Portrait of Elizabeth Mortlock

The Framed Portrait of Elizabeth Mortlock
Photograph by Peter Simmonett
The Unframed Portrait of Elizabath Mortlock showing the Writing hidden by the frame
Photograph by Peter Simmonett
The Writing on the Back of the Frame
Photograph by Peter Simmonett
Detail of the Paper stuck to the Back of the Frame
Photograph by Peter Simmonett

Whilst clearing a house in Mortlock Street, Melbourn, South Cambs, an old painting of an elderly lady was found.  The painting, measuring 117mm x 160mm, was framed and painted on either china or porcelain, a rather unusual medium.

Stuck on the base of the picture was a piece of paper with: 85 J Mortlock 11/4 B&S (or B&G) – old lady, whilst on the back, written in the glaze was written: Mortlock’s Studio   A. Cole  45925

On the back of the frame was written:

Elizabeth Mortlock
Wife of Wm Mortlock
My Great Grandfather
She is buried
Meldreth Church

This allows the identification of the lady as being: Elizabeth Mortlock (nee White), the widow of William Mortlock who died in London in 1807 and the mother of William Mortlock who moved to Meldreth in 1815.  J.G.M. is clearly John George Mortlock who identifies the lady as being his Great Grandmother.  It is likely that Elizabeth came to live with her son, William, in Manting House, Meldreth after the death of he husband and until her eventual death on February 27th 1827, aged 82.  She was then buried in the family vault inside Meldreth Holy Trinity Church.  The Mortlock tablet on the wall of the church bears her name.

It is likely that the artist was A Cole and that the painting was made in Mortlock’s Studio in London.  Since the lady is quite elderly it is presumed that the painting was made sometime during the early 1820s.

It is likely that since the house was in Mortlock Street, Melbourn that it was once owned by the Mortlock family which might explain why it was there.

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