A Vision of Beauty: Chapter 7

A Biography of Julia Prinsep Stephen by Marion Dell.

© CC BY-NC-SA unless otherwise stated; image copyrights are listed in the credits and they are not licensed for re-use.

The Jacksons at Well Walk – new friends and relationships

1. John Jackson 1864. Photograph by his sister-in-law, Julia Margaret Cameron.

Julia’s father, John Jackson, travelled from Calcutta to Suez, overland to Alexandria, and from there to Southampton, arriving on 23 May 1855.

Beginning a new life, with the family reunited at last in England, must have been a very happy time, but not without its difficulties and many adjustments for them all. John Jackson had not been in England for 25 years. Mia and Julia had lived there without him for seven years. Adeline and Mary had been without their father for eleven years. They were young women and though he had done his best to keep in touch with them by letters and boxes of gifts, he had missed their childhoods. 

Hendon 1855–1862

2. Julia and Mary at Hendon c1856.
Family possession.

Mia, Adeline, Mary and Julia must have longed for his return. Mia must have welcomed her husband’s company and support, but suddenly their lives were very different. The family moved from Well Walk, which Mia and the girls loved, to a larger house in Hendon, then a popular country retreat near London. Once only a hamlet it still had quaint little cottages, but also an increasing number of substantial villas, some built for earlier residents such as William Wilberforce and Sir Stamford Raffles. The Jacksons settled into their new family life together in Brent Lodge, a large, brick built eighteenth century house on the corner of Butcher’s Lane.1 It was very attractive but further away from Little Holland House and their friends.

Julia was nine when her father returned and they moved to Brent Lodge, and 20 when they moved away to Saxonbury in Kent. These were busy, formative years for her, full of new experiences and new relationships, within and outside the family circle.

John Jackson’s letters had been full of his sadness at family separation and his longing to be together. He had written to Adeline that in his first summer at home he hoped to,

have the happiness of spending time with you all and going with you to some pleasant and cheerful place for the hotter months […] we must all journey up to the Lakes of Cumberland, & pass a short time on our way thither at one of the Northern watering places.2

Sadly his summer tour to the north was taken alone and he again wrote to Adeline describing the things he saw, this time in Liverpool and Scotland, instead of being able to share the experiences companionably with any of his family. Mia’s health might have made the long journey difficult for her, but it seems strange and sad that none of his daughters accompanied him, especially as he stopped en-route at his childhood home at North Reston in Lincolnshire.3

Julia’s Jackson relations

It is difficult to account for just why Julia’s father, and indeed her whole, very large, Jackson family, have been written out of her history almost entirely. John Jackson is remarkable in not having sensational or fantastical stories told about him, in spite of an abundance of suitable material. Mary Bennett, John Jackson’s great-granddaughter, rightly says that, ‘No legends clung to him, as they did in abundance to his wife’s family’.4 What stories have been transmitted are mostly half-truths and misunderstandings, creating a negative impression of him. Typical is that told by his grandson, Herbert Fisher, who claimed that when John Jackson returned to England, 

it was only to find that his native Lincolnshire village was empty of all his relations and their friends and that his very existence had been forgotten.5

In fact, he was very much remembered and he did have relations, both in his native Lincolnshire and in London.6 In 1855 his older brother George Jackson, who was vicar at North Reston from 1828 until his death in 1868, was living with his family at the Rectory. John Jackson would be meeting his sister-in-law Lydia, daughter of Matthew Lister, High Sheriff of Lincoln, and his nieces Matilda, Rosa and Bertha, for the first time. The Manor House where he had grown up, was temporarily empty of his relatives, as his widowed mother, listed in the 1851 census as ‘landed proprietor’, was then staying with her married daughters in London. She had continued to communicate with him, and with her half-sister Hannah Ellerton, throughout his time in India. John’s happy return is recorded in her diary as had been his and Mia’s marriage and the births of all their children. 

Two of John Jackson’s siblings, William and Hannah, had already died in India. His brother Edward was living in Rutland. But four of his siblings and their large families were living near him in London. Charlotte and her solicitor husband, Richard Paddison, were in Kensington. 

3-4. Left: One of John Jackson’s sisters, Charlotte Paddison née Jackson (1808–1895), c.1880. Right: Richard Paddison (1801–1874) c.1865.

His mother, Mary, spent time with them and also with Caroline, married to the clergyman Raymond Daniell. They were living at the Parsonage in Totteridge, very close to Hendon. The summer John Jackson arrived Mary recorded coming ‘to Totteridge with Caroline’s children and servants 4th October’. He would find many interests in common with his sister Mary’s family, then living in Westminster. She had first married Thomas Fernandez Clarke, a physician who worked on the Lancet. After his death she married his brother, James Fernandez Clarke, a surgeon. John Jackson’s brother, Howard, had also retired from the East India Company and was then living in Kensington, with his second wife, Susan. One of their many children was disconcertingly named George Corrie Jackson, like John and Mia’s dead infant son. They must have been pleased though that he followed in John’s footsteps, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. After Mary Jackson’s death in 1858, Howard Jackson became Lord of the Manor and spent the rest of his life with his family in North Reston. 

Julia’s large circle of Jackson aunts, uncles and cousins were wealthy, well-educated, successful, upper-middle-class professionals, many involved in the legal, ecclesiastical or medical worlds. They were mostly based in London, but kept their Lincolnshire roots, and some also kept their East India Company connections. They were mostly energetic, adventurous and very well-travelled. Her cousins’ births, deaths and marriages are recorded not only in England but as far afield as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, India, Batavia, British Guiana, Chile, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.7

It seems inconceivable that Julia would not have known any of them. However, there appear to be no records of John or Mia Jackson ever taking Julia, Mary or Adeline to meet their Jackson grandmother, aunts, uncles or cousins, and Julia was certainly not close to them as she was to her Pattle relations. 

Dr John Jackson – medical career in England

Family story also misjudges and misrepresents John Jackson’s professional standing. Dr Jackson was, according to Julia’s second husband, Leslie Stephen, from whom many of these very half-hearted and often erroneous accounts stem, 

5. A silver ink stand presented to Dr Jackson by graduates of the Calcutta Medical School, was one of many presents given to him in recognition for his work in the Medical Service. It became a family heirloom, first owned by his grandson Herbert Fisher and then by his great-grandson Quentin Bell. The inkstand is now at Charleston. © Virginia Nicholson.

a worthy and eminently respectable person. He was regarded at Calcutta as a good physician, but did not practice in England. […] He was not a man of any great mark.8

Although he was retired from the East India Company Medical Service, John Jackson was in fact as committed to his medical profession as he had always been. He immediately set up a private practice at 28 George Street, Hanover Square. This was a very fashionable and, for his purposes, very well chosen location. It was not only in the medical centre of London, being near Harley Street and the Royal Society of Medicine, but also near the Oriental Club, then also in Hanover Square, whose members were drawn from ‘noblemen and gentlemen associated with the administration of our eastern Empire’. It was an area so beloved of returning Anglo-Indians that it was often dubbed ‘the nabobery’. Among these people, Dr John Jackson was well-known and well-respected, and he would soon have found many patients. 

Dr John Jackson and the Sensational Story of the Rugeley Poisoner

John Jackson’s extensive knowledge of Indian diseases was invaluable and soon became as well respected in England as it had been in India. He published Forms of Tetanus in India in 1856. The same year, because of his specialist knowledge of tetanus, he was called on to be an expert medical witness in the very high-profile trial of Dr William Palmer, the infamous Rugeley Poisoner, at the Old Bailey. This was the first use of expert witnesses in a court case. To have been asked to be one of them confirms that John Jackson was already very much a man of ‘great mark’ in the medical community, and not only among Anglo-Indians.

On the sixth day of the trial, 20 May, 1856, according to the transcript for the Times,9 John Jackson began his testimony confidently and authoritatively:

6. The (unabridged) Times Report on the Trial of William Palmer, Ward & Lock 1856.

Dr William Palmer was charged with forgery and with poisoning his rich young friend John Cook in order to pay off gambling debts. Numbers of other colourful misdemeanours, crimes and possible victims were discovered during the investigations. The Defence argued that Cook had died of tetanus. In part due to John Jackson’s testimony for the Prosecution, this allegation was not accepted and Palmer was found guilty of poisoning Cook, and sentenced to death. He was publicly hanged at Stafford Gaol on 14 June, in front of a crowd of some 30,000 people. 

The case of the popular Dr Palmer, whom many thought innocent, and others thought the first serial killer, caught the popular imagination. It created sensational headlines and stories in the press and found its way into numerous crime novels. Charles Dickens called Palmer ‘the greatest villain who ever stood in the Old Bailey’, and is thought to have based his character Inspector Bucket, in Bleak House, on the policeman investigating the case. There are references in Anthony Trollope’s Phineas Redux, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes’ story, ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’ and Dorothy L Sayers The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club. Robert Graves’ 1957 novel They Hanged My Saintly Billy retells the story, as does the 1998 film The Life and Crimes of William Palmer. It is strange that Virginia Woolf did not tell the story of her grandfather’s involvement in this sensational case.

7. John Jackson, photographed by his sister-in-law, Julia Margaret Cameron, 1864.

The case must have considerably enhanced John Jackson’s reputation and he was invited by the President of the Royal College of Physicians to join a select College Club.10 He continued to update his qualifications and keep abreast of modern medical developments, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1859. 

While John Jackson was busy with his work, Mia, Adeline, Mary and Julia continued their visits to Little Holland House. John Jackson accompanied them on occasion but he did not really fit in. He was a quiet man, fond of listening to music and looking at art and sculpture but not really artistic. He would have enjoyed the company of his friends Thoby Prinsep and Charles Cameron, and other Anglo-Indians, but would have had little in common with the artists who frequented the salon, though he did sit for Watts and admired his work. 

8. Print made by Emery Walker of a drawing by F. L. Griggs of Old Little Holland House c. 1871.

Julia – A Vision of Beauty

9. Julia Jackson, c.1856. Attributed to Charles Somers.

At Little Holland House the culte of beauty continued from the Pattle sisters into the next generation. Like most of her aunts, it was Julia’s beauty which, of all her characteristics, was most remarked upon, even as a child. From the beginning she was usually portrayed as a vision – as ethereal, idealised and elusive. 

Stories circulating about Julia’s beauty often drew on the Victorian vogue for the sentimental, and were closely entwined with stories of love and of loss. One of the first was when she was just nine. Lord Lansdowne wrote to tell his friend Virginia Somers, that he had visited the Italian sculptor Baron Carlo Marochetti’s studio, where he had seen a, 

small figure on the ground behind a Greek statue, the perfect beauty of which quite arrested my progress. On enquiring I found it was Miss Jackson; what Miss Jackson, I immediately guessed. It was Julia, the youngest daughter of Lady Somers’ beautiful sister Mia Jackson.11

10. Baron Carlo Marochetti (1805–1867),  portrait late 1840s/early 1850s by G. F. Watts.

Carlo Marochetti was then a very popular and acclaimed sculptor and a favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. He was their welcome guest at Windsor and Osborne House. They had commissioned sculptures of themselves and other national figures. Four of his monumental sculptures were prominently displayed at the Crystal Palace for the Peace Fête in 1856 to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. He was a close friend of Watts and of William Thackeray and his daughters. 

Anny Thackeray later asked Marochetti to carve a bust of her father, William Thackeray now in Westminster Abbey, and asked Marochetti’s son, Maurizio, a diplomat and sculptor, to carve her sister Minny’s gravestone. 

Like Lord Landsdowne, Marochetti had also been ‘arrested’ by Julia’s beauty. When Queen Victoria commissioned him to sculpt an effigy of the Princess Elizabeth Stuart to go on a marble tomb, he asked Mia’s permission for Julia to model for it. 

The Princess of the story was Elizabeth Stuart daughter of King Charles I, who was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, until he was beheaded in London on 30 January 1649. 

The children of Charles I continued to be kept at Carisbrooke, where Elizabeth caught a chill while playing bowls and died suddenly of pneumonia on 8 September 1650, aged only 14. According to the story, she was found lying with her head on the bible given to her by her father. She was buried in the nearby churchyard at St Thomas’s Church, Newport, with a small stone marked only E.S. (Elizabeth Stuart). 

200 years later this grave was rediscovered when a new church was being built. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert in 1854. Queen Victoria, then often at Osborne House on the Island, was moved by the story of Elizabeth and commissioned a tomb and effigy dedicated to her. 

Julia was not the only model. Janet Ross, whose family were also friends of Marochetti, recounted how she also posed for the effigy:

For six weeks during the winter I was seriously ill with scarlet fever, and, to my grief, my mother cut off my long hair and kept it short until I was sixteen. […] As soon as I was well Baron Marochetti asked my father to let me sit to him for a statue he had been commissioned to do by the Queen, of the Princess Elisabeth, for Newport church. I stayed for some weeks [early Spring 1856] with Mr. and Mrs. Tom Taylor at Eagle Lodge, near Marochetti’s studio, and the statue took a long time, as the Baron had not been told the shape of the place destined for it. As is known, the daughter of Charles I died whilst reading her Bible, and Marochetti made a beautiful kneeling figure with the head bowed down on the book and one arm hanging over the front of a prie-dieu. When the Queen came to see it she said it would not do, as the statue was to go under an arch and must be lying down. So the whole thing had to be done over again. I could not have believed that it was so tiring to be flat on one’s back for hours, and, in spite of Marochetti’s pleasant conversation and the kind-ness of the Baroness, I was much bored.12

It seems that Marochetti modelled the body mostly on the older Janet Ross, but the head with beautiful face and flowing hair, on Julia. A preparatory rough plaster head which Marochetti sculpted of Julia seems very like her aged nine, realistic and solid, still with slightly chubby cheeks.13

11-12. Left: Head of Julia sculpted by Carlo Marochetti c1855.  Right: The face of Julia and body of Janet Ross as Princess Elizabeth, sculpted by Marochetti c1855. 

However the white marble effigy is an idealised, sensualised version of Julia. The face is narrower, the hair longer and flowing to one side to uncover the neck. The shoulders and arms are bare, the silky dress revealing. This is a radical departure from the images of Princess Elizabeth on her deathbed modestly dressed in a high-necked, long-sleeved, cotton nightgown, which were a favourite of Victorian painters.14 It was also an even more idealised version of the young Elizabeth whose face was apparently marked by the rickets from which she had suffered. The beauty of the monument no doubt owes something to Marochetti’s own grief and sense of loss at this time. Four years earlier, his only daughter Jeanne had died aged 16. His wife Camille kept a photograph of the monument in her prayer-book. 

The marble tomb in Newport Church was unveiled 21 December 1856. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had been to see it in advance. She wrote it up in her Journal: 

… In the afternoon, we drove with the 2 girls, & 2 Ladies, to Newport, getting out at the new Church, to look at the monument I have put up to the memory of Charles I’s poor daughter, pss [Princess] Elizabeth who died at Carisbrooke Castle in the year 1650, aged 14, & is buried in the Church. Marochetti has made the monument, which is really beautiful, & is placed in a niche. It is a life size, recumbent figure, in marble, the head turned to the left reclining on her Bible, in which manner she was really found dead, her left arm extended next her & her right hand resting on her waist. The face is beautiful with long curls, & the whole is very touching. Poor thing, I rejoice to think that I can pay a tardy tribute to her birth, youth, virtues, & misfortunes! The Vicar & Churchwardens were there.15

13. Marble tomb by Carlo Marochetti, 1856, St Thomas’s Church, Newport, Isle of Wight. Author’s own photograph. 

The monument and the tragic story of Princess Elizabeth drew much media coverage and popular interest, including a long article in the Illustrated London Times, 10 January 1857. Again a focus of attention is the beautiful face:

The face is almost Grecian in its pure and classic features, leaving us at a loss which most to admire – the sweet beauty and regularity of every line – the delicate nostrils, thin, parted lips, and slender chin – or the calm serenity of that still brow, and repose of the closed eyelids.

Queen Victoria was so affected by the effigy that she commissioned Marochetti to produce reduced versions in bronzed plaster which she gave as gifts. One was to Prince Albert on Xmas Eve 1857, one of the many beautiful, and often erotic, works of art through which Victoria and Albert celebrated their love for each other.16 The effigy remains in the Royal Collection as does another which was possibly that given to her 17 year old daughter, Victoria, for her wedding in January 1858 to Prince Frederick of Prussia.

14-15. Top: Julia as the face of Princess Elizabeth. A bronzed plaster model on an ebonised plinth, under a glass dome cover. 43.75×15.0cms. © Royal Collections. Bottom: Julia as the face of Princess Elizabeth. Bronze figure by Carlo Marochetti. © The Ashmolean Museum.

Adeline Jackson and Henry Halford Vaughan

John Jackson’s family life in England was not as he had envisaged. His family were busy with their own pursuits. In particular, he must have been startled to find that his ‘dearest Addy’, whose company he was so looking forward to, was no longer the little girl he had been writing to for so long, but had become a young woman whose attention was now focussed on the man soon to be her husband, Henry Halford Vaughan. 

16. Adeline aged 18 and Henry Halford Vaughan. Both drawings by G. F. Watts. Family possessions. 

Henry Vaughan’s ‘features were large, well-defined, and mobile, especially his eyes […]. He had an immense ‘fell’ of rough hair [which] gave a sort of wild Olympian character to his head’.17

Henry Vaughan had become a great friend of Mia Jackson and her daughters when he was their neighbour at Well Walk, and introduced into the circle at Little Holland House. Mia and Adeline had been to many of his prestigious lectures in Oxford.18 John Jackson must have been interested in Vaughan’s many eminent relatives in the medical profession. His uncle, Sir Henry Halford,19 was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians in 1820 and was physician to George III, George IV, William IV and then Queen Victoria. 

Quite what drew Henry Vaughan and Adeline together is unclear. He was almost 45, apparently with a glittering academic career in front of him and a wide circle of eminent friends. She was a quiet 18 year old and was certainly not academic. Moreover, story goes that he had expected to announce his engagement to Miss Maria Farquhar, an attractive heiress who lived with her brother, Sir William Farquhar in Westminster. Possibly because of family opposition, she withdrew.20 His relationship with Adeline seems rather on the rebound.

Henry and Adeline Vaughan

17. Adeline’s Parisian wedding dress. Family possession.

On 21 August 1856 Henry Vaughan and Adeline were married, at the parish church, St Mary’s Finchley, near the Jackson’s home. Henry Vaughan’s great friend, Henry Liddell, who had just become Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, officiated.21Lewis Carroll was inspired by his daughter Alice Liddell to write Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.[/efn_note] The marriage astounded Henry Vaughan’s friends who thought ‘it was the most startling event of its kind since the marriage of Luther.’22

Edward Twisleton, a mutual friend of Vaughan’s and Mia Jackson’s, was not only startled but thought that Henry Vaughan had ‘behaved ill to them and later showed himself lacking in fine qualities, made an unworthy marriage and separated himself from [his old friend]’.23 The break up, according to Ellen’s niece and editor of her letters, was ‘due on his part to an unsuccessful love affair with a relative of Mrs Twisleton.’24 Even worse, 

about the time of the separation from Mr. Vaughan, Mrs. Twisleton apparently had to suffer a complete disillusionment about the ladies of Little Holland House. Their charms had blinded her at first to grave defects, which, when recognized, inevitably brought about a separation.25

Why the Twisletons should take such extreme offence, and have such a complete change of feeling about Henry Vaughan and all the Pattle sisters, is a mystery. Sara Prinsep was Ellen Twistleton’s welcome visitor when they were both in Paris in January 1855. Throughout that year Ellen continued her enthusiastic accounts of visits to Little Holland House, to Lady Somers, Mia Jackson and Henry Vaughan, before leaving for a visit to America. 

From then until her tragically early death in 1862 few of Ellen’s letters are published, so the mystery of Henry Vaughan’s and the Pattle sisters’ perceived offences remains.26 Ellen Twisleton died, aged only 33, after a painful illness. She was buried in the family churchyard at Broughton Castle and much mourned. Jane Carlyle wrote, ‘Dear Little Mrs Twisleton, so young, and so beautiful and clever, so admired in society and adored at home, is a loss that everyone can appreciate.’ 27

Mia Jackson sent Adeline a present and a rather whimsical message:

This is a new pen for my darling and I hope it will have a long and happy life and give you a great deal of pleasure and sing to you a great many songs. […] God bless my darling child and may she have happy birthdays – for many years – and whatever joys or troubles she may be good in all ways. This from your fond Mother. (Hendon 6 Sep 1856) 28

John Jackson’s warm, loving letters to Adeline continued while she and Henry were on their wedding tour, and for the rest of her life. He describes the excitement when the family first receive a letter from the new Mrs Vaughan. Mary caught her foot in her gown and fell over a step running to give it to her parents. John Jackson was cheered by her happiness and hopes that she and Vaughan will enjoy their wedding tour. Mary and Julia were pouring over Adeline’s letter and amusing themselves finding the locations and history of the places she had been visiting. 

[…] No day has passed that you have not been in much in our thoughts. At first dear Mamma used to wander about like Rachel weeping for her Child, or retire to her Room to sit down and think in Silence of the absence of her fondly loved daughter. The first week or so she was very sad, but latterly she has occupied herself a good deal more, and has been busy with the Household duties or has taken to work with her needle and has come occasionally with me into Town, and she is beginning to wear something more of a cheerful Aspect.

He thinks that she and Vaughan will enjoy their tour, but clearly sees the inequalities in age and education in the marriage, which would have been typical of many a Victorian marriage:

We are all greatly cheered by your letters, and feel rejoiced at your Happiness. It must indeed be a great Enjoyment to you, to witness all these scenes of Interest, with one so able and so ready to give you all the knowledge and every explanation connected with them; and I have no doubt that the enjoyment is as fully shared by himself in having such a Companion to listen to him. 

He must have been sad that it was Vaughan and not himself who was taking Adeline on such a tour and sharing the experiences with her, as he had so often written in his letters to her that he hoped to do. He ends with a confidence and optimism which subsequently proved to be misplaced:  

18. Adeline and Henry Halford Vaughan.

Pray give my kind regards to Vaughan and assure him of the full trust we repose in him for your welfare. We have not an anxious thought about it, but are quite sure of his tender care of you. (28 George Street, Hanover Square, 19 Sep 1856) 

Mia Jackson visited the Vaughans during their tour. John Jackson wrote: 

My dearest Adeline, We have all been cheered by getting letters from Mamma this morning and by learning that she has at last met with you and Vaughan, and has found something to ease her spirits after so many weeks of loneliness. (28 George Street, (30?) Oct 1856)

He was cheered by Mia’s accounts of Addy ‘looking so well and happy and strong and full of health’. He hoped that they would soon return to their Hampstead home and then that Addy will spend a little time with them at Hendon. He was looking for a pony carriage. He ends affectionately as always, ‘May there be many years of Blessings in store for you Both’. Henry Vaughan also apparently wrote to the Jackson family. Leslie Stephen mentions some, now missing,

early letters to Julia, written on his wedding tour when she was ten, [which] show that he could be playful and affectionate to his little sister-in-law.29

When they were married Henry was still a Fellow at Oriel College and had received the ultimate accolade of being appointed the first Regius Professor of History at Oxford. His career and the family were prospering. Their first child, Henry Beauchamp, was born in the summer of 1857 at their home in Well Walk.30

Mia, Mary and Julia went to stay with Adeline for the birth. They were looking after Adeline, the new baby, and also Henry, who was often unwell. Julia was an aunt for the first time and was also getting probably her first experience of home nursing, something all Victorian women had to learn.

John Jackson wrote to mark Adeline’s first wedding anniversary, sending ‘a kiss to dear Baby with my kind regards to Vaughan’.31 He had been distressed to learn that Henry had been ‘prostrated by the attack of fever’ but pleased to receive Mary’s letter telling him of some improvement and that Henry was planning to go to Aberystwyth for a cure. 

Hendon is very dull without Mamma or your sisters but is better than remaining in London or going from house to house. […] May you have many many Happy anniversaries of your Wedding Day, with much love ever your fond Papa. (28 George Street, Hanover Square, 21 Aug 1857)

John Jackson was planning a tour to meet the Vaughan family in Aberystwyth in September and to also visit Teignmouth, Bath and Bristol. 

Henry Beauchamp Vaughan was baptised 12 December 1857 at the family seat, Wistow Hall in Leicestershire, then owned by Henry Vaughan’s uncle Sir Henry Halford. 

19. Wistow Hall. All of Henry and Adeline Vaughan’s children were baptised here.

Life in an Oxford College did not appeal to Henry Vaughan, and probably not to Adeline either. In 1858, when he was required to become resident if he wanted to keep his position at Oriel College, he resigned his prestigious position as Regius Professor. He had alienated many at Oxford by his reformist views, and by his refusal to fully commit to the life of the University. His academic career gradually petered out, but the family were making new beginnings. He was appointed by the Prime Minister, Palmerston, to a Royal Commission examining public schools. He also continued as a Clerk of Assize on the South Wales Circuit. 

However, life together for Henry and Adeline never went smoothly or happily for long. Henry Beauchamp Vaughan died in the spring of 1859, not quite two years old.32 His death was registered in the second quarter of the year, sometime in April, May or June, in the Presteigne district of Radnorshire. It is likely that the family were staying in the famously beautiful Judge’s Lodgings in Presteigne for Henry to attend one of the Assizes.33

They moved to Erskine House, Heath End, Hampstead. Their daughter Augusta was born there in December 1860. The family seem prosperous, employing four live-in servants: two nurses, a parlour maid and a housemaid, according to the 1861 census.

Julia and Mary

For Julia and Mary family life continued. John Jackson continued his medical work, often being called upon by friends and family. In 1861 Tennyson had come to London for ‘all sorts of treatments’ prescribed by John Jackson including ‘chlorine baths, nitric acid and mustard plasters’,34 which seem to have worked! 

20. Mary and Julia at Hendon c.1856, unknown photographer. Author’s possession.

Mary was now the main support of her mother, but was aided by Julia and six live in servants. They paid visits and received guests, especially their many Pattle aunts and cousins. 

There were inevitably many sad events in the extended family. Julia’s grandmother, Mary Jackson, died at John Jackson’s sister Charlotte Paddison’s home, 43, Queens Square Bloomsbury, on 23 March 1858. She was 78 and had outlived her husband, the Free Mariner George Jackson,35 by some 35 years. 

Her body was taken for burial back to North Reston to be near that of her husband in the churchyard of St Edith’s. There seems to be no record of who attended her funeral but John Jackson at least, must surely have gone. 

The same year Julia’s great-aunt Virginia Beadle, the Chevalier’s daughter, died in Versailles and her great-uncle Edward Impey, his son-in-law, in Bath. Her great-aunt, Hannah Ellerton, matriarch of Calcutta, died there aged 86. 

More tragically, in January 1859 her cousin Virginia Somers-Cocks died of diphtheria, aged only three. 

Julia had become very friendly with her cousin, Juley (Julia) Cameron and her new husband Charles Norman.36 Mia, Mary and Julia were called in as nurses again when she had her first child, Charlotte, in December 1859. Julia Margaret Cameron also came to stay, hysterically anxious about her husband’s and son’s proposed long visit to their coffee estates in Ceylon. 

Freshwater, Isle of Wight

1862, the year Julia turned 16, was a packed, exciting and momentous one. She, Mary and Mia spent time in June at Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight, with Julia Margaret Cameron, now living there. They frequently met up with her neighbours and friends Emily and Alfred Tennyson, at their home Farringford.37

21-22. Left: Lionel, Emily, Alfred and Hallam Tennyson at their Freshwater home, Farringford, c. 1862, by Oscar Gustave Rejlander (1813–1875). Right: General Bruce, Herbert Fisher, Edward Prince of Wales, Colonel Kebble.
Herbert Fisher and friends, Oxford 1858. Photographers: Hills & Saunders, appointed as photographers to Edward, Prince of Wales for portraits whilst he was at Oxford University.

Also there was Herbert Fisher a mutual friend and fellow Oxford alumni of Henry Vaughan’s, just beginning his career as a barrister. He and Mary had become close. During a family picnic at Alum Bay, Herbert proposed to Mary and was accepted. A delighted Mia wrote to John Jackson that she had told Herbert they did not mind that he was poor. He was, she said, ‘rich in all good things’ and ‘it was himself that we prized’.38

Mary and Herbert Fisher

Herbert and Mary were married at St Mary’s Hendon on 5 August. Julia Margaret Cameron’s daughter, Julia, and her husband, Charles Norman were among the guests and their three year old daughter Charlotte was a bridesmaid. 

Mary and Herbert began a typical Victorian wedding journey. They had one night at a country inn near Dorking and climbed up to Box Hill. Then they stayed at Combe Hurst nearby loaned to them by Blanche Clough, widow of the recently deceased Arthur Clough, the poet and great friend of Herbert Fisher. Herbert wrote to thank her, assuring her that, 

23. Mary Fisher by Julia Margaret Cameron, c.1864.

we found everything ready for us, and so nice and comfortable. […] The place looks enchanting, and you know how fond I am of it. The Housekeeper & Butler are everything that is kind and considerate. […] On Saturday & Sunday Mrs Jackson and Julia will be here.39

They returned to Brent Lodge for a few days to pack up for their continental journey. In Paris they stayed in Versailles where Aunt Impey ‘had tea ready’ and they enjoyed the Fête including firework displays. Then on via Dijon, Macon, Chillon and Grindelwald to Lake Lucerne. Mia, John and Julia Jackson were making a similar journey. When Herbert was unwell at Lucerne, Mary was able to call on her father for help. She had tried to make Herbert some arrowroot but the water would not boil! John Jackson was with them ‘some days on and off’ dispensing quinine and advice. Then Mia and Julia arrived, disrupting Herbert’s travel plans for them all to travel together to Italy, because,

so much money had been spent in France and elsewhere that it was declared [Mrs Jackson] must return to England by the 22 of this month [October] – anyhow she cld. not have rmd. more than a week longer, as Mrs Vaughan expects her confinement at the beginning of Nov. 

As soon as Mia was strong enough they did continue to Verona and then Venice. Here they visited the piazza by moonlight, went on a gondola, shopped for wedding gifts to send home, and most importantly met Herbert Fisher’s young friend Herbert Duckworth, the man Julia would marry. 

Herbert Fisher had to forgo his longed for visit to Florence and Jacksons and Fishers travelled back to Hendon together. On Sunday 23 Mia was called for and arrived just quarter of an hour before Adeline’s daughter Margaret, always called Marny, was born. Julia was an aunt again. While Mia visited Adeline and the new baby daily, Julia and Mary were together, playing duets on the piano, going for walks and entertaining the many friends who came. Coventry Patmore, was grieving the recent loss of his wife. Mia was also helping to look after his six, now motherless, children. They met the Tennysons, Herbert Fisher rode to hounds with Holman Hunt, and Vernon Lushington came. The Fishers went to London to shop for linen, carpets and curtains ready for their new home. The furniture they had bought in Venice arrived. On Christmas Day the Jacksons went to Church and then entertained Val Prinsep and Watts, Mr Coventry Patmore, Aunt Louisa and their cousins. The following days Julia spent time out walking with her favourite uncle, Thoby Prinsep. There were more celebrations and visitors for Mary’s birthday on the 30th and for New Year celebrations. 

Julia – the daughter at home            

When Mary and Herbert moved into their new home in Onslow Square, Julia was left the sole daughter at home and her mother’s principal companion.  

24. Julia and her mother, Mia Jackson, c.1860. Unknown photographer.

From: A Vision of Beauty: A Biography of Julia Prinsep Stephen by Marion Dell. © CC BY-NC-SA unless otherwise stated; image copyrights are listed in the credits and they are not licensed for re-use.


I owe a debt of gratitude to Karen Kukil, then Curator in the Mortimer Rare Book Room, William Allan Neilson Library, Smith College, Northampton Massachusetts, and her colleagues for their invaluable and generous assistance, and for permission to reproduce images from Leslie Stephen’s photograph album. 

Thank you to Paul Carter and Jonathan Marsden of the Royal Collections Trust, and to Caroline Palmer of the Western Art Print Room at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, for assistance in locating the reduced size images of Julia Jackson sculpted by Baron Carlo Marochetti as the Princess Elizabeth Stuart, commissioned by Queen Victoria. I am grateful for all the information they gave me and for permission to reproduce the images. Thank you also to Caroline Hedengren-Dillon for sharing her invaluable research on Carlo Marochetti and his work. 

I am very grateful to the Watts Gallery Trust for permission to reproduce drawings and paintings by G. F. Watts. In particular, I would like to thank Chloe Ward, Judi Barrett and Stacey Clapperton for their assistance. 

I owe a big debt of gratitude to Virginia Nicholson for her interest, support and generosity in sharing information and images.

I am very grateful to Mike Wood for his assistance and for sending me the link to his genealogy records which include John Jackson and his siblings. www.woodlloydfamilyhistory.com

I owe a great debt to the late Mary Bennett, granddaughter of Mary and Herbert Fisher, who shared photographs, memories, and family stories with me and allowed me to read and make notes from Mary Fisher’s unpublished diary. She also made the transcripts of Herbert Fisher’s letters (PDF 7.15). Also to the two descendants of Adeline and Henry Vaughan, who prefer to remain anonymous, who allowed me to reproduce photographs in their possession and who gave me the wonderful photograph of Julia and Mary Jackson (PDF 7.13). 

Picture credits

  1. John Jackson. © The Science and Society Library of the Science Museum.  
  2. Julia and Mary at Hendon c.1856. Family possession.
  3. Photograph of Charlotte Paddison. Courtesy Mike Wood. www.woodlloydfamilyhistory.com (accessed 13/08/21).
  4. Photograph of Richard Paddison. Courtesy Mike Wood. www.woodlloydfamilyhistory.com (accessed 13/08/21).
  5. Silver ink stand. Courtesy Virginia Nicholson.
  6. Times Report on the Trial of William Palmer. Public Domain. https://collections.nlm.nih.gov/catalog/nlm:nlmuid-101142897-bk (accessed 13/08/21).
  7. John Jackson. Julia Margaret Cameron photograph of John Jackson from Graham Ovenden (ed.) A Victorian Album; Julia Margaret Cameron and Her Circle, published Secker & Warburg, London, 1975. Plate 99.
  8. A drawing of Old Little Holland House. Print made by Emery Walker (1851-1933) after F. L. Griggs. © The Trustees of the British Museum licensed under (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) Acquisition: 1913,0407.35. https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1913-0407-35 (accessed 13/08/21).
  9. Julia Jackson c.1856. Leslie Stephen’s Photograph Album, 31a. Attributed to Charles Somers. https://findingaids.smith.edu/repositories/3/archival_objects/40193 (accessed 14/08/21).
  10. Baron Carlo Marochetti. © The Royal Academy. Acquisition:03/1148. Licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. Believed to have been given by Mrs. Mary Seton Watts 1934. https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/work-of-art/portrait-of-carlo-baron-marochetti-r-a (accessed 14/08/21).
  11. Head of Julia sculpted by Carlo Marochetti, c.1855. © charlestoncollection.org.uk, accession number: CHA/SC/33. http://www.charlestoncollection.org.uk/index.asp?page=item&mwsquery={Identity%20number}={CHA/SC/33} (accessed 14/08/21).
  12. The face of Julia and body of Janet Ross as Princess Elizabeth. Courtesy Leo Reynolds, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. https://www.flickr.com/photos/lwr/2051995439 (accessed 14/08/21).
  13. Marble tomb by Carlo Marochetti, 1856. Author’s own photograph.
  14. Julia as the Princess Elizabeth. A bronzed plaster model. © Royal Collections.  Accession number: RCIN 2111. 
  15. Bronze figure by Carlo Marochetti, c.1858. © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford. Accession number: WA1893.1.1858. Presented by George Wyatt, 1892.
  16. Adeline aged 18 and Henry Halford Vaughan. Both drawings by G. F. Watts. Family possessions.
  17. Adeline’s Parisian wedding dress. Family possession.
  18. Adeline and Henry Halford Vaughan. Mr and Mrs Henry Vaughan, photograph attributed to Charles Somers. From Graham Ovenden (ed.) A Victorian Album: Julia Margaret Cameron and Her Circle (London: Secker & Warburg, 1975) plate 69.
  19. Wistow Hall. https://www.wistow.com (accessed 14/08/21).
  20. Mary and Julia at Hendon c.1856. Author’s possession.
  21. Lionel, Emily, Alfred and Hallam Tennyson at their Freshwater home, Farringford, c.1862. Photograph attributed to Oscar Rejlander or Lewis Carroll. From Graham Ovenden (ed.) A Victorian Album: Julia Margaret Cameron and Her Circle (London: Secker & Warburg, 1975) plate 109.
  22. General Bruce, Herbert Fisher et al., Oxford 1858. © National Portrait Gallery. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND-03. https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/use-this-image/?email=&form=cc&mkey=mw202527 (accessed 14/08/21).
  23. Mary Fisher, c.1864. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Public Domain. https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.137722.html (accessed 14/08/21).
  24. Julia and her mother, Mia Jackson, c.1860. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Julia_Jackson_and_mother.jpg (accessed 14/08/21).


Full publishing details can be found in the Bibliography, under Resources

Frequent abbreviations in this chapter:

Bill       Bill E.G.W., A Study of Henry Halford Vaughan 1811-1885.

MB      Bell Alan (ed.), Sir Leslie Stephen’s Mausoleum Book.

JJ         Letters from John Jackson, British Library OIOC papers F446. Unpublished.

ET       Vaughan E T (ed.), Letters of the Hon. Mrs. Edward Twisleton 18521862.            

  1. Butcher’s Lane was later renamed Queen’s Road, and Brent Lodge, St Peter’s Ouvroir. It was demolished in 1957.
  2. JJ 5 Dec 1854.
  3. Strangely there seem to be no letters extant describing this visit, but Herbert Fisher knew of it. See Mary Bennett, Who Was Dr Jackson? 115n.5.
  4. Ibid.1.
  5. Herbert Fisher, An Unfinished Autobiography 12.
  6. For details of the Manor of North Reston see Chapter 2, For the Jackson family tree see Resources.
  7. Wood Family tree www.woodlloydfamilyhistory.com
  8.  MB 26.
  9. For contemporary accounts including a transcript of the Times account of the trial, and later cultural references, see Bill Peschel (ed.), William Palmer: The Rugeley Poisoner Collection (Hershey, PA, The Peschel Press, 2019).
  10. Obituary, The British Medical Journal Vol. 1. No. 1379 (4 June 1887) 1249.
  11. Quoted John Beaumont, VWB8 42.
  12. Janet Ross, The Fourth Generation, Reminiscences, (London: Constable & Cie LTD, 1912) 39–40.
  13. The sculpture is at Charleston Farmhouse. Accession no. CHA/SC/33. Leslie Stephen thought it had ‘no great artistic merit’ but did give an impression of her appearance, though he puts her age at 14 or 15 (MB 32).
  14. Charles West Cope had exhibited such a portrait in the Royal Academy Summer exhibition, 1855, now at Carisbrooke castle in the room where Elizabeth died. A similar painting by G.J Barker is also there, as is a plaster model of the effigy.
  15. Monday 15 December. Queen Victoria’s Journals Vol 42, 262–3. www.queenvictoria’sjournals.org
  16. This is now in the Royal Collections at Windsor Castle, RCIN 2111. An exhibition of many of these works, Art and Love, was at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in 2010. See also Jonathan Marsden Victoria and Albert: Art and Love (2010)Another version is in the Royal Collection, RCIN2231, and there is one in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
  17. H.L. Thompson, quoted in Vaughan Henry Halford, by E.G.W. Bill, www.oxforddnb.com.
  18. For more on Mia’s early friendship with H.H. Vaughan and also the Twisletons see Chapter 6.
  19. Sir Henry changed his name from Vaughan to Halford when he became Sir Charles Halford’s heir. For H.H. Vaughan’s many medical connections see Bill 3-7.
  20. For more details of this relationship see Bill 223.
  21. Henry Liddell had been Head of Westminster School until 1855, when he was appointed Dean of Christchurch Oxford. Lewis Carroll was inspired by his daughter Alice Liddell to write Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
  22. Goldwyn Smith to Henry Liddell, quoted Bill 224.
  23. Notes by Ellen Twisleton Vaughan, Ellen’s niece and Editor of the Letters, ET 328-9.
  24. This woman is not named, but Ellen’s only relative in England was her older sister, Elizabeth Dwight, who returned with them from America in October 1855 for a year’s visit. There is no other reference to any such relationship, which may have only been a wish fantasy in Ellen’s or Elizabeth’s minds.
  25. ET 328-9.
  26. The Editor suppressed many. The Twisletons were dealing with numbers of setbacks, including family bereavements, his failed attempts to enter Parliament, and her father’s disastrous business failure which seriously affected their income. Then Ellen became terminally ill and unable to write. 
  27. Quoted ET 341.
  28. Letter from Mia Jackson to Adeline Vaughan. Sussex University Special Collections.
  29. MB 69.
  30. There appears to be no birth certificate. Henry Vaughan similarly forgot to register William Vaughan’s birth.
  31. Letter John Jackson to Adeline Vaughan 21 August 1857 from his practice rooms in George Street, Hanover Square.
  32. Leslie Stephen refers to a letter of Julia’s dated 27 April 1859 referring to Henry Vaughan’s terrible grief at the death of his son. MB 69.
  33. The Judge’s Lodgings at Presteigne are now an award winning museum. See www.judgeslodging.org.uk.
  34. 1861. Ann Thwaite, Emily Tennyson: The Poet’s Wife, (London: Faber and Faber Ltd, 2009) 367.
  35. See Chapter 1
  36. Julia Norman’s unpublished diaries are held at Dimbola, Freshwater, Isle of Wight.
  37. For more on the Camerons, Tennyson and the Freshwater Circle see Chapter 8.
  38. Letter Mia Jackson to John Jackson. Shown by Mary Bennett. 
  39. Quotations from Herbert Fisher’s letters are from transcripts of unpublished letters generously provided by his granddaughter, Mary Bennett.