Regency “It Girls” @ Bonhams

November 27, 2012 at 9:40 pm (diaries, fashion, history, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Thrilling happenings today. Over the last few days, with a new contact, I’ve been digging into the background of Bersted Lodge — this was the estate of Thomas and Susannah Smith, great aunt and uncle to my Emma Smith; and therefore Aunt and Uncle to her Aunt Emma.

So imagine my complete surprise to come across a watercolor – at Yale (in their British Center for Art) – of Bersted Lodge, done in 1831, by Anne Rushout. Who was she? Had she been at the Smiths’  Bersted Lodge in Bognor Regis in 1831? In one word: YES!

So I’ve been digging and digging…

and ultimately arrived at this little beauty, up for auction at Bonhams this past summer; you will NEVER guess what it sold for:

You may click on the picture to be taken to Bonhams site for a full description of this divine trio, but I will ID them:

  • Anne Rushout (c1768-1849)
  • Harriet Rushout (d. 1851), married Sir Charles Cockerell
  • Elizabeth Rushout (c1774-1862), married 1st Sydney Bowles; 2nd John Wallis Graeve (or Grieve?)

It was Harriet’s married name – Cockerell – that had me crowing: I remember transcribing a name that could be either Lady Cocherell or Lady Cockerell. Now I know… And I’ve not only Rushouts and Cockerells, I’ve at least one Mr Bowles, too.

But to get back to my trio of beauties.

Evidence suggests this work was commissioned by SYDNEY BOWLES – which makes it that much more special to me, for he obviously did not have a long life, if his widow remarried by 1819. Bonhams estimated the piece to sell for £10-15,000. It sold for an ASTOUNDING £67,250 !!! Whoa. Wonder: to whom??

I have found that the University of London has diaries (1828-1849) for Anne Rushout, including the time (I hope…) she spent at Bersted Lodge in 1831; Oxford’s Bodleian has letters to Harriet Lady Cockerell (alas, possibly not early enough for me – 1839-1850). But the interesting and somewhat perplexing note is that a 1958 article, based on diary entries for Anne Rushout, has her diaries spanning 1791 to 1845!?! I could easily suspect a division of the diaries in someone’s will; but what accounts for the additional years at the end?

I’d welcome any information on ANY of the Rushout Girls – but especially anything that puts them in contact with Mrs Thomas Smith (née Susan or Susannah Mackworth Praed); and especially about the whereabouts of those early-early 1791-1827 diaries belonging to Anne.


  1. Richard Bertocci said,

    The diaries in London start in 1826; the early ones were sold in 1965 and have gone missing.

    The original of the picture is by Andrew Plimer and is in the Huntington.The girl in the middle is Anne. A lot of the information in the auction write-up is simply wrong

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Richard —

      How terrible to hear the early diaries are missing – may one hope it’s just “for the present” and that they turn up? Have you seen any of the later diaries? I’m dying to know if she mentioned her visit to Bersted Lodge.


      • said,

        I have spent years working on her family and I think I would probably know if the other diaries can be found. You never know what will turn up. It has been over 50 years since the contents of Anne’s childhood home were auctioned and the buyers are dying off and their estates are being liquidated. I have found a couple of things that have re-appeared. Her watercolors turn up regularly but those are sold for what they are, not who she was.I was able to buy her great grandfather’s account book recently so things do surface.

        I have read the diaries in London–they are increasingly the spiritual ruminations of an old woman whose mind was probably failing. I had no interest in her day-to-day activities and was looking mainly for family matter so I have no recollection of her social life. However, at that stage she was mainly going to chapel (consider the implications of that that for a daughter of a peer) and transcribing large sections of sermons and underscoring them.

        Anne died in 1849. My guess is that her brother who died in 1859 took the diaries he could find and brought them to their childhood home, Northwick Park, were they were auctioned in 1964-1965. The diaries in London are cataloged as all being by Anne but some of them are her brother’s.

        By the way,the miniature that caught your attention was probably done in 1788–a little early for your period but that sort of fashion did not change much in the next 20-30 years. If you like family romance and tussles of the period, try this: Anne was engaged to a young man who at the last minute threw her over and married her younger sister. The sister and the man were given a respectable wedding to paper over the event but then were encouraged to go to the continent where he died and is buried in the English cemetery in Rome where Keats ended up. Anne never married (she was rich, very nice, talented and quite beautiful) and wore a locket with a cutting of the man’s hair for the rest of her life. You can’t make this stuff up.


        Ric Bertocci

  2. Julia said,

    Hello, Richard..
    it’s not about Anne’s diaries, but still..
    i have a book which belonged hon.Anne Rushout. it’s a book of english poetry, vol.1. i bought it accidentally in London in May 2011 on the Portobello market (actually i’m from Moscow, Russia). i noticed 2 stickers (one with a coat of arms; the other “Honorable Anne Rushout”) and old ink inscription. the inscription says: -1796- given me by my dear Lord Northwick.
    so, now i know who she was :)

    • Richard Bertocci said,


      My book on the Rushouts and their home, Northwick Park, is now on Amazon for $3. You do not need a Kindle to read it–you can download for free a Kindle app that works on almost any devise. Simply Google “Kindle app for [insert name of devide–ipad, pc, etc]. Anyway it will tell you more than you want to know about Anne and her family.



  3. Janeite Kelly said,

    Hi, Ric and Julia — very nice to hear from you both.

    How wonderful, Julia, to have *found* that copy of poetry. Fabulous that you dig a bit and found who she was. I very much recommend the Yale website; they’ve a few pictures posted – but are exceptionally cooperative in letting people have digital copies.

    And Ric: congratulations on the book. Can’t wait to have a look!! (I’m among those who do NOT have a Kindle)

    To readers of 2Teens: here’s the link for Ric’s book:

  4. Jon O'Donoghue said,

    Dear Janeite,

    I have the diaries 1791-1846! I started transcribing them a few years ago but have recently moved house and they’re in storage. When I unpack them I’ll see if Bersted Lodge is mentioned at all.

    Ric – very interesting to hear your findings and I’ll also download the book.

    Jon O’Donoghue

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Jon – what FAB News!! I love it when things turn up. Can’t wait to hear more. I’ll email you.

      And you will really enjoy Ric’s book.


    • Anne Strathie said,

      Dear Jon
      I wondered if you had made more progress on transcribing the diaries or whether you had moved on to other projects – I’m interested in the Rushout family, including Anne, who appears to have travelled widely.

  5. Janeite Kelly said,

    Hi Jon — did you get my email? never did hear back from you.


  6. Mike Reid said,

    $96232.00 for a framed portrait in enamel by Henry Bone, a miniature after the original miniature by Plimmer. Compare that to an Original Mezzotint in pristine condition printed on April 1,1920 by Alfred Bell & Co., Publishers; 6 Old Bond Street, London W. Retail $800.00 for the mezzotint and $578.50 for custom frame and museum glass purchased at a going out of business auction Jan. 2012 for the princely bid of $125.00 plus 10%buyers premium and tax. Deal of a lifetime and I do not need a magnifying glass to see the image. Thank you for the information, I wondered if their father dying intestate had any negative impact on their lives, apparently not.

    • Mike Reid said,

      Correction, make that their brother John the V Lord Rushout who died intestate.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Mike – you make some good points!

      As to the dying intestate: this was such a litigious era, and women often overlooked in official wills – it may have been less negative than you might think. (But I don’t really have specific information about them to insist upon that thought.)

      Thanks for writing – and “enjoy” your piece of history.


      • richard bertocci said,

        The father of “The Three Graces”, Sir John Rushout, became the first Baron Northwick in 1799. His son, also named John, was the second Baron
        Northwick and he indeed died intestate in 1859 causing the auction of his famous art collection. As to the girls, Ann inherited a bundle from her uncle. She died in 1849. Harriet married well and became the mistress of Seizencote. Elizabeth who was a problem child actually precipitated the sale of the art collection because was an heir in the intestacy. The whole story can be found in my book Northwick Park which can be found on Amazon. The kindle version will work for you but make sure to click on the footnotes because that’s where all the good stuff is.

  7. zimbodee said,

    My wife is a Bowles girl (maiden name) and she treasures a portrait of the ‘Three Graces’ (Rushout girls) in our living room, handed down through her family. It may very well be a replica of a popular print but it does present an admirable representation of dignified and pretty women. Even though distant cousins, I can tell she is related…. graceful & beautiful :-)

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Zimbodee — I’d have to refresh my memory as to what was produced at the time. Your “replica” could indeed be an etching made and distributed at the time.

      In any case, how thrilling to have such a beautiful art piece AND a living model. I heartily suggest (if you haven’t already) visiting the Yale Art website. I haven’t looked in some little while, but Yale has been fabulous to work with in the past. They believe the items held in their collections are “public”. Of course, it was pre-covid when I last contacted them – depending on staffing and schedules, they might require more time. But to SEE (even in digital format) the work produced in sketchbooks was a thrill for me, and I am no relation!

      Thanks for visiting and for commenting! k

      • Richard Bertocci said,

        The print is taken from a large miniature by Andrew Plimer which is in the Huntington Library in Pasadena California.

        If you want to know more about it (and the Bowles family) there are several pages in my book Northwick Park which is available on Kindle. You can see a color copy of the original Plimer miniature in the book.

      • Janeite Kelly said,

        Hi, Richard – I know your book! Thank you for pointing out more information about the print. k

  8. Anne Strathie said,

    I’ve enjoyed your book, Richard, which I read following carrying out some local research on the Rushout/Northwich/Bowles family. I find George Bowles a very interesting character, particularly as his will appears to have been intented to give several women and less-well-off members of his family financial independence rather than add to the wealth of those he could have left his money to if he had followed more regular Georgian custom and practice.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi, Anne – fascinating that you’ve been researching! Thanks for commenting. k

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