Typical Women Of The Time
C.W. Jefferys' notes about this picture from The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Volume 2
Frances Deering, born Boston, Mass., married 1769, John Wentworth (later knighted), Governor of New Hampshire, and Surveyor-General of the King's Woods in North America, two weeks after the death of her first husband. At the Revolution, Wentworth, as a Loyalist, went to England. In 1792 he was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. Lady Wentworth is described by contemporary chroniclers as beautiful, accomplished and gay. She died in England in 1813, aged sixty-eight. Her husband survived her until 1820, dying at the age of eighty-four. Their country estate at Bedford Basin was lent to the Duke of Kent, who occupied it with Madame de St. Laurent during his stay at Halifax. Copley's portrait shows the costume of the late eighteenth century.
Mary, eldest daughter of John Stuart, Sheriff of the Johnstown District, Upper Canada, married, 1331, Allan Napier MacNab. She died in 1846, while her husband was Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He was knighted for his services in the Rebellion of 1837, and became Prime Minister of Canada. The portrait illustrates the fashion of hair dressing and the sleeves and bodice of the late eighteen-forties.
Alphonsine Therese Bernardine Julie de Montgenet de St. Laurent, Baronne de Fortisson, met Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, in Martinique. She accompanied him to Quebec, and here and in Nova Scotia and in England, for twenty-eight years she lived with him as his morganatic wife, presiding over his household with dignity and propriety. On the marriage of the Duke to the widow of the Prince of Leiningen in 1818 for reasons of state, she retired to a convent. Both she and the Duke were close friends of the de Salaberry family, and acted as god-parents to one of the younger sons. The portrait is from a miniature of the early nineteenth century.
The two young women were daughters of the Hon. William McGillivray, a member of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada, and a director of the North West Company of fur traders. The portraits show the costume and hair-dressing of about 1820-1830. Note the high waist and straight girdle, in contrast to the deep pointed bodice of the later period worn by Lady MacNab.
Lady Hunter, Jean Dickson, heiress of James Dickson, of Anton's Hill, Berwickshire, married Lieut.-Col. Martin Hunter in 1797, and died in 1844. When her husband was appointed Brigadier-General in command of the forces in the Maritime Provinces in 1803, she followed him with her children the next year. Letters and journals written by herself and her husband, containing much valuable material on the social conditions of the time, have been privately printed. Transcripts of them are in the possession of Mr. G. H. Markham, of Saint John, N.B., to whom I am indebted for copies of their portraits, and much information concerning them. Her letters reveal her as an acute observer, with a sense of humour and a faculty of graphic description. They are a source of information for the social history of the Maritime Provinces from 1803 to 1812 as valuable as the Diary of Mrs. Simcoe is for Upper Canada.
- Jefferys, Charles W. (1945) The Picture Gallery of Canadian History Volume 2, p.144