome, shows a well-endowed young lady with a twinkle in her eye. She is dressed in the latest fashion topped off with a frothy hat and a heavy gold chain with a pocket watch and a seal. The portrait is signed ‘Branwhite Nat’ and dated 1833. It is set in a handsome bird’s eye maple veneer frame with a gilt slip.

The son of a poet, Nathan Cooper Branwhite (1775-1867) specialised in small portraits and miniatures. His work is judged to have ‘considerable vitality and character’.

Item Ref. 6100

Size: framed, 132 x 240mm (11⅞ x 9½")