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The Painter's Daughter and the Poor Law: Elizabeth Laroon (b. 1689 –fl.1736)

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Jeremy Boulton


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This article reconstructs the hitherto unknown life story of the only surviving daughter of the painter Marcellus Laroon the elder (c. 1648/9–1702). It begins with an updated biography of Elizabeth's father, outlines her probable financial situation at his death, and then goes on to reconstruct her catastrophic career. Elizabeth Laroon ended up as a pauper and was relieved under the Poor Law by the parish of St Martin in the Fields, Westminster for over 20 years. She spent time in the parish workhouse and experienced two stays in the Kingsland annexe of St Bartholomew's Hospital which specialized in venereal patients. Elizabeth Laroon's life history reveals much about the nature of family ties, the fragility of social position, the plight of single women, the impact of venereal disease, the identity — or perhaps more properly ‘identities’ — of ‘the poor’ and the social reach of the parish poor law in eighteenth-century London.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Boulton J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The London Journal

Year: 2017

Volume: 42

Issue: 1

Pages: 13-33

Print publication date: 01/01/2017

Online publication date: 23/12/2016

Acceptance date: 24/08/2015

ISSN (print): 0305-8034

ISSN (electronic): 1749-6322

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/03058034.2016.1266184


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