Seeking Harriet Scott

January 10, 2013 at 9:54 am (diaries, europe, history, news, people, portraits and paintings, research, travel) (, , , , , , , , )

harriet scott

This portrait, by Sir Henry Raeburn in 1795, illustrates Harriet Scott. Why am I seeking more information on her? The Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Record Service lists a handful of letters, written by her to Mary Jemima Robinson / Baroness Grantham.

In a letter dated 3 September 1827, Mrs Scott mentions Sir Walter Scott – a recent visit and some Scottish stories dedicated to his grandson, John Hugh Lockhart. An 1829 letter, written from Rome, she mentions Lord and Lady Northampton (Spencer Compton, the 2nd Marquess, and his wife, the former Margaret Maclean Clephane). I’m intrigued to know if more letters exist elsewhere from this same period. There are references to her in the Walter Scott literature. What other members of the Smith&Gosling extended family might she have met?

Harriet was the daughter of Count Hans Moritz von Brühl (in England so long he was known as John Maurice) and Alicia Maria Carpenter. She married Hugh Scott of Harden (Mertoun) in 1795, the year of her portrait.

In writing to her in 1832, Walter Scott commented, “I envied your management of the pencil when at Malta…” So Harriet was an artist in her own right!

Three years later, in 1835, Hugh Scott was confirmed as the 6th Lord Polwarth. So there may be items ID’ed as by Lady Polwarth, though it is the 1820s that interests me the most.

The letters at Beds & Luton sound fascinating, for instance this riveting tale of travel in a bygone era:

“once got a fright having 4 mules to our Coach driven by one post Boy riding the Wheel mule when the first chose to turn short down to a Mill where they usually lived and very near overturned us”


  1. Judit Kiraly said,

    Not sure,if this is relevant but…there are several paintings of a Miss Scott of Harden, that show Nice and the ‘ cottage’ they rented here. The grand tour of Europe was frequent for wealthy families of the era and if she wrote from Rome in1829 it is probably the same group traveling along the Mediterranean

    The paintings of Nice are excellent quality, not amateurish at all.

    However, they are signed Miss and not Mrs. might or might not be her…

    Judit Kiraly
    English-American Library of Nice

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Dear Judit – thank you for writing! I have to wonder if perhaps it is a daughter, then? Surely the designation “of Harden” puts your artist at least somehow within this family. How fascinating! Would LOVE to hear more about them (either post or email me at smithandgosling [at] gmail [dot] com). I’ve never followed up this lead, and know the Northamptons had a VAST social circle. I must see if I can find out more about her and any children.


      • Janeite Kelly said,

        check out this page, on the Scottish Archive Network:

        I suspect your Miss Scott could be Anne Scott (who married Charles Baillie, Lord Jerviswoode), but she did have 2 sisters: Elizabeth Anne and Maria Annabell. Depending on the date, this last – as eldest sister – might very well be the one (by right of being the eldest unmarried daughter) entitled to be called “Miss Scott”

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