Betty Ratcliffe, artist in service
Model of the classsical ruins at Palmyra, created by Betty Ratcliffe in 1773 from mother-of-pearl, mica and glass and loosely based on illustrations in Robert Wood's 'The Ruins of Palmyra' (1753). ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel
In response to a previous post on pagodas, a reader asked about the artist who created the model of the pagoda at Erddig. So here are some more of her works.
Needlework picture by Betty Ratcliffe, c. 1770, showing a spray of flowers including roses, honeysuckle and jasmine. ©National Trust/Susanne Gronnow
Elizabeth Ratcliffe (c. 1735-c. 1810) was the daughter of a Chester clockmaker. She became a lady’s maid and companion to Dorothy Yorke, née Hutton (d. 1787), who spent her long widowhood in the family’s London house in Park Lane.
Pencil drawing by Betty Ratcliffe after Hubert Drouais the younger, depicting the sons of the Duc de Bouillon as Montagnards, 1765. ©NTPL/John Hammond
The Yorke family recognised Betty’s talents and paid for her education. She seems to have excelled at fine and detailed work.
The Yorke family arms in cut paper, by Betty Ratcliffe. ©National Trust
There is a fascinating collection of servant portraits at Erddig, although sadly no picture of Betty – but she obviously lives on through her work.