Harriet Bothamley

Adam Buck, 1802


Although the label attached to the reverse of this miniature names the sitter as Eliza Bothamley, it is actually a portrait of her sister Harriet, Eliza having died in 1800 two years before the portrait was painted.

Eliza and Harriet Hilton were born in Camberwell in 1771 and 1775 respectively. In December 1797 Eliza married Joseph Bothamley at St Giles, Camberwell. Joseph was a naval officer in the East India Company and before his marriage had sailed to China and then to Bombay. The latter voyage was captained by John Woodbridge Hilton, Eliza’s older brother. Sadly Joseph’s first marriage was brief as Eliza died in 1800, possibly in childbirth.

Four years later on 19 November 1804, Joseph married Eliza’s younger sister Harriet. By coincidence Adam Buck, the artist of this portrait, was also married just four days earlier in the same church in Lambeth so presumably the two couples were acquainted with each other.

Harriet and Joseph went on to have three children including a daughter named after Eliza. Following the death of her husband in 1811, Harriet was left with three children, the youngest a new born and the eldest just six years of age. In later life she lived with one of her married daughters and was 88 when she died in 1864.

Shown in part-profile, Harriet is wearing an empire-line dress, her brown hair upswept with curls framing her face.  The portrait is signed ABuck 1802 and is presented in a fausee-montre frame that is enclosed reverse.

The eldest son of an Irish silversmith, Adam Buck ran a successful portrait studio in Cork before moving to London around 1795 where he acquired a fashionable clientele. He exhibited miniatures and watercolour portraits at the Royal Academy between 1796 and 1833; many of his portraits were subsequently engraved and published.

Item Ref. 6644

Size: framed, 61 x 50mm