Original Watercolor: Ladies of Llangollen

Currently (January 2021) for sale at “Karen Taylor Fine Art“, a lovely little depiction of the Ladies of Llangollen, by Lady Emily Dundas. There is a YouTube video, in which Karen Taylor speaks about the work and its artist.

Alas, the sale is marked only “enquire”, so I cannot tell you the asking price. As Taylor describes it, “It is not altogether kind [ie, flattering], but it is very well drawn and in sparkling condition.” Click on the picture to get to the website, the video, and an up-close of the portrait.

Of the artist, as mentioned in Taylor’s write-up, Lady Emily‘s death date is repeated over and again on the internet (died 1900), but not her birth date. Taylor finds she married in 1847 – such an old husband (born 1785) could have had an equally old second wife OR a bright young thing. In short, did Emily Dundas, née Reynolds-Moreton, actually MEET the Ladies of Llangollen?? Or, did she base her little work on existing prints – or her own imagination.

Identified as one of five daughter of the 1st Earl of Ducie – we find for him a life-span of 1776-1840; but more importantly a marriage in December 1797. Even if the four daughters were born one after the other, Emily would not have been born until around 1801, if not later. [see below, I find her next eldest sister, if correct, born in 1806!] Son Henry, (always easy to find the “heir”), was born in May 1802. _IF_ she met the Ladies, Emily would have been, at the far end, a young woman in her twenties

Taylor tells us that Lady Emily’s step-niece, Augusta “assembled the friendship album” from which this drawing came. Always stabs me in the heart when albums get disassembled, and sold piecemeal. More profitable, of course. A clue to “asking price” is the self-portrait of the artist — asking price £950. The self-portrait is CHARMING!



Addendum – the siblings of Lady Emily

eldest sister:
Lady Mary Reynolds-Moreton (1798-16 Dec 1842); married 1822 William 7th Earl of Denbigh

Henry Reynolds-Moreton (8 May 1802-2 Jun 1853)

Hon. Augustus Henry Moreton Macdonald of Largie (24 Jun 1804-14 Feb 1862)

third daughter:
Lady Charlotte Reynolds-Moreton (1806-1881); married 1834 Maurice 1st Baron FitzHardinge

Hon. Percy Reynolds-Moreton (18 Jun 1808-15 Mar 1886)

fourth daughter [younger or older than Percy, born 1808?]:
Lady Emily Reynolds-Moreton (d. 1900); married 1847 Adm. Sir James Dundas

youngest sister:
Lady Catherine Reynolds-Moreton (1815-1892); married 1841 John Raymond-Barker [his daughter Augusta (1827-1900) assembled the friendship album]



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lbaskin
    Jan 23, 2021 @ 10:49:49

    Thanks Elizabeth. I had seen this in the past, but very expensive! Sending best, Lisa


  2. Rose McMahon
    Jan 23, 2021 @ 11:42:05

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve passed it on to the people currently running Plas Newydd. Let’s hope they are able to acquire it for the collection.


    • Janeite Kelly
      Jan 23, 2021 @ 14:12:14

      HI, Rose – gosh! I never thought of Plas Newydd; guess I always _assume_ sellers CONTACT such entities beforehand… That so obviously is often NOT the case.

      Maybe like the recent Austen Letters and JA’s House Museum at Chawton — you can have a fund-raiser around the project.

      I’ve a comment to approve – Lisa Baskin commented on it with “very expensive!”

      Must say, once such items get into the hands of those making great profit from their sales, the prices simply skyrocket (I’ve seen it myself with a couple of Smith and Gosling items). Would be nice to think an entity like Plas Newydd would get “a break” for giving it a good and “public” home.

      Keep me apprised of any news (forward or not). k


      • Rose McMahon
        Jan 23, 2021 @ 15:08:29

        I’ve been told Plas Newydd is trying to borrow it as they can only raise 50% of the costs from a grant. I’m rather puzzled at this as when I was there the money donated through a box in the house was ring-fenced to purchase items for the collection, and collecting opportunities were/are rare, so there should be oodles of money.

        One chance to acquire an image of The Ladies was missed when one of the staff did not pass on the approach that was made to place it in the museum’s collection. Instead they put the donors in touch with a local collector, a personal friend of that member of staff.

      • Janeite Kelly
        Jan 23, 2021 @ 15:15:23

        Chawton had appeals to the public ON TOP of any “National Lottery” monies (for instance) that could be raised.

        50% of how much… See the email I just sent you.

        As you say, collecting opportunities are VERY rare, I”m sure.

        The tale you tell about the missed opportunity – sad, indeed.


      • Rose McMahon
        Jan 23, 2021 @ 15:23:14

        I’m afraid I don’t know the sum involved.

  3. Karen Taylor
    Jan 14, 2022 @ 12:12:04

    I am delighted to see the video from my website here and also my research into Lady Emily Dundas, her sisters and niece Augusta Raymond-Barker.

    The lovely watercolour of the Ladies is still for sale. I have been in touch with Plas Newydd and have taken the work there to show them. I would like to see it in the collection there and have offered to lend it to them. Covid has evidently slowed everything down but all things are still possible.


    • Janeite Kelly
      Jan 14, 2022 @ 12:28:56

      Hi, Karen – thanks for commenting!

      As you say, covid makes personal interaction so difficult nowadays… Nice, though, that you’ve managed to take the little work to Plas Newydd. Many, I’m sure, would enjoy seeing it in their collection. So fingers crossed that something works out.



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