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  Themes Homepage > Henrietta Ward, Victorian Artist
Slough at Leisure
Henrietta Ward, Victorian Artist

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Henrietta Ward was the most successful woman artist during the Victorian age. She was born Henrietta Mary Ada Ward in 1833 at 6 Newman, Street, London. She came from a family of artists. Her grandfather was James Ward - animal painter to George III, and her father, George Raphael Ward, was a distinguished engraver.

Henrietta concentrated on doing historic scenes, especially with royalty as her subject matter. She married Edward Ward, also a painter of historic scenes and no relation, in 1848. She did so without her parents consent and as a consequence her mother never forgave her and an aunt disinherited her from her will; Henrietta was 16 and Edward was 32. They spent their honeymoon in Iver.

The Wards came to live in Slough in 1852, first in Sussex Place, then at 11 Upton Park where they stayed for 6 years.

The Wards were great favourites of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Henrietta had several commissions from Queen Victoria. She writes in her diary: 'The Queen! Coming to Upton Park and to our house! Incredible! Impossible! Oh dear! How untidy everything suddenly appeared, and how utterly hopeless it seemed to get things straight!'

While they lived in Slough her two daughters were born. Her son Leslie was the famous cartoonist 'Spy' - he died in 1922.

One picture, which should interest parishioners of St Mary's, is called 'The Young May Queen'. Henrietta painted it in 1853 for the Royal Academy exhibition. In the foreground a girl is dressed as the May Queen and others assisting her, but in the background is the Red Lion public house, Langley.

The Wards were happy at Upton Park, but growing demands made upon Edward with the Royal Academy forced them back to London. Edward died in 1879, and soon after Henrietta was granted a pension of £100.

She started art classes for Ladies, the first of its kind in the country and, as usual, she had royal patronage. Among her pupils were the Duchess and Princess of Albany. Her studio was in William Street, Windsor, and then at Gerald Road, Chester Square, London.

She died in 1924 aged 92 years and is buried at St Laurence, Upton, Slough, along with her husband, father in-law and son.

Thank you to Michael Day who has taken this information from his pamphlet on Henretta Ward. To read the pamphlet, please select the pdf icon on the right. A fully illustrated version of the pamphlet can be bought from Slough Museum.

Henrietta Ward, a Victorian artist in Slough
Henrietta Ward, a Victorian artist in Slough
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  Themes Homepage > Henrietta Ward, Victorian Artist
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