Lady Clementina Hawarden (1 June 1822-19 January 1865) was a noted portrait photographer of the 1860s. Hawarden first began to experiment with photography in 1857, taking stereoscopic landscape photographs before moving to large-format, stand-alone portraits of her daughters.
Much of Hawarden’s life remains a mystery to us. It is doubtful that she kept a diary as nothing has been discovered, and there are few surviving letters to give us any insight into her life or character. We know that she married Cornwallis Maude, 4th Viscount Hawarden, in 1845 and lived in London until 1857, when she moved with her husband to the family estate in Dundrum, Co. Tipperary, Ireland. Most of what we do know about Hawarden is deduced from her photographs.
Hawarden and her husband had ten children, two boys and eight girls, out of whom eight survived to adulthood. At the same time as being absorbed in motherhood, she was a prolific photographer. She exhibited her work with the Photographic Society of London in 1863 and 1864, under the titles ‘Studies from Life’ and ‘Photographic Studies’, and was awarded the Society’s silver medal in both years.
Tragically, Hawarden was never to collect her medals. She died at 5 Princes Gardens, South Kensington, on 19 January 1865, after suffering from pneumonia for one week, aged 42. It has been suggested that her immune system was weakened by constant contact with the photographic chemicals.