Watercolour: This delicate portrait was executed at a pivotal stage in William’s career when he chose to concentrate his efforts on making enough income to support himself and his future wife, Charlotte Foster (1841-65). They married on the 21 October 1864 and traveled to Ilfracombe in Devon for their honeymoon. Charlotte fell gravely ill soon after their arrival and was forced to return to London where she had been diagnosed with advanced consumption. Tragically she died on 13 December 1865.
William’s father, George Richmond also painted a portrait of himself at 21 (in miniature) which is in the collection of The National Portrait Gallery in London.
Etching: It would appear that William Richmond was not proficient at etching as neither the BM or the V&A have any etchings by him in their collections. Therefore it would seem likely that the portrait was an experiment to please himself.
Provenance: Mary Emily Hullah (b 1848-?): Second daughter of the English composer, conductor and teacher of music, John Pyke Hullah and his wife Caroline Hullah, née Foster. A novelist and contributor to, amongst others, The Girls Own Paper, The Woman at Home, the Family Herald and The English Illustrated Magazine. Caroline Hullah’s younger sister Charlotte Foster married William Blake Richmond in 1864.