George Richmond and Julia Tatham eloped to Gretna Green to be married on January 24, 1831 after Julia’s father, Charles Heathcote Tatham (architect) withdrew his support on receiving an offer for his daughter’s hand from a rich an elderly peer. Palmer lent Richmond £40 and Richmond also noted a loan of £12 from his friend and fellow artist Henry Walter. It was a happy marriage. The couple remained in love throughout their long years together, for they came within eighteen days of reaching their golden wedding. Julia was the perfect wife for Richmond, always providing moral support and encouragement. Even A.H. Palmer, Samuel Palmer’s son usually sparse in his praises, wrote of her ‘wonderful courage and devotion’ and of ‘the immense advantage of her supremely fascinating personality’. Nevertheless the early years of their marriage were anything but easy. During its first eleven months Richmond worked hard, painting seventy-three portraits and teaching, earning £207.19.0, a sum, he wrote, that enabled him ‘ ‘ to live and to pay off a good portion of the debt of £93.0s.3d. which I owed when I married – and from that time forth by Gods blessing my income rapidly increased.
Devon was a popular destination for the ‘Ancients’ including Palmer who first visited Devon in 1833. In 1864, when William Blake Richmond and his wife Charlotte visited Ilfracombe for their honeymoon, Charlotte fell gravely ill soon after their arrival and they were forced to return to London where she had been diagnosed from advanced consumption. Tragically she died on 13 December 1865.
Henry Walter (1799-1849) was a watercolourist and one of the principal members of the group called the ‘ Ancients.’ The inscription on the watercolour shows us that he had accompanied the Richmond’s on their first holiday after their marriage which gives testimony to their friendship. Henry Walter was also instrumental in helping Richmond in his career after introducing him to Henry Stafford Northcote, father of the statesman, the first Earl of Iddesleigh. In the year following Richmond’s marriage Northcote then introduced Richmond to a man who became an important early patron and friend. This was Sir Robert Inglis, whose portrait Richmond drew in 1832.