Sarah Freese was baptised on 20th September 1771 at Saint Philip’s, Birmingham, England. She was daughter to Nicholas Freese, Merchant of Guisborough, North Yorkshire, and Birmingham, and his wife, Elizabeth (née Rowney).
Son to Jurgen Freese, and his wife, Maria, Nicholas was born in Hamburg, Germany. He married Miss Rowney on 30th March 1758 in the Parish of Saint Martin, Birmingham, becoming a naturalised British subject on 21st December 1767. Passing in Birmingham in 1807, Elizabeth also soon passed, following in 1808.
Married to 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, Sarah enjoyed a comfortable position within high society. Eloping at Saint Andrew’s, Holborn, London, on 1st January 1793, their marriage was witnessed by her brother, Nicolas Jr., and Richard Perry.
On marrying Miss Freese, the Reverend was aged fifty-five years. Green’s primary education was grounded at Sutton Valance Boarding School, Maidstone, Kent, before matriculating into Saint John’s College, Cambridge, on 29th June 1753, aged fifteen years. He had, at the time of his nineteenth birthday, two degrees. Undergraduates during this epoch, studying the Batchelor of Arts degree, were made to sit the Mathematical Tripos, known then as the Senate House Examination. His Master of Arts was obtained in 1757, a year after obtaining his principal degree. William’s brother, Vincent, also matriculated into Saint John’s College, Cambridge, entering on 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, also his father’s Executor, was aged fourteen years. Edward, the youngest, was baptised in Bexley Parish Church, Kent, on 29th January 1806.
Nicholas Freese Jr., 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 final 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. However, on the contrary, it is highly likely that sometime between 1793 and 1808, Nicholas painted the Reverend and Mrs W Green’s twinned oils, though no signature is evident. 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. At the time Nicholas is living in London, Sarah also is; marrying only three years later. Though pure supposition, perhaps these twinned canvases were marriage gifts, or perhaps commission pieces to mark their union.