Paul Frecker
Fine Photographs

Countess of Dunmore

Volume 1, page 145, sitting number 781. 

Born on 31 October 1814 at Arlington Street in London, Lady Catherine Herbert was the daughter of General George Augustus Herbert, 11th Earl of Pembroke, and his second wife, the former Countess Catherine Vorontsov, daughter of the Russia ambassador to the Court of St James’s. 

On 27 May 1836 she married Alexander Edward Murray, who succeeded to his father titles and estates a few months later, becoming the 6th Earl of Dunmore. Their marriage produced four children.

In 1841 Lady Dunmore was appointed a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria but on the death of her husband in 1845 she resigned her post. 

The widowed Countess found herself responsible for 150,000 acres of the Dunmore estate on the Isle of Harris. Here she made several improvements and helped many of her tenants emigrate during the Highland Potato Famine of 1846-47 but she is best remembered for her promotion of the now famous Harris tweed, turning a local industry into a lucrative souce of income for the islanders. Recognising the sales potential of the fabric, she organised the local weavers and established techniques that removed from the cloth the irregularities caused by dyeing, spinning and weaving by hand. Today Harris Tweed has becoma a global brand, although the cloth is still handspun by the islanders in the Outer Hebrides. 

Lady Dunmore died, aged 71, on 12 February 1886 at Carberry Tower near Iveresk in East Lothian. She was buried at Dunmore. 


code: cs1809
Lady Catherine Herbert, Lady Catherine Murray, Catherine Murray, Earl of Dunmore, Countess of Dunmore, Dunmore, Harris Tweed, Camille Silvy, Silvy