Sir Charles Francis Farnaby

Jane Austen Connections


This affable looking gentleman seated writing letters at his desk with a quill pen in his hand is Sir Charles Francis Farnaby, 5th Baronet of Wickham Court – might that have been the inspiration for Captain Wickham’s name? Born in 1787, Sir Charles was a contemporary of Jane Austen and in all likelihood would have met her on social occasions. His mother, Mary Lennard, was the step-daughter of Francis Austen, Jane’s wealthy great uncle. A second association arose when Sir Charles married Eliza Morland whose family were connected socially through marriage and friendship with the Austen family.

The portrait is skilfully drawn in pencil heightened with watercolour by Henry Edridge ARA  and is signed bottom left H.E. 1807. There is minor wrinkling to the paper in the bottom right corner and a restored horizontal tear at 2 o’clock. The drawing is mounted within a later frame.

The eldest son of a London tradesman, Henry Edridge ARA (1769-1821) was apprenticed to an engraver and, at the age of fifteen, entered the Royal Academy Schools. He exhibited miniatures and watercolour portraits between 1786 and 1821. His London studio attracted aristocratic sitters as well as artists and poets and he was regularly invited to stay at country houses where he would often draw portraits of his host’s family.

Item Ref. 4378

Size: framed, 375 x 323mm (14⅝ x 12⅝")

Provenance: Abbott & Holder, Museum Street