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Margaret Sarah Carpenter








Showing - Portrait of Henrietta Carpenter thought to be her daughter


Margaret Sarah Carpenter was born in Salisbury in 1793 the daughter of Captain Alexander Geddes, who was of an Edinburgh family.


Taught art by a local drawing-master, her first art studies were made from the pictures at Longford Castle, belonging to Lord Radnor. One of her copies of the head of a boy was awarded a gold medal by the Society of Arts.


She went to London in 1814, and soon established her reputation as a fashionable portrait painter. She exhibited a portrait of Lord Folkestone at the Royal Academy in 1814, and a picture entitled ‘The Fortune Teller’ at the British Institution.


She exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy between 1818 and 1866. She also exhibited at the British Institution and at the Suffolk Street Gallery.


Among her exhibited portraits were those of Sir H. Bunbury (1822), Lady Denbigh (1831), and Lady King (1835). Her last work was a portrait of Dr. Whewell.


Three of her works are in the National Portrait Gallery, including portraits of her husband, Bonington and John Gibson, R.A.. There are also several 'leaving portraits' by her in the collection at Eton College. There is also one of her portraits at Frewen College, it has Helen Louisa Frewen and her son Edward. Her "Portrait of a Lady" hangs in the Neill-Cochran House Museum in Austin, Texas, and can be viewed during the museum's public hours or by appointment.


In 1817 she married William Hookham Carpenter, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum and on his death in 1866, Queen Victoria conferred on her a pension of £100 p.a. This award was partly based on her husband's service, but also in recognition of her own artistic merits.


William and Margaret's children included two noted painters, another William and Percy Carpenter who both travelled. She is also the maternal aunt of William Wilkie Collins, 19th century writer and sister-in-law to Wilkie's father, painter William Collins ("The King of Inventors". Catherine Peters).


Margaret died in London, on 13th November, 1872, in her 80th year.


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