The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Mrs Henrietta Ward

Mrs Henrietta Ward

A carte-de-visite portrait of the English historical and genre painter Henrietta Ward (1832-1924).

Born into a family that produced several professional artists over several generations, in 1843, when she was 11 years old, Henrietta Ward fell in love with the 27-year-old historical painter Edward Matthew Ward (no relation). They married secretly in May 1848, aided by the groom's friend Wilkie Collins. Henrietta's mother never forgave the elopement, and disinherited her. The couple had eight children, one of whom, Leslie Ward, was the caricaturist and cartoonist known as ‘Spy’.

While raising her family, Mrs Ward pursued her own artistic career. She worked in various genres, though she, like her husband, was noted for her historical pictures, on subjects such as Thomas Chatterton and Elizabeth Fry. She was also noted for her pictures of children.

She published two autobiographical memoirs, Mrs. E. M. Ward’s Reminiscences, published in 1911, and Memories of Ninety Years, published in the year of her death. Her first book has been called ‘one of the best accounts of the life of a Victorian lady artist.’ She left a picture of a near-ideal marriage with a husband who encouraged her work, and who was ‘always the kindest teacher, the most unfailing friend I have ever known.’

Photographed by John and Charles Watkins of London.


Code: 125622
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