The Twickenham Museum
People : Artists and Painters

Edward Seymour
Portrait Painter
d1757

Although described on his tombstone in St Mary’s churchyard as a “Portrait Painter” by Edward Ironside, little of Edward Seymour’s work appears to be recorded. There are three portraits of the Fonnereau family at Christchurch Mansion (museum) in Ipswich, a property owned by the family in the 18th century.The Fonnereaus were originally Huguenots from la Rochelle in France. One of these is an attribution to Seymour; it is of Mrs Ann Fonnereau (1698-1784), sister of Charles Boehm. Boehm lived at Holly House, Twickenham from 1749-56, so this might have established Seymour's connection with the Fonnereaus.

Horace Walpole also notes him as a portrait painter in “Anecdotes of painting in England” (p836, Addenda, 1849). Variant spellings of his name include Seamer, Seamur and Seamor.

He was living in Twickenham by 1716. His son, Charles, was baptised at St Mary’s Church on 30 June that year, noted as the son of Edward and Elizabeth. Three further children, all daughters were later baptised: Lusey (sic) on 26 June 1717, Anna Sophia on 22 May 1722 and Mary on 8 November 1723. Curiously, the mother of Lucy and Anna Maria was named as Frances. The tombstone also records the burial of Lucy (4 April 1752), Anna Sophia (31 December 1760) and Charles, a limner (22 February 1773). Their mother, named Elizabeth in the Register of burials but Anne on the tombstone was buried on 9 December 1773. Mary is not mentioned; perhaps she died in infancy or married and moved away.

Edward was first assessed for rates in 1722, for half that year, and continued to pay rates until 1754. He probably continued to pay until his death, but there are no records of rating assessment for 1755, 1756 and 1757. Where he lived from 1722 can only be conjectured as yet but from the assessment value and his position in the assessment for 1738 it could have been in Sion Row, newly built by 1722, or nearby. The assessments for 1738 are listed geographically rather than alphabetically.

Family records

Baptisms:

30 June 1716 Charles Seymour, son of Edward & Elizabeth
26 June 1717 Lusey Seymour, daughter of Edward & Frances
29 May 1722 Anna Sophia Seamor, daughter of Mr Edwards & Mrs Francis (sic)
8 Nov 1723 Mary Seamer, daughter of Mr Edward & Mrs Elizabeth

Burials:

Lucy Seymer,4 April 1752
Mr Seymour, 3 Feb 1757
Anna Sophia, 31 December 1760
Elizabeth (Ann Frances) Seymour 9 December 1773 (Anne Seymour in Ironside)
Charles Seymour, Limner, 22 Feb 1773

Edward's marriage was to Elizabeth Whitton, daughter of Francis (1656-c1715) and Lucy, née Lightfoot (1666-1737). Francis was a Citizen of London and a merchant tailor. He is recorded paying church rates in Twickenham from 1702 until 1713, the year that the church collapsed. His name does not appear in the list of subscribers for the rebuilding and the next entry, for 1716 was for Mrs Whitton, perhaps recently widowed, who continued to pay until her death in 1737. The Whitton's residence in Twickenham is not known but Lucy may have moved to Sion Row in about 1722, the year in which Edward was first assessed for church rates. His ancestry has not been established.

The Lightfoots were an armigerous family of substance; Lucy may have been the daughter of Francis, son of John Lightfoot Esq of Grays Inn.

further reading:.

Anecdotes of painting in England, with some account of the principal artists, Horace Walpole, Addenda, p836, 1849

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