Sarah Freese was baptised on Friday, 20th September 1771 at Saint Philip’s, Birmingham, England. She was the daughter of Nicholas Freese, Merchant of Guisborough (North Yorks) and Birmingham, and his wife, Elizabeth Rowney.
Son to Jurgen Freese, and his wife, Maria, Nicholas was born in Hamburg, Germany. He married Elizabeth Rowney on Thursday, 30th March 1758 in the Parish of Saint Martin, Birmingham, becoming a naturalised British subject on Monday, 21st December 1767.
Sarah married the Reverend William Green, B.A., M.A., Professor of Mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and Vicar of Bexley, Kent, at the age of twenty-two years, contrasting the Reverend’s fifty-five years.
They were married at Saint Andrew’s, Holborn, London, on Tuesday, 1st January 1793, witnessed by Sarah’s brother, Nicolas Jr., and Richard Perry.
Green’s primary education was grounded at Sutton Valance Boarding School, Maidstone, Kent, before matriculating into Saint John’s College, Cambridge on Friday, 29th June 1753, aged fifteen years. He had, at the time of his nineteenth birthday, two degrees.
During this epoch, undergraduates studying the Batchelor of Arts degree were made to sit the Mathematical Tripos, known then as the Senate House Examination. William obtained his Master of Arts in 1757, a year after obtaining his BA.
William’s brother, Vincent, also matriculated into Saint John’s College, Cambridge, entering on Sunday, 6th June 1762, aged nineteen years. Their father, William, had a Mathematical Academy in Shoreham, Kent, between c.1750-1765.
At the time of his death, the Reverend Green was survived by his wife, Sarah, then aged thirty-seven, first born, George Rowney Green, and additional children, Henry, Frederick, and Edward. George, his father’s Executor, was aged fourteen years. Edward, the youngest, was baptised in Bexley Parish Church, Kent on Wednesday, 29th January 1806.
Nicholas Freese Jr.
Nicholas Freese Jr., Sarah’s brother, exhibited works at the Royal Academy, London, from 1794 to 1814. His son, Lieutenant George Fraser Freese of the 59th Regiment of Foot, was killed during the storming of Salamanca, Spain in 1813, aged twenty-two years. A portrait, a submission in memoriam of George, was showcased at the Royal Academy at the culmination of the Peninsula War.
More concerned with miniature painting, there seems to be little portraiture or landscape works attributed to Nicholas’s name, though in 1790 Wakefield’s Merchant and Tradesman’s General Directory for London lists him as a ‘Portrait and Landscape painter’, residing at 462 Strand, London.
Almond shaped eyes, a most useful marker, are commonly found in works by his hand. Almost all miniatures of his type show this distinction in style, a distinction Sarah clearly exhibits, as per the image above.
It is therefore likely that sometime between 1793 (the year of Sarah’s marriage to the Reverend Green) and 1808 (the year of the Reverend Green’s death), Nicholas painted the Reverend and Mrs Green’s (his sister, Sarah) twinned oils, though no signature is evident.
Pure supposition, perhaps these twinned canvases were wedding gifts or commissioned pieces to mark their union?