A pair of 1831 mezzotints of King William IV & Queen Adelaide formerly the property of women’s rights activist Lady Louisa Knightley of Fawsley Hall
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A pair of mezzotints of William IV as king and Queen Adelaide. King William IV -Whole length with short hair, plain tie, and coat with fur collar and Garter star. Standing with hat under left arm and holding an open book with right hand. With columns to the right and a view of a landscape in the background. Publisher's address below, 'September 1831, Published by M. Colnaghi, Printseller in Ordinary to His Majesty and H.R.H the Duchess of Kent, No. 23 Cockspur Street, London.' Queen Adelaide - Mezzotint with etching of Queen Adelaide as queen. Whole length with curled hair, frilled collar, full gown, and lace shawl. Standing, holding shawl with left hand and a small bouquet of flowers in right. With columns and drapery in the background. Inscription including publisher's address, 'September 1831, Published by M. Colnaghi, Printseller in Ordinary to His Majesty and H.R.H the Duchess of Kent, No. 23 Cockspur Street, London.'
Both are in their original 1830s frames with original hangings. Queen Adelaide has a label to the back, Lady Knightley of Fawsley. These hung in Fawsley Hall, Northamptonshire and would have been sold in 1913 when the contents of the hall were sold in auction on Lady Knightley’s death.
Louisa Knightley (25th April 1842 to 2 October 1913) was a women’s rights activist. She was the daughter of General Edward Bowater who was in action in the Taking of Porto following the Battle of , in the Napoleonic wars, where he was wounded. He saw much action with Wellington and led his men at the Battle of Quatre Bras at Waterloo and was again wounded. He was an equerry to William IV in 1832.
By the time Louisa would have been of age Queen Victoria was on the throne so it seems likely the pair of mezzotints would have been passed down from her father with his connection to William IV. Indeed the Bowater family remained close to the royal family and Louisa, extra lady in waiting to HRH Duchess of Albany (the Duchess of Albany was the widow of Prince Leopold, the youngest son of Queen Victoria).
She later married Rainald Knightley 1st Baron Knightley of Fawsley, a Conservative MP for Northamptonshire South, twenty three years her senior. She was actively involved in politics and an advocate of the suffragette movement. She later wrote “The Journals of Lady Knightley of Fawsley”. She was a founder member of the National Union of Women Workers.
She had a varied and interesting life befriending John Merrick ‘The elephant man’ and he was given a cottage on the estate.
Lady Knightley kept the hall in her possession until her death in 1913. The contents of the house were sold in 1914 over a three week period.
Fawsley Hall was sold in 1975 and is now a hotel.
Both are in the original 1830 frames. The mezzotint of Queen Adelaide has staining to the bottom.
Provenance: Lady Kinightley of Fawsley’s property at Fawsley Hall, most recently from a large 8 bedroomed Northamptonshire country house where they have remained for many years.