Mary, Countess of Rosse (1813–1885) Photographer and Philanthropist

  • Susan M. P. McKenna-Lawlor
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 292)


Mary Rosse, née Field, was born on 21 July 1813 at Heaton Hall near Bradford in Yorkshire, the elder daughter of John Wilmer and Anne Field. Her father, a former officer in the ‘Blues’, was a wealthy landowner whose ancestors had, for generations, been ‘Lords of the Manor’. Mary’s mother died shortly after the birth of her sister Delia and, although her father remarried, the upbringing of the two girls was entrusted, as was generally the custom in wealthy families, to their governess (Susan Lawson). Mary, while blossoming to womanhood, was taught by Miss Lawson to value hard work and personal discipline. Also, she encouraged the creative talent of her independently minded pupil and the bond between the pair was one that endured for life.


Memorial Window Spirited Owner Photographic Process Silver Medal Creative Talent 
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  1. Davison, David H., Impressions of an Irish Countess, The Photography of Mary, Countess of Rosse, The Birr Scientific Heritage Foundation, 1989.Google Scholar
  2. Parsons, Charles, The Scientific Papers of William Parsons, third Earl of Rosse, 1800–1867, Bradford and London, 1926.Google Scholar
  3. Rosse, Mary, Granny’s Chapters, in four volumes: Volume 1 - Creation to the Death of Moses; Volume 2 - Joshua to the Death of Ahab; Volume 3 - Death of Ahab to Herod the Great, London, 1870; Volume 4 - The New Testament, The Book of Acts, History of the Jews, London 1872.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan M. P. McKenna-Lawlor
    • 1
  1. 1.Space Technology Ireland Ltd.National University of IrelandMaynooth, Co. KildareIreland

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