2/06/2013

Emily Georgiana

Victoria and Albert museum - Burial monument for Emily Georgiana
Emily Georgiana at Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
This is the monument in memory of Emily Georgiana Finch-Hatton, countess of Winchilsea (née Bagot). She was born at Kirby Hall,near Corby, Northamptonshire, England, on the 9th of July 1809. On February the 15th 1837 she married George Finch-Hatton, 10th Earl of Winchilsea and 5th Earl of Nottingham (1791-1858) as his second wife. She died at Haverholme Priory, Lincolnshire, on July the 10th 1848, the day after her 39th birthday.

This monument, honouring her memory, was made by the Scottish artist Lawrence Macdonald, who finished his work in 1850 in Rome. It is made of Carrara marble, and both parts (statue and base) weighs close to 3 tons. It depicts the lady in a very Neo-classical style - inspired by Roman statues it shows the woman draped (in a manner she was most likely never dressed in real life) and reclining on a Antiquity-inspired sofa.

The full text on the base reads:

SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF EMILY GEORGIANA THE BELOVED WIFE OF GEORGE WILLIAM EARL OF WINCHILSEA AND NOTTINGHAM WHO DIED JULY THE 10th 1848 AGED 39 AND WAS BURIED IN THE CHANCEL OF EWERBY CHURCH LINCONLNSHIRE

I
WHEN THE KNELL RUNG FOR THE DYING SOUNDETH FOR ME AND MY CORSE COLDLY IS LYING NEATH THE GREEN TREE

II
WHEN THE TURF STRANGERS ARE HEAPING COVERS MY BREAST COM NOT TO GAZE ON ME WEEPING I AM AT REST

III
ALL MY LIFE COLDLY AND SADLY THE DAYS HAVE GONE BY WHO DREAMED WILDLY AND MADLY AM HAPPY TO DIE

IV
LONG SINCE MY HEART HAS BEEN BREAKING ITS PAIN IS PAST A TIME HAS BEEN SET TO ITS ACHING PEACE COMES AT LAST

(You can also find the line: L.MACDONALD.FECIT.ROMA 1850, i.e. "Made in Rome 1850 by L. Macdonald")

As stated here Emily Georgiana was buried at Ewerby church, Lincolnshire - Ewerby being close to the estate of Haverholme Priory. What is perhaps a bit more surprising is that this monument didn't come from that church to the Victoria & Albert Museum, but from the church St. Mary in Eastwell in Kent (now in ruins) - the rector and church wardens of Eastwell donated it to the museum in 1969. How it ended up there is less clear. It is now one of the central pieces in the sculpture hall.


A couple of side notes - the Earl George William (perhaps best known today, if known at all, as having duelled with Wellington) married again in 1849. He died in 1858.

The estate of Haverholme Priory was, as the name suggests, a monastery to begin with - it had been the home for Gilbertine monks, but it was dissolved by Henry VIII. The place was in the Finch-Hatton family for several generations before it was sold in the 1920's to a rich American woman. She had the place dismantled to ship it over to the US and to have it rebuilt there(!). But before the work was finalized she died in a train accident. The shipping of the stones from England never took place after this, instead it was used in the docks of Liverpool where the cargo had been waiting to be shipped at the time of the accidents. All that remains now of Haverholme Priory are some ruins.

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