Mrs Augusta Innes Withers (British, 1792–1877)
A white hen with her chicks
Signed and inscribed on pink ribbon: Mrs Withers 26 Grove Place. Delt., watercolour with gum arabic
12 x 23.9 cm; 4 3⁄4 x 9 3⁄8 inches
Provenance: Henry Rogers Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven (1800– 1973)
Augusta Innes Withers, the daughter of a Chaplain to the Prince Regent, was born in Cheltenham. She was well known to contemporaries and widely praised for her botanical and bird pictures, characterised by her meticulously detailed and accurate work which is beautifully exemplified in the present drawing. Withers exhibited widely, at the Royal Academy in London from 1829 to 1846, the Royal Society of British Artists where she showed sixty-eight works between 1832–65 and the New Society of Painters in Water Colours. She was one of the earliest members of the Society of Women Artists where she exhibited forty-three works from 1857–75.
Withers was appointed flower painter to Queen Adelaide in 1833, flower and fruit painter to Queen Victoria in 1864 and is listed as a painter to the Horticultural Society.
In 1822 she married Theodore Withers (1782–1869), an accountant from Middlesex. The couple lived mainly in London and had at least two children, Theodore (b. 1823) and Augusta (b. 1825).
Withers contributed to a large number of publications including The Botanist, John Lindley’s Pomonological Magazine and Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. She illustrated Robert Thompson’s The Gardener’s Assistant, 1859 and collaborated with Sarah Drake on James Bateman’s Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala.
Three of Withers’ works are in the Natural History Museum, London, and a large number of her original watercolours are held in the Lindley Library of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Henry Rogers Broughton succeeded his older brother Urban Huttlestone Broughton as the 2nd Lord Fairhaven in 1966. He was born in the United States and educated at Harrow, before joining the Royal Horse Guards in 1920.
Both brothers were great collectors and Henry put together one of the largest twentieth century collections of paintings, drawings, gouaches and miniatures. He left a large bequest of one hundred and twenty ower paintings, over nine hundred watercolours and drawings and forty- four volumes of drawings by botanical artists such as Redouté and Ehret to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge in the Broughton Bequest.