Mary Tunaley, The Hadens, Miss Jane Austen and James McNeill Whistler

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In 1800, Mary Tunaley, at the age of 25 years, left the family home in Full Street, Derby to work as governess to the children of Thomas Haden (1760-1840), the

Derby surgeon who twice became Mayor of Derby, 1811 and 1819. Thomas's children included Charles Thomas Haden aged 14 years and twins Sarah and Ann Haden aged 12

years when Mary Tunaley took on the position of governess. Ann Haden was later to marry Kirk Boott Jnr.


The details that follow demonstrate how interwoven the Haden, Wright and Boott families were at that time.

Also remarkable is the later friendship between Thomas's first son Charles Thomas Haden and the world famous novelist Jane Austen (1775-1817).

And finally there is the 1847 marriage of Charles's first son Francis Seymour Haden (1818-1910) surgeon and etcher, to Deborah Delano Whistler (1825-1908)

the half sister of James McNeil Whistler (1834-1903), the famous American artist.


The Jane Austen connection


Charles Thomas Haden (1786-1824), the eldest of the Haden children became a leading London surgeon and apothecary and subsequently a close friend of the

English novelist, Jane Austen.

Indeed, the 2007 BBC drama "Miss Austen Regrets", features the character of Charles Thomas Haden portrayed by actor Jack Huston.

According to records, Charles' friendship with Jane Austen began in London October 1815 when Charles, then 28 years old, was called in by J.A. to treat

her brother Henry who had become seriously ill with pneumonia at her London home on 23 Hans Place. This residence close to Charles's practice at 64

Sloane Street in the Chelsea area. Jane Austen, then 39 years old, was in London negotiating a deal for publication of her book "Emma".

To see a full and detailed account of Charles Haden's relationship with Jane Austen written by Liz Philosophos Cooper go to

(N.B. Mary Tunaley born the same year, 1775, as Jane Austen).


The Haden-Wright Connection


There was already a long-standing and close relationship between the Haden and Wright families.

Joseph Wright had painted a portrait picture of Thomas Haden with the latter at the age of around 12 years. With Thomas born 1760, this would place the

year of the painting at around 1772.

("Portrait of Master Thomas Haden": ).

And Thomas Haden's portrait must have been created at least 20 years before Joseph Wright painted his portraits of Mary Tunaley and the twins Ann and

Sarah Haden (born 1788). Indeed, looking at the sitters and their respective ages in the later paintings, one would place the paintings of Mary and the

twins born 1788 as being created around 1795.

To add to the Wright-Haden connection, Thomas Haden's second son born 4 July 1790 was christened Richard Wright Haden, named after Joseph Wright's elder

brother Richard born 1730 and, like Thomas Haden, also a distinguished surgeon.


The James McNeill Whistler Connection


In 1847 the Hadens became related by marriage to the family of the famous American artist James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903, born Lowell, Massachusetts),

son of George Washington Whistler (1800-1849), the steam locomotive and chief engineer who became a close friend of Kirk Boott Jnr. in the days of industrial

development at Lowell, Massachusetts. This friendship to the extent that George christened one of his sons Kirk Boott Whistler

(1838-1841) - .

This 1847 marriage was between Sir Francis Seymour Haden CMG FRCS PPRE (1818-1910), the eldest son of Charles Thomas Haden and formerly educated at Derby School

and Deborah (“Dasha”) Delano Whistler the half sister of the aforementioned American artist James McNeill Whistler. Deborah D. Whistler was the daughter of

George W. Whistler by his first marriage to Mary Roberdeau Swift, who had died at an early age in 1827. Like his father and grandfather, Francis Seymour was

a surgeon, but he ultimately found fame as an original etcher.

(Wikipedia:"Sir Francis Seymour Haden CMG FRCS PPRE, was an English surgeon, best known as an original etcher who championed original printmaking and founded

the Society of Painter-Etchers, now styled The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers."

“Among numerous distinctions, Haden received the Grand Prix, Paris, in 1889 and 1900, and was made an honorary member of the Institut de France, Académie des

Beaux-Arts and Société des Artistes Français. Haden was knighted in 1894 for his services "to the advancement of original etching and engraving"".)


More Boott Connections


And to add to the mix, in 1848 Charles Sydenham Haden (1822-1897), younger brother of Francis Seymour Haden, married Mary Love Boott (1821-1897) first child of

Francis Boott (1792-1863 physician, botanist and brother of Kirk Boott Jnr.) and Mary (nee Hardcastle).

And Isabella ("Belle") Boott (1832-1892), daughter of same Francis Boott and Mary, is the central figure in one of Whistlers' famous paintings "Harmony in Green and Rose:

The Music Room" (1860-1861).



Also view painting at

The other two figures in this painting are Deborah Haden (nee Whistler) and young Annie Haden (b. Chelsea 1849), daughter of Francis

Seymour and Deborah. The painting by Whistler thought to have been set in the Francis Seymour Haden residence in Sloane Street.

Meanwhile the younger brother Charles Sydenham Haden, given in records as a merchant, had moved with wife Mary to Lyon, France, a silk manufacturing


And from:

“Haden owned a complete set of Whistler's French Set of etchings on chine collé, which was sold at auction at Sotheby's in London on 18 November

1931 (lot 103)”.

Another record has Charles also being an unpaid Vice-Consul at Lyon.

Also of interest is that spinster Isabella (“Belle") Boott, sister of Charles’s wife Mary, remained close to the C.S. Haden household in France, given

the following newspaper announcement (document kindly provided by Dr. Jane Holmes):“ Boott, Isabella Mary Ann Grant of 1 Rue Toustain Dieppe France

spinster died 6 June 1892 at the Hotel de l’Univers Lyons. Probate London 20 June to Charles Sydenham Haden esquire Effects £4767 10s 1d" (sic).


Background to the last two items


Around 1820, following the death of his father, Kirk Boott Snr., in Boston, Massachusetts, Francis Boott moved to London with wife Mary (nee Hardcastle) and

became an eminent physician. Boott never returned to America.

Charles Thomas Haden was then already a highly successful surgeon in London but died 1824 with the business then taken over first by father Thomas, who

given Charles’s age probably owned the practice, and later by eldest son Francis Seymour Haden after Thomas died 1840.

Mary Love Boott, Kirk Boot Snr.’s wife, joined Francis in London in 1836 one year before Kirk Boott Jnr. died 1837. And James Boott, another son of the older

Kirk, followed Mary to England a year later.

Finally on this theme George Washington Whistler, the Lowell civil engineer, work colleague and former close friend of Kirk Boott Jnr. was invited by

Tsar Nicholas I to help build the Saint Petersburg–Moscow Railway, which was to be Russia's first major railroad.

Whistler left for Russia in 1842, where he died, St. Petersburg, 1849 shortly before the railroad was opened. George's wife and children, including James McNeill

Whistler, then removed to London where Francis Seymour Haden and wife Deborah (nee Whistler) were now established. Perhaps the Hadens assisted with their

immediate accommodation. Either way, it is well documented that Francis Seymour Haden and James Whistler became very close friends, with Francis Seymour

supportive and influential in Whistler's artistic endeavours in London and Paris.


Phil Tunaley