Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait miniature of Lady Hester Astley (née Browne) (1767-1867), wearing white gown and bandeau 

Nathaniel Plimer (1757–1822)

Portrait miniature of Lady Hester Astley (née Browne) (1767-1867), wearing white gown and bandeau, Nathaniel Plimer
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Watercolour on ivory
18th Century
Oval, 3 in. (75mm.) high
 
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Hester Astley was the 4th daughter of Sir Jacob Astley, 5th Baronet and Hester Browne. This portrait was probably painted to commemorate the birth of her first son, Sir Jacob Astley, 16th Lord Hastings, in 1797. Hester went on to have six further children with Sir Jacob, who became MP for Norfolk in 1787 (until his death in 1817).

In 1819, Hester’s eldest son, Sir Jacob Astley, married Georgiana Caroline Dashwood. The couple were at the centre of a scandal, immortalized in a cruel cartoon by Cruickshank in 1827, when Georgiana had a very public affair and subsequent daughter with Thomas Garth.

The Norfolk Record Office holds some letters from Hester detailing life in the county – in 1805 she wrote “'Norfolk is at this time very dull & stupid & nothing talked of but sheep clipping”. She died at Burgh Hall, Norfolk, in 1867.
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