The Honourable Georgiana Bloomfield was born on 4 Oct 1809 daughter of Benjamin Bloomfield, 1st Baron of Oakhampton and Redwood in Co Tipperary and (Douglas) Bloomfield.

Little is written about Georgiana and indeed she is much overshadowed by her namesake who married her brother John Arthur Bloomfield, 2nd Baron Bloomfield.

Georgiana married Henry Trench on 22 Oct 1836, he the 2nd son of William Trench of Cangort park, Shinrone, Co. Offaly. This match was the key to his fortune as as he went on to inherit some 12,000 acres from the Bloomfields. William Steuart Trench was a controversial land agent who managed the Lansdowne estate in county Kerry during the Famine. His observations on the effects of the famine on the rural population around him are extensively described in his book Realities of Irish Life published in 1868.

The back of this portrait is almost more interesting than the front! It tells us that it was William Trench, Georgiana’s father-in-law who completed the work from a drawing by Rev F.F. Trench. Rev. Trench was the Protestant curate of Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary and lived at Deerpark House which was owned by William Trench. During the famine Rev. Trench organised “eating-houses” to feed 15,000 people in the Mizen Peninsula in Co Cork. Between October 1846 and May 1847, a quarter of the population of Ballydehob was swept away by famine and disease according to the parish priest.

Henry Trench, Georgiana’s husband, was a substantial landowner in Tipperary, Offaly, Limerick, Clare and Galway. Large portions of his land bordered the River Shannon. Despite remedial works carried out on the river during previous decades, regular flooding of “valuable hay and meadow land” persisted and in 1880 he published a series of images depicting submerged farmland and floating haycocks. Henry Trench lobbied the British government on the matter with various drainage schemes funded during the nineteenth century. The original watercolours, by an unknown artist, have not been found.

And so back to Georgiana who is surrounded by interesting characters but yields little of herself. A musical composition called ‘Ruth’, by a composer of the time Eliza Davis, is dedicated to Georgiana.

Now a lady by the name of Eliza Davis was a long time correspondent of Charles Dickens! She famously wrote to Dickens expressing a wish that his character Fagin in Oliver Twist had been represented differently, that is to say less anti-Jewish. Eliza and her husband James Phineas Davis purchased their home Tavistock house from Dickens and so began a lifelong correspondence between Eliza and Dickens.

Is this Eliza Davis the same lady who composed the musical piece and dedicated it to Georgiana?

At this point the trail runs cold and I cannot verify the connection. However, if there is anyone out there who wants to dig a little more and can confirm or deny please take up the baton! I, for one, would love to know!

The Irish Portrait collection has been donated to the Irish Georgian Society and is on loan to Castletown House to be displayed in the Lady Kildare Room.