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Frederica Gollan (née Farmer)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Frederica Gollan (née Farmer)

by John Edwards
albumen cabinet card, 1880
5 5/8in. x 4 7/8in. (143 mm x 104 mm)
Given by R.S.C. Shapland, 1980
Photographs Collection
NPG x33715

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • John Edwards (1813-1898), Photographer. Artist associated with 9 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Lambert, Miles, Fashion in Photographs 1860-1880, 1991, p. 114

Events of 1880back to top

Current affairs

The Liberals defeat the Conservatives, and Gladstone becomes Prime Minister for the second time, taking over from Disraeli, who retires from politics.
The MP for Northampton and atheist Charles Bradlaugh, refuses to swear on the Bible and so forfeits his right to take his seat. Despite having the support of Gladstone and J.S Mill, it takes six years before he can take his seat, after which he pushes through a new Oaths Act (1888).

Art and science

Thomas Huxley delivers his address 'Science and Culture' at the opening of Josiah Mason's science college in Birmingham (published the following year). Huxley argues that the study of modern literature, combined with knowledge of science, should be promoted in education above classical literature, echoing the claim made by the poet and critic Matthew Arnold. Huxley, an early advocate of 'Darwinism', did much to popularise evolutionary theory.


Buenos Aires finally becomes the permanent capital of Argentina, following sixty years of political debates around the issue. The city was federalised, politically separated from the Buenos Aires Province, and placed under direct control of the national government.
Despite allegations of vote buying, Cecil Rhodes is elected member of parliament for Barkly West in the Cape Colony, marking the start of his political career in South Africa.

Tell us more back to top

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Claire Regnault

01 April 2019, 05:19

Would it be possible that this image was taken in 1880, when Frederica would have been 18? A Miss Farmer was presented to the Queen by a Mrs Farmer at a Drawing Room Sunday 20 Feb, 1880. It is of course a common name, but the age seems to fit. Frederica's parents, James and Julie Farmer, were both presented in May 1874. Te Papa holds a painting of Julie Farmer in her presentation gown. it was bequeathed to the museum by Frederica's own daughter, Julie Gollan.

Lesley Read

13 April 2018, 13:06

Frederica Elizabeth Farmer was born at The Pah, Onehunga, New Zealand on 28th January 1862.
She married Spencer Gollan (her cousin) on 4th Ocober 1893. Frederica and Spencer had four children. She died in 1937 in Westminster, London.

Frederica's parents were Julia Farmer nee Horne and James Farmer. Julia'parents had emigrated in 1850, her father the surgeon-superintendant on one of the Wakefield Plymouth ships. James Farmer arrived in Auckland from Scotland in 1847. He initially worked for Browne and Campbell as a farm manager of their One Tree Hill estate. He bought The Pah farm from them prior to his marriage. He was financially very successful in land speculation, but more especially from his investments in the Coromandel gold mines. He won a fortune and returned to London, Paddington, and to St Andrews, with his family, about 1872.
Spencer Gollan who was born in1860 in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, went to England for his education in 1875, initially at UCL School, later Cambridge. It is likely he stayed often with his Farmer relatives. In the1881 census he is residing with the Farmer family at Paddington, recorded as 'undergraduate'.
Frederica and Spencer's wedding took place at Christchurch, Lancaster Gate, London. The Auckland Star in its 'Anglo-Colonial Notes' writes: The bride wore a dress of richest white satin Duchesse trimmed with exquisite Brussels point (the gift of the bride's mother), tulle veil and orangeblossoms. Her ornaments consisted of a magnificent riviere necklace and pendant of superb diamonds (the bridegroom's gift) and she carried a lovely posy bouquet (also Mr Gollan's gift).

The Harris Gallery, Preston, has a portrait of Frederica's maternal grandmother, Frederica Spratt, and of Spencer's daughter, Julie Gollan.

Lesley Read

26 March 2018, 11:07

I can tell you where Frederica was born, and more. Indeed I now live on a little bit of the same land in Auckland, New Zealand.

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