The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Major Fitzmaurice and Miss Fitzmaurice

Major Fitzmaurice and Miss Fitzmaurice

A carte-de-visite portrait of Major John Fitzmaurice [sometimes FitzMaurice], who is seen here probably with his granddaughter Gertrude Alice Huntsman.

John Fitzmaurice was born on 23 June 1792 at Duagh near Listowel in County Kerry [Ireland]. He joined the 95th Regiment (the Rifle Brigade) during the Peninsular campaign and, while still a Lieutenant, was wounded at the Battle of Badajoz in 1812. He recovered and was later present at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. In fact, he hold the distinction of being the first soldier to have fired a shot at that historic engagement. Once again he was shot in the leg but this time the bullet was never removed and went with him to the grave.

Major John Fitzmaurice was awarded the Waterloo Medal and created a Knight of the Royal Hanoverian Guelphic Order. In May 1861 he became a Major-General. He died, aged 72, on 24 December 1865 and was buried in the churchyard at Perivale in West London.

He appears on the 1861 census, a 'Colonel on half-pay' living at Drayton House in Ealing with his wife, Frances Maria Fitzmaurice, and three unmarried daughters: Emma (34), Geraldine (29) and Gertrude (19). Clearly the girl in this portrait is not one of these daughters. The household also included a grand-niece named Margaret Fitzmaurice Clyde but at 15 in 1861 even she would have been older than the girl seen here.

Although the Silvy daybooks identify her as 'Miss Fitzmaurice,' I think it is far more likely that she is one of Major Fitzmaurice’s granddaughters. His daughter Anna Maria Fitzmaurice had married Benjamin Huntsman in 1850. By 1861 they had had four children, including Gertrude Alice Huntsman, aged 10 in 1861, and Hilda Mary Huntsman, aged 7 in 1861.

Gertrude married John Henry Fraser Walter in 1874. The marriage produced two children. She died, aged 82, on 10 December 1934, at Drayton Hall near Norwich. She left effects valued at £8772.

Photographed by Camille Silvy on 10 May 1861.

Code: 124153
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