Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Mrs William Dent
25 January 1861

Volume 2, page 165, sitting number 1950.

[The Silvy daybooks clearly identify the sitter as 'Mrs Henry Dent' but given the context of the other portraits acquired alongside this one, the sitter is far more likely to be Henry Dent’s mother-in-law and aunt, Mrs William Dent.]

Born a British Subject in Nova Scotia in or about 1801, Mary Browne married William Dent of Bickley in southeast London at some point after the death of his first wife in 1823. I have been unable to discover the date or location of the marriage. Both their daughters were born in India so the couple were possibly wed there. 

She appears on the 1851 census living with her husband and their two daughters, aged 18 and 12, at 8 Fitzroy Square near Tottenham Court Road in London. Also present on the night of the census were a governess and seven servants. Her husband gave ‘East India Director’ as his profession. 

In 1861 the family were at their residence in Bickley. This household also included seven live-in servants but there were many more living nearby with their families, including a coachman, a gamekeeper and several gardeners. 

In 1871 she and her husband were living at 7 Palace Road in Kingston, Surrey. The household included their grandson Vyvyan Dent, second son of their daughter, who had died in Shanghai in 1863 at the age of 20. 

Mary Dent died on 26 March 1877 at 7 Palace Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey. 

‘March 26, at Surbiton, Kingston-on-Thames, MARY, wife of WILLIAM DENT, late of the Bengal Civil service, aged 81’ (John Bull, 31 March 1877). 

[The 1851 census places her birth in 1801, as does the census of 1861. In 1871 she said she was 72 years old, which places her birth in 1799, but if she were 81 when she died in 1877 then she would have been born in 1796.]


code: cs1803
Mrs Dent, Dent, Camille Silvy, Silvy