Anonymous sale, Phillips London, The Connoisseur's Cabinet, 11 July 2000, lot 383
Wood recorded the present miniature as 'Mrs Johnstone of Charles St. Grosvenor Square fin'd 9 Nov, fine and fair complexion, plain white dress, fair brown hair, in large waves, 1800 Jan 7. Went to Arlington Street on the request of Col. Cotton [sic]'.
The sitter was the daughter of Thomas Storer of Purley Park, Berkshire and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Proby, Maid of Honour to Queen Charlotte. Whilst Julia was staying with the Cottin family as a lady's companion, she became the mistress of Colonel Josiah Cottin (see following lot) and assumed the false name 'Mrs Johnstone'. The affair resulted in several children and while under Cottin's protection she later lived in Primrose Hill. She was a rival of the notorious courtesan Harriet Wilson, who defamed her in her Memoirs published in 1825 and forced her to quickly publish the Confessions of Julia Johnstone in order to clear her slandered name.
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