Mary Chepmell

A Guernsey Lass


Despite her youth and beauty, poor Mary looks rather downcast and thoughtful as she sits for her portrait! Despite this, the artist has done her proud and has meticulously captured the soft folds of her dress and each wayward curl around her face.

Set against a cloudy sky background, the young lady is identified on an old label as Mary Chepmell. Mary and her twin sister Anne were born in St Peter Port, Guernsey in May 1788 and were the sixth and seventh of eight children born to William and Elizabeth (née Courtart) Chepmell. Her father died when she was just ten years old. Mary married John George La Serre in about 1810. The couple settled to live in Hackney and had nine children. John George was a stockbroker so they would have been comfortably well-off. Following the death of her husband in 1847, Mary moved back to St Peter Port where she lived with four of her unmarried daughters. Her twin sister was also unmarried and died aged 80 but Mary outlived her by over a decade passing away in 1881 at the grand age of 93.

The portrait has been traditionally ascribed to I. (or J.) Fruman. Reminiscent in style to the work of J.C.D. Engleheart, little is known about Fruman and examples of his work are rarely seen.

The portrait is in fine condition and is set in the original gilt metal frame that is glazed on the reverse to show brown silk.

Item Ref. 6840

Size: framed, 72 x 60mm