UNIVERSITY of GLASGOW

The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Elizabeth Romilly, 1820-1892

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1820
Place of Birth:
Date of Death: 1892.01.18
Place of Death:

Identity:

Lady Elizabeth Amelia Jane Romilly was the third daughter of Gilbert, 2nd Earl of Minto (1782-1859), who was ambassador to Berlin from 1832-4, first lord of the admiralty 1835-41 and lord privy seal 1846-52, and Mary, the eldest daughter of Patrick Brydone. She had five brothers, William Hugh (b. 1814), Henry George (b. 1817), Charles Gilbert John Brydone (b. 1818), George Francis Stewart (b. 1822) and Gilbert (b. 1826), and four sisters, Mary Elizabeth, Frances Anna Maria, Charlotte Mary and Harriet Anne Gertrude. On 29 November 1848 she married Col. Frederick Romilly, the sixth son of Sir Samuel Romilly, who was M.P. for Canterbury. Together they had three sons, Samuel Henry (b. 1849), Frederick William (b. 1854) and Hugh Hastings (b. 1856), and two daughters, Elizabeth Mary and Gertrude Emily.

Life:

Lady Romilly showed a keen interest in the work of JW, visiting his solo exhibition at the Flemish Gallery in Pall Mall in 1874, and later requesting that she might visit his studio and view some of his paintings (#05350). Her name was included in a list by JW that may have been a guest list for the private view of the above Pall Mall exhibition or a subscription list for JW's Venice etchings as envisaged in 1876 (#12714). Around this time JW wrote to Cyril Flower: 'Lady Elizabeth Romilly I always remember as one of the most charming people it was ever my happiness to meet - so kind - so natural - and with a courtesy so sweet [...] She came one morning to my Gallery and seemed so much interested in what was there - pointing out with such right instinct the particular works she sympathized with - not only among the paintings - but the drawings and sketches - that the painter was simply enchanted and has never forgotten it - I hope one of these days you will take me with you to call upon her'. He invited her through Flower to view Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Bognor (YMSM 100), which he thought would please her (#01621). The Romillys were included among those invited to JW's famous Sunday breakfasts in the late 1870s (#05220).

Bibliography:

Burke, Bernard, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, 2 vols, London, 8th ed., 1894; Burke, Bernard, A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage, Baronetage, the Privy Council, Knightage and Companionage, London, 71st ed., 1909.