Waldensian Review No.124 Summer 2014 - Page 15

lington’s sister-in-law) in 1810. However, it has also been suggested that the Duke himself may possibly have been Louisa’s father and that Lord Erskine, Lady Louisa’s husband at the time of Louisa’s birth, was ‘out-manoeuvred’ by her uncle, the Marquis of Anglesey and the Duke of Wellington, who was to become her godfather. Erskine seems to have offered little resistance to his wife’s long-standing relationship with Murray and it is probable that before her parents’ marriage in 1825 Louisa was known as Miss Erskine. So it is likely that Louisa was brought up much as any other aristocratic child would have been in early 19th-century England. Being a girl, she would have been educated at home, probably by a governess who would have given her a grounding in the basics – focusing on deportment, sewing, drawing and French – and she seems to have been a very good musician and, as we will see later, she spoke good Italian. She also grew up with, and retained throughout her life, a strong admiration for Queen Victoria, who was about her age. She had cousins on both sides of the family, although as Lady Louisa and Sir George were in their 40s and 50s when she was born, many of her cousins were much older than her. However, there is little chance of really knowing much about how she spent her early years; but we do however know perhaps what she looked like at the age of about four or five. In Kenwood House, on Hampstead Heath, North London is a painting of a little girl by Sir Thomas Lawrence, the President of the Royal Academy. The painting was commissioned by Lawrence’s Patron, Sir George Murray and is entitled simply ‘Miss Murray’. Knighted in 1815, Lawrence was one of the three great English portrait painters, had succeeded Sir Joshua Reynolds as Painter in Ordinary to King George III and was known as ‘Il Tiziano inglese’ [the English Titian]. After the artist’s death in 1830, Sir George agreed to the picture being exhibited under its true title ‘Miss Murray’ in a memorial exhibition of Lawrence’s work and another engraving was made in 1839. With Murray’s death in 1846, the portrait became Louisa’s property and was seen no more until it was sold in 1891 as part of her estate. The painting has also been compared to pictures of the child actress Shirley Temple. However the enduring popularity of ‘Miss Murray’ has led it to be compared with works by Gainsborough and it ‘may well be the most reproduced image of a British child, from Victorian engravings to boxes of chocolates and biscuit tins’. The next event in Louisa’s early life that we know of, other than the death of her mother in 1842, is her marriage at the age of 21 to Captain Henry George Boyce (1817–1848). The wedding took place at St George’s, Hanover Square in London and was officiated at by her cousin’s husband, the Rev. Arthur Isham, Vicar of Weston Turville (Bucks), who later officiated at Murray’s funeral in 1846. Boyce was a colleague of her father, having been Murray’s aide-de-camp in 1842 and a Captain in the 2nd Life Guards. So, on Thursday 14 September 1843, Louisa became Mrs Henry Boyce. It is possible that their home was 3, Upper Wimpole Street, near Regents Park, despite the fact that 13