The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Georgiana Drew and her ayah

Georgiana Drew and her ayah

A carte-de-visite portrait of an apple-cheeked toddler and her Singhalese ayah. An inked inscription verso in a period identifies the child as Georgiana Daisy Radcliffe, born on 30 October 187, and gives the date when the photograph was taken, 16 June 1879.

Georgiana Daisy Radcliffe Drew was one of the daughters of Georgiana Emily Drew (née Down), the first principal of Bishopsgate College, originally a mission school established at Colombo in 1857 but later reopened as a fee-paying Anglican girls’ school established in 1875. In 1882 the school had twenty-one pupils but the income was insufficient to make ends meet and the school had to be closed again. Mrs Drew resigned in April 1882 and returned to England with her husband Harry and their four children. The school was later reopened by three Anglican nuns from East Grinstead and is still in operation today.

On their return to England, the Drew family settled first in Dorset, then in Oxford, and finally at Egremont in Cheshire, judging by the places of birth of Mrs Drew’s next five children. On the night of the 1891 census, Daisy and her sister Winifred were staying with their paternal grandmother at Melcombe Regis in Dorset.

Georgiana never married. She died on 5 April 1962 at her home in Vicq-sur-Breuilh, a commune in the Haute-Vienne department in west-central France.

Photographed by William Louis Henry Skeen of Ceylon.


Code: 126548
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