A portrait by
John Opie R.A.
Oil on canvas
36 ľ x 28 (92 x 72.1 cm.)
LADY DOROTHY FILMER seated half-length, wearing a white headdress with gold features, and a black shawl, a black ribbon around the neck. She sits in a red chair with brass nails along the top of the back. Hands clasped in her lap.
SIR JOHN FILMER (1716- 1797) married DOROTHY, DAUGHTER OF Rev. JULIUS DEEDES, prebendary of Canterbury.
He died 22nd February 1797. The title fell to his brother:
The portrait shows Lady Dorothy in mourning black, so must date from after 1797.
There were no children the estate and title passed to Sir Johnís brother,
SIR BEVERSHAM FILMER. (1718- 1805)
He married DOROTHEA, daughter of WILLIAM HENDLEY Esq, of GORE COURT, KENT. He died without issue 31st December 1805
BURKEíS PEERAGE names the wives of both John and Beversham as DOROTHY.
IRENE HALES in her article EAST SUTTON PARK presents a family tree essentially the same as Burkeís, but she names the wife of Beversham as DOROTHEA.
In the church of St Peter and St Paul at East Sutton, the family seat of the Filmers, the graves of the Filmers include the two ladies. One is clearly shown as Dorothea. The present picture must therefore be Dorothy nee Deedes.
When purchased in 1985, the picture was discovered to be in a frame which concealed two inches of the top of the canvas. It is now reframed so the proportions of the picture are as intended.
EAST SUTTON IN 1900
EAST SUTTON is a splendid Tudor mansion and may still be seen today, though its atmosphere has changed considerably since Lady Dorothyís occupation. The house is now a womenís prison.
THE FILMER FAMILY
Lady Dorothy knew that her family had a proud history, as did East Sutton Park.
The FILMER family was prominent in Kent, as far back as Edward 2ndís reign. At that time they were seated at the manor of HERST in Kent. In the reign of Elizabeth 1st, ROBERT FILMER purchased the estate of EAST SUTTON.
The distinguished history included Sir ROBERT FILMER, Knt. who was author of THE PATRIARCH, which asserted the Divine Right of Kings. He was a friend of Charles 1st. a parliamentarian in the civil war. The manor house was plundered ten times in one year. He was imprisoned in Leeds Castle.
The history continued with various figures of distinction.
Samuel Filmer was one of the six men mentioned as playing in what is believed to be the first record of a cricket match.
Dorothyís father- in law, Edward, was famous for fathering twenty sons.
THE LATER HISTORY OF EAST SUTTON PARK
The FILMERS continued to be prominent in the life of Kent, both political and social. Military honours were earned by Sir Robert Filmer who subsequently was fatally wounded by a shell in 1916. With his death, the baronetcy ceased.
There was a sale of much of the contents of the house.
East Sutton passed to his nephew, Arthur Thomas Filmer Wilson, who lived at East Sutton until 1939.
With the Second World War, East Sutton was requisitioned by the army.
After the war the house was sold to the Prison Commission and became the first open borstal Institute for girls in the country.
There was another sale of contents from the house in 1946.
Visitors to the VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM may observe furnishings from East Sutton in the displays. There are dummy boards in front of one of the fireplaces.