The Children of Benjamin and Elizabeth Mayson

1 portrait by Henry Dorling

The Children of Benjamin and Elizabeth Mayson, attributed to Henry Dorling, 1848 - NPG 5473 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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The Children of Benjamin and Elizabeth Mayson

attributed to Henry Dorling
watercolour, 1848
14 1/8 in. x 11 3/4 in. (359 mm x 298 mm)
Bequeathed by Mrs Beeton's granddaughter, Marjorie Kilby (née Beeton), 1982
Primary Collection
NPG 5473

Sittersback to top

Artistback to top

  • Henry Dorling (died 1873), Clerk of the course at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Artist associated with 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Isabella Mayson was the one of the four children of Benjamin and Elizabeth Mayson. This portrait of the Mayson children is thought to have been made by Henry Dorling, whom Elizabeth Mayson married after the premature death of her first husband, and with whom she had another thirteen children. In 1856, Isabella married the publisher Samuel Orchard Beeton and after her marriage worked as the Assistant Editor of the English-woman's Domestic Magazine. Her comprehensive Book of Household Management first appeared in parts (1859-60) and then as a book in 1861. Mrs Beeton died at twenty-eight of puerperal fever after the birth of her fourth child.

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1848back to top

Current affairs

Led by Feargus O'Connor, up to 50,000 Chartist members meet on Kennington Common, to form a procession and present another petition to Parliament. Although there was a large military and police presence, the rally was peaceful.

Art and science

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood a group of English painters, poets and critics, is founded by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt, intent on reforming art by rejecting the artists who imitated Raphael and Michelangelo. Instead, they advocated a return to a close observation of nature, invested with the intense detail, colours, and compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art, producing works layered with symbolism.


Following the fall of the French monarchy, revolutions take place in France, Germany and Italy, provoked by a widespread desire for political independence from repressive regimes, and a range of economic problems which had caused unemployment, food shortages and poverty. Louis Napoleon becomes the first President of France's Second Republic.
The first gold rush takes place in America, after gold is found on the Sacramento river, California.

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Diane Stewart

16 February 2018, 17:56

Yes. I can help you ! My ancestor Henry Dorling, whose wife, Emily, died leaving him with 4 children. Married Elizabeth Mayson (nee Jerram) in 1843. She has 3 daughters (the eldest being Isabella, the future Mrs. Beeton) and a son by her late husband Benjamin Mayson. it is these 4 children who are pictured above. as a point of interest Henry and Elizabeth went on to have a further 13 children. He was the first Clerk of the Course in 1840 (Epsom Racecourse). he housed the children under the Grandstand !

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