Monday, June 20, 2011

The Rice Portrait Provenance by Mrs. Henry Rice - Francis Motley Austen

 Francis Motley Austen
Reproduced by kind permission of the owner
-from a private collection

Mrs. Francis Motley Austen
Reproduced by kind permission of the owner
-from a private collection
In the second part of this series of blog posts on the provenance of the Rice portrait, Mrs. Henry Rice talks about the second owner of the portrait,  Francis Motley Austen.
Thank you so much for joining us today, Mrs. Rice - I know everyone will enjoy reading more of the portrait's history!








Francis Motley Austen, Uncle Francis's eldest son by his wife Anne Motley who died in childbirth in 1747, was the second owner of the portraits. In 1791 he inherited a large fortune from his father, and several estates as well as The Red House, Wilmington, and Lamberhurst where he lived. In 1796 he foreclosed on Kippington Park, an estate adjoining Knole, and (having removed the family called Farnaby,) moved his family in. Kippington is a large house, and he may have wished to leave the trappings of 'trade' behind him. There is some suggestion that he paid Ozias in 1796 for the pictures (a bill in his account books of Austen-Clarige which consists of 'My bill on you, for pictures at Kippington, 30 pounds, 7 shillings was paid - eg. fifteen pounds, three shillings and sixpence each.)
By all accounts Francis Motley did not favour his Austen cousins as had his father for he did not present them with the portraits, but in any case, his father had left everything entailed, which meant he was also unable to give them away. As well as the portraits Francis Motley Austen inherited Uncle Francis's good collection of Italian paintings that he had amassed during his life, which also would have looked well at Kippington. This also explains why the portraits were not so generally known in Hampshire being painted and held in Kent.

Lucius Austen
Reproduced by kind permission of the owner
-from a private collection

Francis Motley and his wife Elizabeth Wilson had 11 children. Their eldest son Lucius married, but had only two daughters, and then went irrevocably mad, and was disinherited by Act of Parliament. His younger brother Thomas Austen eventually inherited on his father's death in 1815, although he did not actually move into Kippington until his mother's death in 1817. We discovered Thomas's marriage certificate; he married Margaretta Morland in 1803, in Bath, and he is described as being a 'Resident of this Parish'; ergo Francis Motley had a house in Bath, which is also supposed to have belonged to Uncle Francis before him. Uncle Francis had had many dealings with shipping and trade in Bristol so a house in Bath would have suited him well. He certainly could have afforded it. My late husband Henry discovered that he also had 'a finger in the pie' at Coalbrookdale in the industrial revolution, and had known Abraham Derby - what a mover and shaker he must have been - not just a quiet Sevenoaks solicitor!
Anne Rice June 2011

Thank you, Mrs. Rice for another fascinating account! Next time we'll be looking at the third owner of the portrait, Colonel Thomas Austen.

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