Lady Frances (Fanny) Elizabeth Jocelyn (1820-1880)

Lady photographer who resided at White Rock Villa, St Leonards-on-Sea, between 1858 and 1878

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[ABOVE] Lady Frances Jocelyn reading a letter in the courtyard of White Rock Villa, St Leonards-on Sea, Hastings (c1863)

[ABOVE] A portrait of Viscount Robert Jocelyn (1816-1854) taken from a full-length painting by Francis Grant. Viscount Jocelyn is shown in army uniform. Viscount Robert Jocelyn died from cholera while serving as a Lieutenant-Colonel in a militia regiment.

Lady Frances Jocelyn was an aristocratic woman who took up photography in the late 1850s. She was born Frances Elizabeth Cowper on 9th February 1820 in London, the daughter of Peter Leopold Cowper, 5th Earl Cowper and the Honourable Emily Mary Lamb. In 1837, at the age of 17 and "then in the full bloom of her beauty", Frances, known as Fanny to her friends, was chosen by Queen Victoria to be one of her train-bearers at her Coronation ceremony on 28th June 1838. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, Fanny Jocelyn served as one of the twelve bridesmaids. Her uncle, Lord Beauvale commenting on her character reported that "all people tell me she is a straight forward, honest dear girl without coquetry."

[ABOVE] Lady Frances Jocelyn from a portrait painted by Sir William Ross in 1841. [BELOW] Viscountess Jocelyn listed in an 1851 Directory as the Premier Lady of the Bedchamber in Queen Victoria's Household

[ABOVE] Frances Elizabeth Cowper pictured around 1837, a few years  before she married Viscount Robert Jocelyn and became Viscountess Jocelyn. A portrait in crayon & chalk by John Hayter (1800-1895).

On 27th April 1841, at St. George's Church, Hanover Square, London, Frances Cowper married Robert Jocelyn, Viscount Jocelyn (1816-1854), the son of the 3rd Earl of Roden. Viscount Jocelyn was an army officer who had served in the Rifle Brigade and had taken part in the Chinese Expedition of 1840 (popularly known as the First Opium War). In 1842, Robert Jocelyn was elected Conservative M.P. for King's Lynn and for eighteen months served as Joint Secretary of the Board of Control. During this period Frances, now Viscountess Jocelyn, served Queen Victoria as a "Lady of the Bedchamber".

Lady Frances Jocelyn gave birth to her first child, Victoria Alexandria Emily Jocelyn, on 25th September 1842, but the infant died in September 1843 before reaching her first birthday. A second daughter, Alice Maria Jocelyn, was born in Hampshire on 2nd December 1843. Her third child was Edith Elizabeth Henrietta Jocelyn, who was born in London on 10th February 1845. Viscount and Viscountess Jocelyn's first son and heir, Robert Jocelyn, who later became the 4th Earl of Roden, was born on 22nd November 1846. Another son, Frederick Spencer Jocelyn, arrived on 11th July 1852.

In 1853, Viscount Robert Jocelyn was made a Lieutenant-Colonel and placed in command of a militia regiment. In 1854, Viscount Jocelyn's militia regiment were quartered at the Tower of London. There was an outbreak of cholera at The Tower and two members of his regiment died there. Viscount Jocelyn became ill with the disease and he died at Carlton Gardens, London on 12th August 1854 at the age of thirty-eight.

Lady Frances Jocelyn, at the age of 34, was a widow with four children. Around 1858, she moved down to the south coast and took up residence at White Rock Villa, a large house by the sea between Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea. It was around this time, that Lady Frances Jocelyn took up photography.


Lady Frances Jocelyn and Photography

[ABOVE] Family group on the steps of Lord Palmerston's house, Broadlands, Hampshire, probably photographed by William Graham Vivian  (c1858). Lady Emily Cowper, Fanny Jocelyn's widowed mother, had married Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, in 1839. Lord Palmerston, Fanny's step father, stands on the right at the back of this family group portrait. A former Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, Lord Palmerston became Prime Minister in 1859. Lady Fanny Jocelyn stands on the left.


[ABOVE] A photograph taken around 1860 showing Lady Frances Jocelyn seated alongside her stepfather, Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865)

Lady Frances Jocelyn developed her interest in photography in the late 1850s. An early photograph by Fanny Jocelyn, featuring three of her children, carries the date of 1858. Dr. Isobel Crombie, who has made a study of the life and work of Viscountess Frances Jocelyn, has suggested that Lady Jocelyn was given encouragement or instruction in photography by Dr Ernst Becker (1826-1888), Prince Albert's Librarian and a founder member of the Photographic Society of London, Lord Dudley Charles Fitzgerald de Ros (1827-1907), a keen amateur photographer and a member of the Photographic Society of London, and William Graham Vivian (1827-1912), a wealthy son of an industrialist and a member of the Photographic Society, who in 1858 had taken photographs of Broadlands, the country residence of  Lord Palmerston, Lady Jocelyn's stepfather.

[ABOVE] Viscountess Jocelyn elected as a Member of the Photographic Society on 1st November 1859, as reported in The Photographic Journal (15th November 1859)

Fanny's widowed mother, Lady Emily Cowper, had married Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865) in 1839. Fanny Jocelyn was a regular visitor to Broadlands, Lord Palmerston's country estate in Hampshire. In the late 1850s and early 1860s, Fanny Jocelyn took a number of photographs of Lord Palmerston's house and country estate at Broadlands.

On 1st November 1859, Viscountess Jocelyn was elected as a member of the Photographic Society of London. In 1862, Lady Jocelyn showed four of her photographic views of Broadlands at the International Exhibition held in London. The Jurors of the Photography Department at the International Exhibition awarded Lady Jocelyn an "honourable mention for artistic effect in landscape photography". Four Views of Broadlands, taken by Lady Jocelyn using the collodion process, were displayed at the Photographic Society of London's  Exhibition of Photographs and Daguerreotypes, held in London early in 1863. Lady Jocelyn also contributed photographs to the Amateur Photographic Association, which was formed in 1861. Several photographs by Lady Jocelyn were shown under the heading of "Groups and Landscapes" at the International Exhibition, which was held in Dublin in 1865.

[ABOVE] The drawing-room at Broadlands, an interior scene photographed by Lady Frances Jocelyn (c1860). Broadlands, near Romsey in Hampshire, was the country seat of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865). Lord Palmerston, was Fanny Jocelyn's step-father and she often visited his country house at Broadlands. Fanny Jocelyn took a number of photographs of Lord Palmerston's country house and estate at Broadlands and several were shown at exhibitions in London during the early 1860s.

Lady Frances Jocelyn at Hastings & St Leonards

[ABOVE] Lady Frances Jocelyn and her children in the courtyard of White Rock Villa, St Leonards-on Sea, near Hastings (c1863). Seated on the left is her eldest son, Robert, Lord Jocelyn, 4th Earl of Roden. Lady Jocelyn's youngest child, Frederick, sits in the middle on the garden steps. Placed between the two brothers are Fanny Jocelyn's two daughters, Alice and Edith. Lady Frances Jocelyn sits on the ground holding a parasol. [ABOVE] Lady Frances Jocelyn and her two daughters, Alice and Edith, in the courtyard of White Rock Villa, St Leonards-on Sea, near Hastings (c1863). Lady Frances sits on the steps, spinning wool. Both these two pictures are taken from an album entitled "Bygone Hours by the Viscountess Jocelyn."

Photo-Collages created by Lady Frances Jocelyn

[ABOVE] Nine photographic portraits arranged in a diamond shape, with a painted decorated border of cherry blossom. The studio portraits show members of Lord Palmerston's family. Lord Palmerston became Fanny Jocelyn's stepfather when he married her widowed mother Lady Emily Cowper in 1839.

[National Gallery of Australia]

[ABOVE] A photographic portrait in the bulls-eye of an archery target. A photo-collage believed to have been created by Lady Frances Jocelyn around 1860. The studio portrait is surrounded by a colourful archery target painted in watercolour.

[National Gallery of Australia]


1861 Census : White Rock Villa, St. Leonards-on-Sea, Hastings





Rank, Profession or Occupation

Where Born

Viscountess Jocelyn, Fanny  Head 41




Alice Jocelyn  Daughter 17 Unmarried  


Edith Jocelyn Daughter 16 Unmarried   London
Lord Jocelyn, Robert Son 14 Unmarried   London
Frederick Jocelyn Son 9 Unmarried   London
Clara Hooper


48 Unmarried Governess  
Hannah Sessions


52 Unmarried Nurse London
Elizabeth Blizard


34 Unmarried Lady's Maid London
Marie Beter Servant 27 Unmarried Lady's Maid  
Ann Cox Servant 23 Unmarried Cook  
Rachael Hinkley Servant 20 Unmarried Kitchen Maid Sussex
John Moon Servant 20 Unmarried


[ABOVE] Details from the 1861 census return for Viscountess Fanny Jocelyn's household at White Rock Villa, near Hastings. It is quite remarkable that a lady of nobility should give her occupation as "Photographer", surely an indication of her strong devotion to photography.

[ABOVE] Lady Frances Jocelyn reading a letter in the courtyard of White Rock Villa, St Leonards-on Sea, Hastings (c1863)

Lady Frances Jocelyn acquired White Rock Villa, a house on the seafront between Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea, around 1858. She resided at White Rock Villa until about 1878. The 1861 census for Hastings & St Leonards, records Viscountess Fanny Jocelyn and her four surviving children at White Rock Villa, together with seven household servants. Although Lady Jocelyn was a titled lady and a member of the nobility, she informed the census enumerator that her occupation was "Photographer". By this date, Lady Jocelyn was a member of the Photographic Society of London and was about to exhibit her photographs to the general public.
[ABOVE] Viscountess Jocelyn recorded as a "Private Resident" at White Rock Villa, St Leonards-on Sea, in the 1859 edition of The Post Office Directory of Sussex. [ABOVE] Viscountess Jocelyn recorded at White Rock Villa, St Leonards-on Sea, in the Court section of the 1866 edition of The Post Office Directory of Sussex.

During her time at White Rock Villa, Lady Jocelyn made several photographs of her four children - Alice, Edith, Robert and Frederick. Fanny Jocelyn posed her children on the terrace and courtyard of White Rock Villa. Nine albumen prints produced by Fanny Jocelyn, which featured carefully composed images of herself and her children at White Rock Villa, were placed in a photograph album under the title "Bygone Hours by the Viscountess Jocelyn".

In the 1860s, Fanny Jocelyn devoted many hours to the creation of private photograph albums. Some of the photographs were cut up and pasted on a sheet to form montage pictures to illustrate a family tree or to give an impression of her daily life.

It seems that Lady Jocelyn might have taken up residence on the south coast of England partly because of health reasons. All four of Fanny Jocelyn's children appeared to be suffering from tuberculosis. Alice Maria Jocelyn, Fanny's eldest daughter died in London on 29th November 1867 at the age of 23. Her second daughter, Edith Elizabeth Henrietta Jocelyn lived to marry Sir Arthur Saunders Fox Gore, 5th Earl of Arran on 21st February 1865 and she produced four children over the next five years. However, on 3rd October 1871, Edith died in Basle, Switzerland at the early age of twenty-six. The following month, on 12th November 1871, Fanny Jocelyn's youngest child, Frederick Spencer Jocelyn, died at the age of 19. Fanny's remaining child, Robert Jocelyn, 4th Earl of Roden, also pre-deceased his mother, dying unmarried on 9th January 1880, at the age of thirty-three.

In the late 1870s, Lady Jocelyn's own health was failing. She travelled to the south coast of France visiting the seaside resorts of Nice and Cannes. Lady Frances Jocelyn died at Cannes on 26th March 1880, aged sixty.



The Work and Life of Viscountess Frances Jocelyn : Private Lives by Isobel Crombie ( History of Photography, Volume 22 : Issue 1 , pages 40-51, 5th February 1998 ) ; Country House Camera by Christopher Simon Sykes (Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1980 ) ; Photographic Exhibitions in Britain 1839 -1865 Compiled by Roger Taylor [ website http://www.peib.org.uk/index.php ]; European Royalty & Nobility : A genealogical collection by Brigitte Gastel Lloyd - Contributor :  Leo van de Pas ( Worldroots.com ); 1861 Census; thePeerage.com website - a genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain. Thanks to Michael Pritchard for supplying information about Lady Jocelyn's membership of the Photographic Society of London.




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