Anne Mee (née Foldson) (c.1770/75-1851)
This pair of portraits were probably painted to commemorate the betrothal and subsequent marriage of the couple, which took place at Lauder, Berwick, Scotland in June 1793. Isabel was the daughter of James Maitland, 7th Earl of Lauderdale. The Lauderdales were a powerful and ancient Scottish family, but the daughter of the 7th Earl expanded the family horizons by moving to South Africa with her husband in 1797.
The Dashwood’s first visit to the Cape Colony was brief, lasting barely a year, but they returned to Cape Town in 1806 following the recovery of the colony as a British possession. The following year, Francis was made President of the Lombard Bank and appointed ‘Receiver of Revenue’ and ‘Collector of Customs’ at Simons Bay.
Having survived what must have been great challenges in their move abroad, including the arrival of two sons (Francis in 1809 and Maitland in 1813, born when Isabel Anne was in her late 30s and early 40s), the marriage foundered when their eldest son was sent to Eton in 1819. Isabel Anne returned to England with her sons, never to return to the Cape. Isabel Anne did not share a residence with her husband again, even when he returned to live in Dunbar, Scotland in 1825 where he died three years later.
Of the couple’s sons, Maitland Dashwood was in residence at Hall Place, Bexley, from around 1870 – previously the residence of Sir Francis Dashwood (1708-81), a member of the notorious Hellfire Club.
 Members of Dashwood’s later-named Hellfire Club were secret but recruited from the politically active peerage of the day. Rumours abound regarding the activities of the club but these may have revolved around pagan activities regarded as socially immoral.