Mrs. David Garrow, nee Sarah Lowndes
Pastel by John Russell, 1785 or 1785
This image is the property of the
Musée des Tissus de Lyon
Musée des Arts décoratifs de Lyon
It must not be reproduced for any purpose without their express permission.
Sarah Lowndes married the Rev. David Garrow on 5 June 1748, a marriage that would last 40 years. In this marriage Sarah gave birth to ten children, but only five survived to adulthood. William Garrow, their eighth child, was the youngest to achieve adulthood.
The artist John Russell created the pastel portrait of Sarah Garrow in 1785 or 1786. It appears to have been the first in a series of his portraits of members of the Garrow family. By this time Sarah had raised her large family, watching her two elder sons become merchants in India where they were becoming wealthy, and her youngest son starting his career as a barrister. Her youngest daughter had made a good marriage. And her eldest daughter had stayed home and helped with the raising of the large family.
Sarah, with her husband as the headmaster of his own school for young gentlemen, raised her family in their school and home, “The Priory”. The building was an ancient structure, thought to be in earlier times connected to Walden Abbey. It was situated on a nine acre plot on Dury Road near St. Mary the Virgin Church at Monken Hadley, just north of London.
At the time of John Russell’s portrait of Sarah, she had celebrated the birth of 7 grandchildren, including the two children by her son, William with Sarah Dore.
After her 40 years of marriage, Sarah died on 9 January 1789. She lived to see her son, William, work for five years as a barrister in the Old Bailey, and achieve much of the notoriety for which he is celebrated today.
As a wife, she was much regarded by her husband. At his death, the Gentleman’s Magazine of April 1805 reports the following. “His affection for his wife, and regret for her death, led him to visit the room she died in every day; but he did not allow that room to be used or opened by any of his family. She conducted herself, in every respect, suitable to her station; and too much cannot be said to her praise, ….”