Daughter of a silk weaver from France, Courtauld was born in London, in which city she spent most of her career. She lived in a cottage behind Joseph Priestley's house off Clapton Square on the corner of Clapton Passage and Lower Clapton Road in Hackney. At the age of 20 she married Samuel Courtauld (goldsmith), son of Augustin Courtauld, a metalsmith of Huguenot extraction. With him she had seven children, and until his death in 1765 they ran a successful business. After her husband died, Louisa continued to run the firm by herself; some years later, she took on George Cowles, who had been the head apprentice, as a business partner. In 1777 her son, Samuel Courtauld II, replaced him in that capacity. This arrangement lasted three years; when it ended the two closed the business. Samuel moved to America, while Louisa retired to Essex.
Courtauld's firm was known for the high quality of its wares. She and her husband made their reputation with silver in the then-popular Rococo style from France; however, by the time of her partnership with Cowles, tastes had shifted towards Neoclassicism, and the company changed its output accordingly.
Courtauld's father-in-law had studied with Simon Pantin, whose daughter, Elizabeth Godfrey, was to become with Courtauld one of the very few female silversmiths of distinction in eighteenth-century London.
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