The late Mrs Charles Stuart-Wortley ['Bice' Trollope, painted from life in the 1870s]
Oil on paper laid on linen; labelled 'Beatrice Stuart Wortley, only child of Thomas Adolphus Trollope and wife of the Rt Hon. Charles Stuart Wortley, 1st Baron Stuart Wortley. Painted by Ms. Murch later Mrs Corbet. The property of her daughter Beatrice Susan Theodosia Cecil'
Gifted by the artist to Charles Beilby Stuart-Wortley, 1st and last Baron Stuart of Wortley;
Beatrice Stuart-Worsley's (née Trollope);
by descent to Hon. Beatrice Susan Theodosia Gascoyne-Cecil (née Stuart-Wortley);
by descent to Robert Arthur Gascoyne-Cecil, Assistant to the Director of the Wallace Collection in 1946;
Alice, daughter of Susan Charlotte Buchan, Baroness Tweedsmuir (née Grosvenor); 20 April 1882 - 21 March 1977);
Thence by descent
Grosvenor Gallery, 1883, no 167
Edith Edenborough was born in Australia, but moved to England with her family in 1854. From the mid-1870s she lived in Rome with her husband, the painter Arthur Murch, where she worked with the Italian artist Giovanni Costa and the group of English landscape painters around him, known as the Etruscans. In 1891, following the death of her first husband, Edith married Matthew Ridley Corbet, fellow Etruscan.
‘Bice’ (Beatrice) Trollope, the sitter here, was the niece of the novelist Anthony Trollope, who wrote to a friend in 1876: ‘I wish you could hear our Bice play & sing,—(sing especially). I do not suppose you have heard of her. She is my brother’s daughter - was born in Italy, & has lived there all her life, but is here [London] now. Blumenthal & Arthur Sullivan tell me that they know nothing in private life like her voice. She affects me, as nothing else that I know in music.’ Bice was admired by Ellen Terry and Henry James, and George Eliot said it was ‘a thrilling delight to hear her’. Mrs Edith Murch, as the artist then was, must have met Bice in Italy where they both lived, perhaps at the house of Lady Paget, wife of the British Ambassador in Florence, once the capital of the new Italy before Rome.
This striking and lively picture was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1883, two years after Bice’s death. Her husband, Charles Stuart-Wortley, who was first a barrister then Conservative MP for Sheffield, chose the title as exhibited (‘The Late...’), but an accompanying letter from him to his sister Mary shows that the picture was painted in the 1870s, when Bice was still very much alive. In 1883, Edith Murch hung her portrait of Lady Paget next to this picture in the same exhibition.