Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

William Dent Esq.
13 May 1861

Volume 3, page 226, sitting number 3595. 

[Identified as ‘William Dent, Esq.’ in the Silvy daybooks, other portraits acquired at the same time make it clear that this is William Dent of Bickley near Bromley in southeast London.]

Born at Maulds Meaburn in Westmoreland in 1798, he was the son or William Dent and Jane née Wilkinson. He was baptised on 4 February 1798 at Crosby Ravensworth in Westmoreland. 

On 16 November 1821 at Cattuck in the Presidency of Bengal he married Eliza Frances Beaver, who died two years later. ‘At Balasore, on the evening of the 7th August, after a short but violent illness, Eliza, the wife of William Dent, Esq. of the Civil Service (and only daughter of Colonel Beaver), aged scarcely 20 years’ (Bombay Gazette, 10 September 1823).

He married secondly Mary Browne, a British Subject born in Nova Scotia in or about 1800. His first marriage had produced one daughter; this second marriage produced two more, both born in India.

William was a civil servant working in India for the East India Company; at one point of his career he was the superintendent in charge of opium production at Patna. Three of his brothers Thomas, Lancelot and Wilkinson were directors of the trading firm Dent & Co., one of the largest hongs in China, with premises in Hong Kong’s Central District. Initially the firm traded in opium but when that became illegal they moved into the international silk and tea trades. 

In 1851 William was living in Fitzroy Square, London; he gave his profession as ‘East India Director.’ In 1861 he was living at Bickley in Kent; he described himself as a ‘Landed Proprietor.’ When the census was taken in 1871 he was living at 7 Palace Road in Kingston, Surrey; he was now ‘Commissioner of Lunacy for the City of London and J.P. for Kent.’ 

William Dent died on 6 December 1877 at 7 Palace Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey. He left an estate valued at £45,000.

code: cs1801
William Dent, Dent, Camille Silvy, Silvy