This photograph was taken inside the mausoleum dedicated to the founders of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, one of whom was Margaret Desenfans. As for Ligeia... [link]
"Margaret Morris was a lady of character and enterprise, born in Clasemount, County Glamorgan, in 1731, the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur in copper smelting and the rope trade. Her elder brother Robert was a political radical, who eloped with an heiress, fought a couple of duels and died in the East Indies, whilst sober second brother John managed the business and was granted a baronetcy in 1806. Margaret’s father died in 1768 leaving her an heiress, but still living in Wales.
So how did she meet Noel Desenfans? The reason – a death in the family…… They married in 1776, against the wishes of her family, when Margaret was 45. She financed her husband’s new career as a picture dealer. The enterprise flourished.
In the 1780s Desenfans bought not one but two new Georgian town houses in Charlotte Street, now Hallam Street, in the smart, newly developed district of Marylebone. François Bourgeois, Desenfans protégé and partner joined them – a ménage à trois? The Desenfans furniture now in Dulwich Picture Gallery comes from the Charlotte Street houses. But where did it come from originally? Were these new purchases in the latest style for a new home? Did it come from their previous London house? Was any of it favourite furniture brought from Wales by Margaret? Certainly some of the pieces in the Gallery predate their marriage by decades.
The houses acted as elegant showrooms and, following the eighteenth century practice, pictures were displayed with quality furniture. The fine furniture in the Gallery may well have been bought, like the pictures, as collectors’ items.
Margaret Desenfans outlived both her husband and Bourgeois. It is her we have to thank for financing the completion of the Gallery, built by Soane, and for bequeathing the furniture which she clearly loved."[link]