Louisa   Beresford,   Marchioness   of   Waterford

(Paris, 14 April 1818 - 12 May 1891)

Louisa Anne Beresford (née Stuart), Marchioness of Waterford, Watercolour painter and philanthropist, was born at the Hôtel Charost, Faubourg St Honoré, Paris, the second daughter of Sir Charles Stuart, later Baron Stuart de Rothesay (1779-1845), diplomatist. Her paternal grandfather was General Sir Charles Stuart.

Great-granddaughter of the writer, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a gifted water colour painter, 75 of her portraits are held by the National Portrait Gallery. She was taught by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and attended classes by John Ruskin. As a philanthropist with an interest in the welfare of the tenants on her estate at Ford, Northumberland, she redesigned the village.

Louisa Stuart was brought up mostly in Paris, where her father was British Ambassador to the French court. She was taught to draw from an early age and art, along with religion and philanthropy, was one of her main interests throughout her life. A gifted amateur watercolourist, she did not exhibit at professional galleries until the 1870s. With a strong interest in the welfare of the tenants on her Northumberland estate, she rebuilt the village of Ford. She provided a school and started a temperance society in the village. Her greatest artistic achievement was the decoration of the new school with life sized scenes from the Old and New testaments that used children and adults from the village as models.
Sitter in 5 portraits, Artist associated with 74 portraits (National Portrait Gallery)

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Louisa Anne Beresford, Marchioness of Waterford (née Stuart} was a Pre-Raphaelite watercolourist and philanthropist. She was the wife of Henry Beresford, 3rd Marquess of Waterford, younger sister of Charlotte, Countess Canning, daughter of Charles Stuart, 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay and the former Lady Elizabeth Margaret Yorke. The family home was at Highcliffe Castle, and had been in Stuart possession since about 1770 when Louisa's great-grandfather, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (a founder of Kew Gardens), while out botanising, discovered the cliff-top viewsite overlooking Christchurch Bay, and commissioned the architect Robert Adam, to design High Cliff, a sumptuous Georgian mansion, with grounds laid out by Capability Brown.

His fourth son, Lieutenant-General Sir Charles Stuart, inherited High Cliff, but landslips virtually destroyed the house, and he sold the greater part of the estate. Years later Louisa's father who had had a long and distinguished career, been honoured with a knighthood, and raised to the peerage by George IV. in 1828, bought back the land and between 1831 and 1835, built the house that became known as Highcliffe Castle, and which has been described as "the most important remaining example of the Romantic Picturesque style of architecture."

Charles Stuart made use of the architect William Donthorne, a founder member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, to design Highcliffe Castle. Incorporated in the design was carved medieval stonework from the Norman Benedictine Abbey of St. Peter at Jumieges and from the Grande Maison des Les Andelys, both of which structures had fallen into disrepair after the French Revolution. Also included in the structure were a 16th-century oriel window and stained glass window.

Her father was appointed British Ambassador at Paris shortly before marrying Elizabeth Margaret Yorke on 6 February 1816. Louisa's childhood in Paris was marked by the early tuition she received in the arts, in keeping with being a great-granddaughter of the writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Art, religion and philanthropy, would feature prominently in her life. Despite being an accomplished amateur artist, her paintings did not appear in galleries until the 1870s. Showing great concern for the welfare of her tenants on her Northumberland property, she redesigned the village of Ford, designed and built a school, and founded a temperance society. Over a period of 22 years between 1860 and 1882, she decorated the school hall with life-sized watercolours on paper, which had been applied to canvas and mounted on the interior walls and gables. The images portrayed biblical scenes, and used the village residents as models. The village school was in use until 1957, but is now known as the Waterford Gallery or Lady Waterford Hall. Gleeson White described her talent in his work Children's Books and Their Illustrators

"In the designs by Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, one encounters genius with absolutely faltering technique; and many who know how rare is the slightest touch of genius, forgive the equally important mastery of material which must accompany it to produce work of lasting value."

Louisa was tutored by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and attended drawing classes held by John Ruskin, together with Lady Trevelyan and Kate Greenaway, and had introduced Rose La Touche to him. It is believed that she modelled for Sir John Everett Millais in several of his works, and her beauty is accredited as one of the inspirations of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

On 8 June 1842, she married Lord Waterford who settled in Curraghmore House in County Waterford, until he died in a horse riding accident in 1859. The marriage produced no children.

The erosion losses at Highcliffe were considerable and had been reckoned at about a yard a year -- the coast path was in constant need of maintenance due to cliff falls. Louisa wrote in her Recollections to the age of 12 that part of the problem was landsliding in the clays and to combat this she introduced an extensive drainage system in the cliffs to keep the clays dry. In about 1880, the problems of erosion of Highcliffe prompted her to seek an engineering solution. A prime cause was "The Run," the river outflow from Christchurch Harbour, which because of its proximity to the cliffs, greatly increased the erosion. She arranged for the placing of limestone and granite-porphyry blocks near the Castle, with the idea of deflecting the course of "The Run" rather than directly opposing it. This groyne eventually disappeared and by 1931 only a few of the blocks were still visible at low tide.

In his 1893 work, the Victorian biographer, Augustus Hare (1834-1903), wrote The story of two noble lives: being memorials of Charlotte, Countess Canning, and Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford

"Of the life of the younger sister, Louisa, Lady Waterford, the want of material makes it impossible to give the detailed account which might be looked for. She left scarcely any journals, and all her correspondence with her husband and most of that with her mother and sister, has been destroyed. From scattered letters which remain, and from the recollection of those who loved her best, it has been only possible to construct a fragmentary memorial. Those who were much in the sunshine of her gracious presence need no reminder of what she was: her noble simplicity of character, her playful humour, her warm interest, her gentle sympathy, her utter forgetfulness of self, her enthusiasm for all things good and beautiful, must be ever present with them. But it has been thought that there are many outside the quiet circle in which she lived, who may care to know the little that can be told of one who might be described by Longfellow's lines" --
      "Homeward serenely she walked with God's benediction upon her:
      When she had passed it seemed like the ceasing of exquisite music"
        -- Augustus Hare

Her grave lies next to the Church of St. Michael in Ford Village. Its stone was designed in 1891, by George Frederic Watts, and the slab by Watts's wife Mary Seton Watts. It is a Grade II Listed Building protected by law. en.wikipedia

Charlotte Canning, Countess Canning

(Paris, 31 March 1817 - 18 Nov 1861)

Charlotte, Countess Canning, one of the most prolific women artists in India, was the wife of Charles Canning, 1st Earl Canning. Two portfolios in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London contain some three hundred and fifty watercolours, the result of four major tours in India.

She was born Charlotte Stuart in Paris, a daughter of the British ambassador, Charles Stuart (later Baron Stuart de Rothesay) and was a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria from 1842 to 1855. On 5 September 1835, she married Hon. Charles Canning a son of the ex-British Prime Minister, George Canning and the 1st Viscountess Canning. In 1837, Charles succeeded to his mother's title as Viscount Canning, whereupon Charlotte became Viscountess Canning.

Lady Canning arrived in India in 1856, as a flourishing, healthy woman when her husband was appointed Governor-General of India. She went with him to Calcutta and described her situation as being 'isolated to a degree I could never have imagined'. She kept a journal and wrote frequently to Queen Victoria, at one point describing 'strange and terrible outbreaks' of violence which were the start of the 'Indian Mutiny'. In 1859, Charles was raised in the peerage as Earl Canning and Charlotte became Countess Canning.

The Countess began to look emaciated in 1861, and she died of malaria in her husband's arms. She was buried in Barrackpore, West Bengal. Lord Canning did not long outlive her; his letter to Victoria describing her death crossed with the Queen's to him, announcing that Prince Albert had died. Lady Canning's name lives on in Bengal where a type of sweet called l"edikeni" is named after her. Her grave and memorial seems to have been moved some time since, and is now located adjacent to St. John's Church in Calcutta. en.wikipedia

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The Story of Two Noble Lives: Being Memorials of Charlotte, Countess Canning, and Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, By Augustus John Cuthbert Hare, (1834-1903).
(Volume 1)
(Volume 2)


-- Charlotte Stuart with her mother, Elizabeth, Lady Stuart de Rothesay, and sister Louisa, later Marchioness of Waterford, by George Hayter in 1830
-- Louisa Beresford, Marchioness of Waterford (1818-1891), from a photograph by W. J. Reed of Bournemouth.
-- Louisa Anne Beresford (nee Stuart), Marchioness of Waterford, Artist William Henry Egleton, after John Hayter
-- Charlotte Canning (nee Stuart), Countess Canning, Artist William Henry Egleton, after John Hayter
-- The Hon. Charlotte Stuart (1817-1861) and the Hon. Louisa Stuart (1818-1891), Daughters of Charles Stuart, Baron Stuart de Rothesay (1779-1845), Diplomat. By Sir George Hayter.
-- Between 1829 and 1831, George Hayter produced three portraits of the family of diplomat Charles Stuart, Baron Stuart de Rothesay, who was then serving as Her Majesty's Ambassador to France. This portrait of Rothesay’s daughters is dated 1830, the year Louisa (later Marchioness of Waterford) turned 12 and Charlotte (later Countess Canning) turned 13, although their features have been matured by the artist. Charlotte is seen playing a piano, while Louisa turns the music pages.

A Glimpse of the Burning Plain: Leaves from the Indian Journals of Charlotte Canning - Charles Allen (Michael Joseph, (October 1987) )
Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj - Marian Fowler
Appletons' Annual Cyclopædia and register of important events of the year: 1862.
Extracts from the book Indian Life and Landscapes By Western Artists - Chapter Six: The Role Of Amateur Artists.
Under a Border tower: sketches and memories of Ford CastleNeville, H.M. Nebille [berwick.org.uk]
Northumberland, and its surroundings, with a memoir of its late noble châtelaine, Louisa marchioness of Waterford.

View works: Louisa Beresford, Marchioness of Waterford (1818-1891)

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View works: Charlotte, Viscountess Canning (1817-1861)

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