Unknown - portrait of Harriet Collier

This miniature portrait is unsigned, but is engraved on the reverse "Harriet, wife of H T B Collier, Commd'r R N, married 1815, died 1851".

Research has indicated the marriage that relates to these dates is that of Henry Theodosius Brown Collier (1792-10 Sep 1872) who married Harriet Nicholas (b.?-d. 22 Oct 1850) on 26 June 1816 at Ashton Keynes, Wiltshire.

The engraved marriage date and death dates are interesting, as it seems Henry was a year out with his dates.

Snippets about Henry's career include; entered the Navy 28 April 1800; on 3 Mar 1819 became master of the Falmouth (22) on the Cork station, but was was invalided from her in the Leeward Islands 21 March 1822; then attained Captain in 1822 as captain of Espiegle (18) on the Home Station.

In the 1851 census, Henry lived as a widower at 25 Upper Grosvenor St, Hanover square, London with his daughters, Harriet 27 (place of birth "Indian Ocean - Mauritius") and Clementine 24 (born Paris, France) and four servants. At this stage he described himself as Captain Royal Navy.

However, as time went on he was promoted up the navy retired list. In the 1861 census, Henry was living at 1 Little Ryder St as a lodger. He was aged 69 and described himself as Vice Admiral, Royal Navy.

Henry was obviously a dashing fellow, as on 26 Jul 1866 he married Maria Griffiths Munn from Amberley Worcs, a lady 54 years younger than himself! In the 1871 census at age 79 he described himself as "retired admiral" and lived at 25 Ryder St, Westminster, London with his wife Maria then 25 and his daughter Rosalie H Collier, born in London and aged 4, together with one servant. Thus he was promoted from captain, to vice admiral, to admiral. I have been advised that his father was Admiral Sir George Collier and his brother was Admiral Sir Francis Collier who was an ADC to Queen Victoria.

His widow and daughter must have been left without an income, as in 1881 a Rosaline H Collier, born London 1867 and presumably his daughter, was employed as a nursery governess to solicitor Willett Ram and his family living at 178 Soaphouse Hill, Halesworth, Suffolk. By 1901 she appears as a 31 year old spinster, sick nurse at North Down Hill School which was a boarding preparatory school for about 25 boys run by a James Deacon Holt at Margate, Kent.


1 comment:

dulce said...

Thank you for the portrait of Henry T B Collier's first wife. His second wife, Maria Griffiths Munn (born Ombersley Worcs), was the sister of my 2 x gt grandfather. Henry Collier died in 1872 followed by Maria in 1875 leaving Rosaline an orphan but obviously not taken under the wing of the well to do Collier family!

My thoughts on Henry's marriage to Maria is that she was employed in his household when they married in 1866 but I have no proof of this.