Kathleen Newton was the Irish mistress, model and muse of the French artist, James Jacques Tissot.
Kathleen was descended from an Irish Catholic medical family and raised in India.
Kate was DAUGHTER to FATHER - Charles Frederick Ashburnham Kelly (an Irish army officer) MOTHER - Flora (Boyd) Kelly
Kathleen had two siblings: BROTHER - Frederick W.D. "Freddie" Kelly SISTER - Mary Pauline "Polly" Kelly (?)
Her parents eventually retired from India to England in the mid-1860s. Her father promised his sixteen-year-old daughter's hand in marriage to a surgeon with the Indian Civil Service named Isaac Newton.
During the outward voyage to be wed, Captain Palliser became obsessed with Kate's beauty; However, he did not succeed in his seduction. After the marriage to Newton in January 1870 and before consummation, Kate — on the advice of her Catholic confessor — explained to the new groom (Isaac Newton) the situation regarding the Palliser.
The scorned Newton immediately started divorce proceedings. He sent Kate back to England. The Captain paid for her passage. She covered this traveling expense by promising she would become the mistress of the Captain. She eventually became pregnant by him, but refused to wed the Captain.
Kate gave birth to a daughter - Muriel V.M. Newton - (called 'Violet). The child was born on Dec 20, 1871 in YOrkshire. The child's birth also happened on the same day as her Mother's 'decree nisi' was final. Kate and Violet moved in with her sister, Polly and her husband, at Hill Road, St John's Wood.
In March 1876 Kate gave birth to a son, Cecil George Newton Ashburnham. French painter Jacques Tissot is believed to be the father. He moved to London in 1871 and had settled in St John's Wood.
Kate eventually moved into Tissot's residence at No 17 Grove End Road (now re-numbered 44). She was the love of his life. She sat for innumerable paintings with the grounds and interior of Grove End Road as backdrops.
He called her "Mavourneen" (a term of endearment derived from the Irish Gaelic mo mhuirnín, meaning "my beloved"; also possibly a reference to the song "Kathleen Mavourneen") and "ravissante Irlandaise" ("delightful Irish").
Tissot was distressed at the conflict of her Irish Catholic background, divorce and status of unmarried mother of two children.
Tissot was one of the most highly regarded and successful painters of the day. He oft described their homelife together as ‘domestic bliss'.
Kate contracted tuberculosis. She was unable to bear Tissot's mounting grief as well as her own suffering. She killed herself with an overdose of laudanum. Kate died in November 1882.
Tissot sat by her coffin for four days. Because of her suicide and religion, Kate was buried in 'unconsecrated ground' in Kensal Green Cemetery, in London.
"Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight."
BY - Rossiter Worthington Raymond
This biography is humbly presented by Audrey Burtrum-Stanley / Arkansas