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Frances Ann Biddulph, Lady Parker, wife of Admiral Sir William Parker, Bt (1781-1866)


Artist: Richard Cosway

wearing white dress with gold heart shaped pendant suspended from a gold chain around her neck
The reverse with inscription Cosway/ miniature painter/ London recommended by Mrs. Tennant

Frances Anne Biddulph was the daughter of Sir Theophilus Biddulph, 5th Bt. and Hannah Prestridge. She married Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Parker, 1st Bt., son of George Parker and Elizabeth Turton, on 9 June 1810. She died on 9 January 1871.From between 9 June 1810 and 10 June 1810, her married name became Parker.

William Parker was born at Annington Hall, near Market Drayton, Shropshire, in 1781. His naval career began with the war of the French Revolution and lasted until after the Crimean War. His career at sea started when he was just twelve years old, being entered into the books of HMS Orion in 1793 and becoming Lieutenant at the age of fifteen. After serving in five other ships, in 1801 he was appointed as acting post-captain to HMS Ossian, before being placed in command of HMS Amazon for several years. He served in the Mediterranean under Nelson and sailed with him to the West Indies in 1805. From 1806 to 1810 he was employed mainly on the coasts of Spain and Portugal and from 1811 to 1812 in the Channel. In 1830 he had obtained the rank of Rear-Admiral. When the Amazon was sent home for a cleaning, William Parker took the opportunity for a leave of absence and married Frances Ann. At this time the miniature is likely to have been taken and presented to William for him to take with him on his travels.

The use of predominately monochrome colours in the background of this miniature is one that has been noted in other examples painted by Cosway towards the end of his career. Notably in the portrait of Arthur Duke of Wellington, 1808, at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It is likely to have been painted circa 1810, to commemorate her marriage to William.

It has not been possible to establish with any certainty who the Mrs. Tennant is, referred to on the reverse of the miniature. It is possible however, that it the Mrs. Tennant who was the daughter of Lord Yarborough a Patron of Cosway's.
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Provenance                 By descent within the family of the sitter.
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