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Artwork Details
Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) Mathematician; Daughter of Lord Byron
Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) Mathematician; Daughter of Lord Byron
 
Artist 
Margaret Carpenter
Title 
Ada, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852) Mathematician; Daughter of Lord Byron  
Date  
1836
Medium  
Oil on canvas
Dimensions  
216(H) x 137(W)
Inscription  
br: Margaret Carpenter / 1836
Acquisition  
Purchased from the 4th Earl of Lytton via Leggatt Bros, June 1953
Number  
2172
Description

Ada, Countess of Lovelace, stands at the foot of a staircase and steps delicately forward, demurely turning her face away from the viewer.

Lord Byron married Annabella Milbanke, daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke, in 1815. The couple┐s only child, Ada, was born just before they separated amid bitter quarrels the following year. Ada was raised by her mother and educated in mathematics and sciences to prevent her following in her father┐s footsteps as a poet. She became famous at a young age through the following lines from her father┐s hugely successful poem Childe Harold:

Is thy face like thy mother┐s, my fair child!
Ada! Sole daughter of my house and my heart?
When last I saw thy young blue eyes they smiled,

Ada became a mathematician and assisted Charles Babbage in his work on mechanical computers. Babbage was impressed by her intellect and her writings on his designs for an analytical engine, the forerunner of the computer, are highly valued by historians today. The programming language ADA was also named after her.

In 1835, Ada married Lord King, created Earl of Lovelace in 1838. The couple had two sons and a daughter. However, in her later life Ada suffered poor health and also gambled. Her illness, coupled with financial ruin, led her mother, Lady Byron, to take over the Lovelace household. Ada died in severe pain from cancer of the womb. By her own request she was buried next to her father in the church of St Mary Magdalene, Hucknall.

Margaret Carpenter, a painter of portrait and figure subjects, was born Margaret Geddes in Salisbury in 1793. She was encouraged by the Second Earl of Radnor, Jacob Pleydell-Bouverie, to move to London and arrived in 1814. She established her reputation as a fashionable portrait painter and exhibited at the Royal Academy for almost 50 years between 1818 and 1866.
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