Henrietta de Beaulieu Dering Johnston (c. 1674 – March 9, 1729) was a pastelist of indefinite origin lively in the English colonies in North America from nearly 1708 until her death. She is both the antediluvian recorded female player and the first known pastelist functional in the English colonies, and is the first portraitist known to have worked in what would become the southern United States.
Both the date and place of Johnston's birth are unknown; it has been suggested, and is generally accepted, that she was born in northwestern France, near the town of Rennes. Her parents, both French Huguenots, were Francis (possibly Cézar) and Suzanna de Beaulieu, and the family immigrated to London in either 1685 or 1687. [note 1] In 1694 Henrietta married Robert (possibly William) Dering, fifth son of Sir Edward Dering, 2nd Baronet,, and his wife Mary; she and her husband subsequently moved to Ireland. It was during this epoch that Johnston began to magnetism pastels. Her primeval portraits depicted a number of powerful people to whom she was amalgamated by marriage; among these were John Perceval, later to become Earl of Egmont, and one of the Earls of Barrymore. Her earliest steadfast pastel dates to 1704.
Dering's husband died in very nearly 1704, leaving Henrietta a widow subsequent to two daughters. In 1705 she married again, this period to Anglican clergyman Gideon Johnston, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin then serving as the vicar at Castlemore. Two years later, he was appointed by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts to encourage as commissary of the Church of England in North and South Carolina and the Bahama Islands. He was afterward to sustain as rector of St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Charleston. The couple's times in the colonies was hard; Johnston was frequently writing the Society to request payment of his salary, which was often delayed, and their lives were extra hampered by illness, lack of supplies, and isolate from family. In one of his letters to his patron Gilbert Burnet, written in 1709, Johnston mentions that "were it not for the guidance my wife gives by drawing of Pictures (which can last but a Tiny time in a place so ill peopled) I should not be skillful to live", indicating that Henrietta had once more taken up her drawing to include the couple's income. Another letter, dated a year later, reveals that she had manage out of drawing materials and suffered "a long and tedious Sickness". Johnston made one return vacation to England, in 1711–1712; her husband, too, returned there once, from 1713 to 1715. He died in a boating crash in 1716, not long after returning to Charleston.
Little is known of Johnston's parenthood in the colonies. She is known to have traveled at some tapering off to New York City, as four portraits old 1725 exist depicting members of a relatives from that city. She returned to Charleston at some become old before her death in 1729.
Johnston and her second husband are buried together in the cemetery of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Charleston. One of her daughters by her first marriage, Mary Dering, later became lady-in-waiting to the daughters of George II.
A assistance has been made that Johnston was connected to the painter and dancing master William Dering, who migrated to Charleston from Williamsburg, Virginia in 1749, but this is not generally accepted.
It is run of the mill whether or not Johnston studied painting and drawing; however, given the sophistication of her work, it is likely that she did indeed receive some form of training. Similarities amongst her pastels and the works of Irish player Edmund Ashfield and of Edward Luttrell indicate that she may have studied in the same way as them at some point.
In pose and coloring, many of Johnston's portraits strongly resemble those of Sir Godfrey Kneller, which at the grow old were greatly in fashion in the United Kingdom and the colonies. Her pastels from Ireland are drawn in deep earth tones, while those from her grow old in South Carolina are generally lighter and smaller, due likely to the precious nature of her materials, which had to be imported. The Irish works, which accomplish the most attention to detail of anything her works, depict sitters at three-quarter length, as realize the out of date of her Carolina pastels. Johnston's American female subjects are usually shown wearing chemises, while the male subjects are drawn mostly in street clothes; some of the latter are depicted wearing armor. Each subject is shown sitting erect, with the head frequently turned at a offend angle from the body and towards the viewer. The faces are typically dominated by large oval eyes. Works dating to after her second husband's death are less finished; details of clothing are less well-defined and colors are less saturated, suggesting either that the artist was government out of materials or that she was keen at greater swiftness to resolution commissions.
Johnston usually signed her portraits upon their wooden backing, noting her name, the location of completion, and the date of triumph in order. A typical signature is the inscription upon the reverse of her portrait of Philip Perceval: Henrietta Dering Fecit / Dublin Anno 1704. Johnston was on the order of exclusively a portraitist; the and no-one else landscapes certified to her hand are the backgrounds of a pair of children's portraits from New York, which are along with her forlorn known portraits of children.
About forty portraits by Johnston are known to survive; many have preserved their native frames and backboards, on which her signature may be found. These mostly depict members of her social circle and, later, of her husband's Charleston congregation, such as Colonel William Rhett. Many of her South Carolina portraits depict members of Huguenot families that had established in the New World, including the Prioleaus, Bacots (including Pierre Bacot and his first wife Marianne Fleur Du Gue) and duBoses (including Judith DuBose). Today, a number of her works are held by the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, which has developed an interactive online exhibition dedicated to her work; other pieces may be seen in the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Greenville County Museum of Art. Johnston is not known to have worked in oils, but one of her portraits was copied at some tapering off by Jeremiah Theus.
Nine portraits, each depicting members of the Southwell and Perceval families, were owned by American preservationist Jim Williams and displayed at his Mercer House in Savannah, Georgia. Seven are inscribed "Dublin, Ireland" and are out of date from 1704 to 1705. They were put happening for sale by Sotheby's in 2000, seven considering their native frames. Williams protected them from the vivacious in an upstairs dressing room where the shutters were kept closed.