1763 – 1835
Portrait of Lady Romilly

Watercolour and pencil
Image size: 9 ¼ x 6 ¾ inches

Lady Anne Romilley (nee Garbett) was born in 1773 in Herefordshire and married Samuel Romilley in 1798, with whom she had two sons.

Samuel was a distinguished barrister at Grays Inn, and became a KC in 1800.  He went on to become Solicitor Gemeral, and subsequently a Member of Parliament for the Whig Party.  He was a vocal opponent of the slave trade and gave his support to the William Wilberforce Abolition campaign. He was a passionate speaker on this subject and once earned a standing ovation in the House of Commons, an incredibly rare occurrence.

Romilley was also a leading campaigner for the reformation of criminal law. In 1808 he managed to repeal the Elizabethan statute which made it a capital offence to steal from the person. In 1812 he had repealed another statute of Elizabeth I making it a capital offence for a soldier or a mariner to beg without a pass from a magistrate or his commanding officer. He succeeded in abolishing hanging, drawing and quartering in 1814.

In October 1818 Anne died on the Isle of Wight, after a long illness.  Her death was a terrible shock to Samuel, and after returning to the family home in Russell Square he became delirious.  Whilst unwatched for a moment he sprung from his bed and slit his throat and died within a few moments.  His nephew,  Peter Mark Roget,  attended to Romilly in his final moments. His last words were recorded as ‘My dear, I wish …’ presumably regarding his late wife.