Lady Waterford Hall Louisa Waterford
Louisa Anne Stuart was born in 1818 in Paris, the second daughter of Sir Charles Stuart who was serving as the British Ambassador. The family spent most of Louisa’s early years in Paris, but in 1830 returned to England to live at Highcliffe Castle on the South Coast. Louisa and her sister Charlotte were both talented artists from a young age, and travelled widely throughout Southern Europe as young women. Louisa married Henry, the 3rd Marquis of Waterford, in 1842 and went to live at Curraghmore in County Waterford, Ireland. In Ireland, she had many ideas and suggestions for improvements to the house and local community including starting a clothing factory, building two churches and starting a school in a wing of their home. In the summer months she would visit London where she met all the Pre-Raphaelites through John Ruskin, and continued to study and practise her art, joining a Pre-Raphaelite sketching club in 1854. Louisa continued to travel widely, visiting Northern Italy in 1858, where she painted some of her best work. A selection of these can be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
In 1859 her husband Henry was killed in a riding accident and Louisa came to live at the Ford estate, which he had inherited from his grandmother. They had no children. They had visited Ford together in most autumns and Louisa was now to stay for the rest of her life.
Louisa then transformed Ford with a new schoolroom, housing for her tenants, improvements to the Castle, visiting the sick and elderly and the introduction of a nurse to Ford Village. As well as the murals in the schoolroom she continued to fill her sketchbook with scenes of everyday life. Many of these scenes, later worked up into watercolours, were on religious subjects and included children.
Louisa Waterford started exhibiting to the public around 1875, the schoolroom murals were finished in 1882 and she died at Ford on the 12th May 1891. After her death there were two large exhibitions of her work in 1892 and 1910. Over 300 pieces of art were catalogued at each exhibition. Louisa Waterford is now recognised as one of the most interesting and gifted artists of her time, and many of her artworks are also displayed in the Hall together with other artefacts from the Victoria era.
Lady Waterford by Robert Franklin - a highly readable biography of Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford. ISBN: 978-18462-4600-5 Pub. 2011
Lord Stuart de Rothesay by Robert Franklin - a biography of Louisa's father, diplomat and creator of Highcliffe Castle in Dorset. ISBN 978-18462-4214-4 Pub. 2008
Kiplin Hall - the beautiful Lady Waterford Room at Kiplin Hall in North Yorkshire displays over 50 of Louisa's watercolours.
Highcliffe Castle - Highcliffe Castle in Dorset, where Louisa and her family lived for many years.