Biography of Mary Shewen 1737-1798 wife of John Graham Esq 1741-1775 of the East India Company
MaryGraham nee Shewen
Born: 1737? and died 1798 aged 61.
Daughter of: William Shewen of Thistleboon, near Swansea, by his wife a daughter of Ph. Williams of Duffryn.
1. Not known.
Mary married: John Graham (1741-1775), 8 August 1762. John was the son of John Graham of Edinburgh and his second wife Helen Mayne.
Mary and John had issue :
1. William Graham (born 13 January 1774 in Calcutta).
2. Col George Edward Graham (later Foster Pigott, born 1774 or 1771, died 1831) who married Mary Foster (died 1858).
3. Mary Helen Lady Dashwood (1763-1796) who married Sir Henry Watkin Dashwood , 3rd Bart, of Kertlington, Oxon.
4. Frances Marsh (1770-1805) nee Graham who was the second wife of William Marsh (1755-1846).
5. Graham (painted by Tilly Kettle in India).
6. Possibly others.
Mary Graham nee Shewen: An Overview
We know of Mary from the following sources:
1. Her miniature portrait and the portraits of her husband's relatives. Christies Auction Catalogue, Kinross House, 30 March 2011.
2. The portrait of her son John painted by Tilly Kettle. Christies Auction Catalogue, 18 April 1996.
3. A note in the 'Book of the Graemes and Grahams' by Louisa Grace Graeme.
4. The Graham family website (http://www.inchbrakie.com ).
John Graham went to India in 1759 on the Calcutta. He worked for the East India Company. John married Mary Shewin [Shewen] on August 8, 1762. He was Secretary to the Council. Resident at Midnapore, 1765. Superintendent of the Khalsa, August, 1773. Chief at Patna, January, 1772. President of the Board of Customs, 1773. Concerned in the trial of Nuncomar for conpiracy. John was a close associate of Warren Hastings.
From the 'Book of the Graemes and Grahams' by Louisa Grace Graeme:
John Graham, first of Yatton, born 1741, a Member of the Supreme Council of Bengal, who went to India and was elected to that important post while quite a young man. He married Mary, daughter of William Shewen of Thistleboon, near Swansea, by his wife a daughter of Ph. Williams of Duffryn; suffering from the Indian climate John Graham returned from India, and died at the early age of thirty-five in sight of Majorca on a voyage from Marseilles to Lisbon for the benefit of his health. His body was conveyed to London and buried in St Peter le Poer in 1775; his wife died in 1798 at sixty-one; they had four sons and two daughters; the elder, Mary Helen, was educated by her relations, Lord and Lady Newhaven; she grew into a very beautiful woman, her portrait painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds is at Cossington. Miss Graham had the honour to be chosen as the governess to the Princess Charlotte of Wales, daughter of King George III. (and heir to the Crown of Great Britain and Ireland), during which appointment she married Sir H. W. Dashwood of Kirklington, Baronet and M.P. for Woodstock; Lady Dashwood died in 1796, leaving issue who hold that baronetcy. The only information I have obtained of her sister is the following notice of her marriage in the Scots Magazine: 1794, Nov. 16th, at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, William Marsh, Esq., of Knightsbridge, to Miss Graham of Epsom, daughter of the late John Graham, Esq ., member of the Council of Bengal, and niece to George Graham, Esq., of Kinross, M.P.
The entry in George Marsh's diary for Saturday, 15th November 1794, regarding the wedding of his son William Marsh to Frances Graham is as follows:
My son was married to Miss Francis Graham at St Margaret's Church, Westminster, present Mrs Graham her mother, Sir Henry Dashwood her sister's husband, with his lady [Mary Helen Lady Dashwood] and their daughter and son, Miss Graham's three brothers and myself.
Christies, 18 April 1996. Lot 23. Tilly Kettle (1734-1786). Portrait of John Graham, as a boy, full-length, in Indian dress holding a garland of flowers around the neck of a greyhound at his side, in a landscape, signed 'Kettle Pinxit' (lower right), oil on canva, 60 x 39.25in. (152.5 x 99.8cm.). Provenance; by inheritance through Mary (d.1858), widow of the sitter's brother, George Edward Graham-Foster-Piggott to Commander R.D. Graham, R.N., of Stawell House, Bridgewater, Somerset; Christie's, 9 April 1937, lot 38.
A large portrait of Mary is shown in the book India and British Portraiture 1770-1825 by Mildred Archer, London, 1979, p. 88, plate 43.
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