Another Ellen Sharples update

Having continued our research we have just come across quite an insightful little article written in Western Daily Press Wednesday 11th January 1899.

Mrs Sharples was much struck, as she witnessed the dreadful reverse of fortune consequent upon the French Revolution, by the desirability that every woman should have, if possible, the means of earning her livelihood, if necessary, or to use her own words:-

“I had frequently thought that all well-educated females, particularly those who had only small fortunes should at least have the power, if they did not exercise it, by the cultivation of some available talent, of obtaining the conveniences and some of the elegancies of life, and to be enabled always to preserve that respectable position in society to which had been accustomed.

I decided, soon after our arrival in Philadelphia, where Congress then assembled, to make any drawing, which had been learnt and practised as an ornamental art for amusement, available to a useful purpose.  Mr Sharples was usually engaged drawing in crayon the portraits of the most distinguished Americans, foreign Ministers and other distinguished visitants from Europe. Copies were frequently required; these I undertook, and was, so far successful also have as many commissions as I could execute;  they were thought equal to the originals, price the same; we lived in good style associating in the first society.

On our return to Bath Mr Sharples again engaged in mechanical studies, I was particular interested in copying pictures in miniature, and applied with great attention and perseverance, most anxious to attain excellent in the art. I was too nervous to practice drawing original portraits, being always exceedingly agitated when I attempted them, although the few I executed obtained the greatest praise. Rolinda had not this failing, she conversed with a person sitting for a portrait with as much ease as if unemployed, and made her sitters equally at their ease”.

 The article ends by confirming her last addresses in England following her return with her son James and her daughter Rolinda – Sion Spring House, Clifton, Bristol; afterwards No. 2 Lower Harley Place, finally removing as a tenant to No. 3 St Vincent’s Parade, where she died.

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