Louisa Dorothea Holroyd

Henry Edridge, 1795


A happenchance browse through a book has unexpectedly led to the re-discovery of this sitter’s identity and has thereby given her back her story. The book in question is a compilation of letters written by and to Maria Joseph Lady Stanley, older sister of the lady in this portrait. The book also includes an illustration of this portrait miniature.

Born in 1776, Louisa Dorothea was the youngest daughter of John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield and his wife Abigail Way. Aged 20, Louisa married William Henry Clinton of the 55th Regiment of Foot – described by her sister the bride “looked uncommonly well”. The couple had a London house and an estate at Winnington in Cheshire. Between 1797 and 1815, they had four daughters and two sons.

Henry Edridge was acquainted with the sisters and drew portraits of Maria and her children whilst a guest at their Cheshire estate in 1811 – “Edridge is charmed with Alderney . . . the river, and the vessels on it, are great temptations to a painter”. A few months later, once again writing to Louisa, Maria mentions how “Edridge told us he had seen you, and you were very angry with him for finding anything to admire at Winnington”.

In the 1841 Census, Louisa at the family’s London house in Hanover Square. In the 1851 Census, now aged 74 and now a widow, Louise is living in in the country where she is overseeing a substantial farm and employing 50 men and boys as well as 27 women. She died just a few years later in 1854.

Painted by Henry Edridge in 1795, the portrait is set in a gold frame, the reverse with an aperture filled with neatly plaited brown hair.

A well-respected and collected artist, Henry Edridge ARA (1749-1821) was the eldest son of a London tradesman. He was initially apprenticed to an engraver and was just fifteen when he entered the Royal Academy Schools. There his promising ability was quickly noticed by the President, Sir Joshua Reynolds, who permitted the young Edridge to make miniature copies of his paintings. Edridge went on to exhibit miniatures and watercolour landscapes between 1786 and 1821. His London studio attracted many aristocratic sitters as well as artists and poets. Mixing in such circles led to regular invitations to country house parties where he would occupy and amuse himself by drawing portraits of his fellow guests and his host’s family. Edridge was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1820 just six months before he died aged just 52. His obituary notice praised his ‘general benevolence and the social disposition of his nature’.

APHA Registered

Item Ref. 7446

Size: framed, 73 x 59mm

Provenance: UK Private Collection

Literature: The Early Married Life of Maria Josepha Lady Stanley ... / Jane Adeane. 1899