Lady Waterford

Lady Waterford

Born on 14 April 1818, the Honourable Louisa Anne Stuart was one of the daughters of Sir Charles Stuart, 1st and last Baron Stuart de Rothesay.

Louisa was born in Paris while her father was serving there as the British ambassador. Her childhood in France was marked by the early tuition she received in the arts. Later she was tutored by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, attended drawing classes held by John Ruskin and modelled for John Everett Millais in several of his works. Her beauty is believed to have been one of the inspirations of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and she herself became an accomplished Pre-Raphaelite watercolourist.

On 8 June 1842 she married Henry de la Poer Beresford, 3rd Marquess of Waterford. The couple lived at Curraghmore House in County Waterford until Lord Waterford’s death as the result of a riding accident in 1859. The marriage produced no children.

Lady Waterford died on 12 May 1891. Her grave lies next to the Church of St Michael in the village of Ford in Northumberland. Its stone was designed by George Frederic Watts and the slab by his wife, Mary.

Lady Waterford’s sister Charlotte was the wife of Viscount Canning, first Viceroy of India. In his 1893 biography of the two sisters, Augustus Hare wrote: ‘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.’

Photographed by Disdéri of Paris.

Code: 122854
© Paul Frecker 2023