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Barbara’s Miniature

For all the records of a person’s birth, death and marriage, nothing can surpass an episode that brings to life his or her character and appearance.

One such is seen in an article in the Hereford Journal of 4 August 1824, made possible by the wonderful British Newspaper Archive.

Henry Harcourt Wynne Aubrey, whose life is examined in detail in Sons & Spouses, always liked to be known as once being an officer in the prestigious ‘Royal Regiment of Horse Guards Blue’, which is how the reporter introduced him in the story.

Henry had been married to Barbara Brown for ten years. Elizabeth Grant who knew her and her family well wrote in Memoirs of a Highland Lady, that she was ‘such a pretty woman, beautiful indeed, a great deal handsomer than Mrs Munro her sister.’

Perhaps to celebrate their ten years of marriage, Henry commissioned a miniature of his lovely wife, and the ornament being faulty, he took it to a Mr Carter to get it mended.

Mr Carter subsequently ‘retained possession of the miniature under the pretence of getting it repaired and illegally detained it’.

Henry applied to the Magistrate at Bow Street for a warrant to apprehend Carter. According to the reporter, ‘on hearing the circumstances of the case, the Magistrate granted a warrant for the apprehension of the party concerned. This was placed in the hands of Officer Perry, who succeeded in capturing the party at an early hear yesterday morning.’

The report continued: ‘Mr Aubrey stated that owing to the exertions of the Officer, the miniature had been given up. He therefore requested that the Magistrate discharge the warrant as he had no wish to proceed further with the matter, which the Magistrate kindly agreed to.

‘The worthy Magistrate on examining the miniature, complimented Mr Aubrey on having so beautiful a wife and jocosely observed that it was far better the man should run away with the lady’s miniature, than with the lady herself.’

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