Louisa Courtauld, c. 1770
Louisa Perina Ogier
Daughter of a silk weaver from France, Peter Abraham Ogier and his wife Catherine Rabaud, Louisa Courtauld was born in London, in which city she spent most of her career. Her family's home at 19 Princelet Street, a 'brick messuage' built in 1719, is now being conserved as a museum of immigration and diversity.
At the age of 20 she married Samuel Courtauld (goldsmith), son of Augustin Courtauld, a metalsmith of Huguenot extraction. With him she had eight children, although only four survived, 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 Augustin Courtauld 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.
As a widow, she may have lived in a cottage behind Joseph Priestley's house off Clapton Square on the corner of Clapton Passage and Lower Clapton Road in Hackney. Her last will and testament, probated 27 January 1807, identifies her as "Louisa Perina Courtauld, Widow of Saint John Hackney, Middlesex." She was originally buried in the vault of Christ Church, Spitalfields, East London. However, following extensive archaeological excavation of the Spitalfields church crypt in the 1980s, prior to the church's restoration, her body was removed and examined. Her remains were reburied in Gosfield Church, Essex in 2002.
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