Words from Wells

The Wells Artist: Lady Frances

The Old Bridge of Shillelagh

At the age of 26 Charles Mervyn, married the daughter of one of England’s richest families, Lady Frances Fitzwilliam whose family had built up their fortune through mining coal on their 20,000-acre estate near Sheffield in Yorkshire.

Charles Mervyn studied in England at Cambridge University at the same time as two of Lady Frances’ brothers, and had stayed with the family at Coollattin, playing cricket, shooting and fishing. He and Lady Frances announced their engagement in September 1867 and married two months later at Wentworth Woodhouse.

After marriage Lady Frances and Charles Mervin Doyne moved into Wells House.

The Landscape of Glen Garriff, West Cork

As with any well-born young lady of her generation she was taught many skills believed to be necessary for a lady of that time and music, singing, drawing, dancing and modern languages were among them. Ladies were then expected to perform at music gatherings and dinner parties.

Art was an important part of Lady Frances’ education, and she was an accomplished water-colour painter. She spent her time at Wells in the gardens and parkland painting. There were up to 20 gardeners at Wells House and when the ladies of the house would go out to spend time in the gardens and paint they would sweep the pathways for them to walk. The woodland and the wishing the ladies favourite places to paint.

The Vale of Clara, Glendalough, Co Wicklow

Lady Frances did not stop with the landscape of Wells House, she would bring her watercolours with her as she travelled. Her paintings from the beautiful landscape of Glen Garriff in West Cork, the Old Bridge in Shillelagh and the Vale of Clara in Co. Wicklow adorn the walls in the Shell room in Wells House today.

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