Mrs C. H. Turner

Miers & Field, 1823


An inscription on the reverse of one of the plaster panels confirms that John Field painted this fine pair of silhouettes showing Charles Hampden Turner and his wife Mary in February 1823.

Mary Rohde was born in 1781 in Limehouse in Middlesex, the eldest daughter of Major Rohde and his wife Mary. In February 1801 she married Charles Hampden Turner of Bromley. She died in October 1866 at the age of 85.

Charles Hampden Turner was a man of many parts. With houses at Berkeley Square in London and Rook’s Nest in Surrey, he owned a sail-making company in Limehouse, was a partner in a rope-making business and was deputy chairman of the East India Docks Company. He was an elected member of the Geological Society, the Linnean Society and the Royal Society, also belonging to the Horticultural Society, the Royal Institution, and the Athenaeum Club and, in 1848, was made an honorary member of the Society of Civil Engineers.

Away from his business interests, Turner was a keen gardener pioneering the use of steam heating in conservatories and winning an RHS medal for getting Chinese wisteria to flower in England for the first time. He was also an avid collector of objects as diverse as minerals and battle drawings.

In 1845, over 100 portrait miniatures and a collection of unfinished sketches by the miniaturist Ozias Humphrey were bequeathed to Turner by the son of the artist. The executors, however, failed to comply with this bequest and placed the miniatures with Sotheby’s to sell. Unhappy at this turn of events, Turner is said to have made “a dramatic entrance” at the auction house with his henchmen on the morning of the sale and proceeded to stuff the miniatures into his coat pockets whilst challenging the executors to call the police. The collection were then determinately hidden from public view thereafter only coming to light again in the early twentieth century.

Painted on plaster and finely bronzed, the silhouettes are presented in their original frames with decorative surrounds and leaf hangers. Both frames are backed with complete Miers & Field trade labels inscribed with the sitters’ names.

Item Ref. 6309

Size: framed, 150 x 125m (5⅞ x 4⅞")