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Neg. No: (GP) 1647A
Neg. Size: 12"x15"
Neg. Date: 11-03-1898

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copyright V&A


Georgina Lady Belhaven and Stenton, née Watson (1856-1940), 5th daughter of Sir John Watson, 1st Bt. of Earnock and Neisland (Scottish coalowner) and his 1st wife Agnes Simpson, m. (1877) James, 9th Lord Belhaven and Stenton (1822–1893);

Hon Leonore (Agnes Watson Nisbet) Hamilton, later Hon Mrs Robert Borras Whiteside (1878-1946), m (1903) Captain Robert Borras Whiteside (d. on active service in France, 1915);

Hon May (Clarke Mary Nisbet) Hamilton, later Lady Hemphill (1879-1970), m (1913) Rt. Hon. Stanhope Charles John Hemphill, 2nd Baron Hemphill (1853-1919).

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copyright V&A

copyright V&A

In this image, Georgina Lady Belhaven and Stenton (centre) is seen with two of her seven daughters.

Georgina’s father was the architect of his own fortunes and the highly respected developer of the Lanarkshire coalfields as was his former employer and the future husband of Georgina, 9th Lord Belhaven and Stenton.

Having a dutiful and shy mother, Georgina’s two eldest daughters, the Hon Leonore Hamilton (left) and the Hon May Hamilton (right), were described in the press as living “a more quiet life than many girls of [their] rank, and, instead of migrating to London each Season, [they] enjoy the more intellectual delights of Edinbugh”. However, when the time of their debut arrived, the reticent Lady Belhaven put on her best jewels and presented her daughters at the Court. She is seen here with a diamond tiara (convertible to a necklace) and two trefoil motif diamond necklaces, symbolising “luck in love”, along with a diamond choker. On her right shoulder a diamond egret brooch ornaments her gown which is formed of a bodice and petticoat exquisitely embroidered with chenille, amethysts, and diamonds. The Duchesse lace, on the bodice is lined with violet chiffon.

The girls were also said to excel as horsewomen and cyclists and to be among the best dancers in Edinburgh. Both seemed ripe for marriage, but Leonore’s wedding came five years after this image, and May waited 15 years.

For their presentation, Leonore and May wear similar gowns of white satin with diamond embroidery and lilies. Their trains are of white brocade, turned back down one side with various flowers and plumes.

Date: 11 March 1898.

Occasion: The Drawing Room, 11 March 1898: Hon Leonore Hamilton summoned to the Court; Hon May Hamilton presented by her mother, Georgina Lady Belhaven and Stenton.

Location: The Lafayette Studio, 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Descr: FL.

Costume: Court dresses:

(Georgina Lady Belhaven and Stenton) "Velvet train violette de Parme, opened up the centre with white satin panel and feathers. Bodice and petticoat exquisitely embroidered with chenille, amethyste, and diamonds. Real Duchesse lace, which on the bodice is lined with violet chiffon";

(Hon. May Hamilton) "White satin, with diamond embroidery and lilies. Train of white brocade, turned back down one side with flowers and plumes" (see: The Queen, 19 March 1898, p 507).

Costume Supplier: Messrs Bradley, 129 Westbourne Grove, London.

Jewellery: -

Furniture & Props: Painted rococo style backdrop; Louis XV style giltwood canapé; Rococo sideboard; studio Persian rug.

Photographer: Lafayette Ltd., 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Evidence of photographer at work: -

No of poses: 1.

see also:

2732.jpg (31179 bytes)
2732.jpg (31179 bytes)

see also:


On V&A photo CD

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Provenance: Pinewood Studios; acquired 1989.


Biog: Burke's Peerage.

Occasion: The Times, 12 March 1898, p 10a.

Costume: The Queen, 18 March 1898, p 507.

Costume Supplier: The Queen, 18 March 1898, p 507.

Jewellery: -

Reproduced: The Sketch, 18 February 1898, p 51; The Ladies' Field, 26 March 1898, p 376; (version) The Sketch, 18 February 1903, p 164.