Penelope Carwardine

Personal data
Born 1729 ca.
in Withington, Herefordshire

Died October, 1804
ca.
in Herefordshire
Alias
Cadwaldin
Biography

Daughter of John Carwardine (b. 1703) and Anne Bullock (1700-1765). Married (1763 or 1772) to James Butler (b. ca. 1727, d. 1774), organist at Ranelagh, St. Margaret's & St. Anne's.

According to the Dictionary of National Biography and other sources, she was instructed in the art of miniature painting by Ozias Humphrey, mastering the art in 1754. The miniature painter Ozias Humphrey was, however, not born until 1742, and it must be considered whether historical sources have at some point been confused and that Humphrey had instead been taught by Carwardine.

According to some sources she gave up her work as an artist shortly after she married James Butler on May 26, 1763, at St. James the Less in Thorndike Street. It is a known fact that some of her works were exhibited by the Society of Arts as late as 1772, which may explain why her year of marriage is occasionally given as 1772 despite clear evidence in the church records that it took place in 1763.

Life with Boswell

Boswell went to her home in London on March 15, 1763, to call on Lord Eglinton, who was having a miniature done, and again on March 21 and April 11. Having spelt her name correctly on the first two occasions, on the latter date he for some reason thought that her name was being spelt Cadwaldin.

He described Carwardine as "a very good-looking, agreeable woman; unmarried, but I imagine virtuous."1

  • 1. Journal entry March 15, 1763.