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Georgina Mary (née Cottin), Lady De Tabley

(1794-1859), Wife of 1st Baron De Tabley

Sitter in 2 portraits

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Georgina Mary (née Cottin), Lady De Tabley, by and published by Henry Meyer, after  Sir Thomas Lawrence - NPG D35142

Georgina Mary (née Cottin), Lady De Tabley

by and published by Henry Meyer, after Sir Thomas Lawrence
stipple engraving, published 19 June 1823
NPG D35142

Georgina Mary (née Cottin), Lady De Tabley, by Edward McInnes, published by  Graves & Warmsley, after  Sir Thomas Lawrence - NPG D35143

Georgina Mary (née Cottin), Lady De Tabley

by Edward McInnes, published by Graves & Warmsley, after Sir Thomas Lawrence
etching, published 1 October 1841
NPG D35143

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Rita Lamb

03 December 2019, 09:42

"Georgiana Maria Cottin was born on February 28th 1794...and St George's Hanover Square.
Her parents were Josiah and Lavinia Cottin; at this time Josiah was a Captain in the 10th Light Dragoons, whose Colonel-Commandant...(was) the Prince of Wales."

Georgiana's father was a descendant of a French Huguenot family and her mother the daughter of Sir William Chambers, architect to George III. At her christening two of her godparents were the Prince Regent and Mrs Fitzherbert.

She married Sir John Fleming Leicester at Hampton Court by Special Licence on November 10th 1810 and they settled at Sir John's estate at Tabley in Cheshire, where they had two sons.

When her husband died in 1827 Georgiana left Tabley House the next day to stay with her sister-in-law, Mrs Charles Leicester, whose eldest son Frederick had recently been appointed Sir John's domestic chaplain. Rumours of a romantic relationship between the widow and her young nephew soon began circulating. Her husband's executor heard of them:-

"What a horrid business Lady de Tabley is going to make of it. Marry her nephew...The infatuated woman is perhaps by this time so. I heard of it only by an anonymous letter." (Letter from Thomas Lister Parker to Revd. William Jackson, dated July 8th 1828)

Georgiana and Frederick Leicester married at an unknown location on July 10th 1828. As marriage between a nephew and aunt was then prohibited by the Church of England Frederick was obliged to resign from his living under threat of being expelled by his bishop.

In time however the marriage evidently became accepted: the 1851 census shows Georgiana and Frederick living in Brighton at a property adjacent to that of her elder son, George, 2nd Lord de Tabley.

The two remained together until Georgiana died at Brighton on November 5th 1859, and although Frederick subsequently remarried, on his death in 1873 he chose to be buried with her.

Andrew Morton

23 July 2019, 18:26

In a letter to his stepdaughter in 1828 the diarist Creevey wrote,

‘Dear Mr and Mrs Smythe Owen and I have lived in the most perfect harmony since 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon, but other human being have I seen none, except the parson at the church yesterday, whom I was in hopes to have seen more of. He is Mr Leicester, nephew to the late Lord de Tabley. . . . Having known his father in the days of my youth at Cambridge as by far the most ultra and impertinent dandy of his day I was curious to see the son. It was precisely the same thing over again. This beautiful youth ( for such he is), aged 27, has been appointed by the Court of Chancery guardian to his nephew Lord de Tabley, aged 16. About six weeks ago, he was married to his aunt Lady de Tabley, who expects to be confined next month. I am sorry she is not [illegible] for the second marriage. On her part she forfeits £500 a year out of her jointure of £1500; and his diocesan, the Bishop of Litchfield, has given him notice he shall eject him from his living for marrying his aunt, which reduces his income to nothing.‘

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