Major John Davenport Shakespear RHA

Having been invalided home from the Crimean War, where he had fought at Alma, Balaklava and Inkerman, he proposed to Louisa Caroline Sayer, whom he had met in the Crimea, married her and before they could set off on their honeymoon was posted back to the Crimea in 1855. Louisa sailed with him, however by the time they got to Corfu the war had come to an end. Major Shakespear was posted as part of the garrison in Corfu under the British Protectorate. Their daughter Ida Néa was born the following year and baptised in the Garrison chapel of St George in September 1856.

The family lived in Condi terrace in the flat above Edward Lear. He described Louisa as 'one of, if not the nicest women here.'

Edward Lear sold his 'photographic equipment' to John for 15/- and with that the Major, who probably didn't have a lot do in Corfu, took many photographs of the town, over 70 of which have survived and are now magnificently exhibited at Mon Repos museum.

Louisa Caroline Sayer as a young girl

The exhibition at Mon Repos



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back to Corfu

To read the full story of how the photographs made their way back to Corfu and to see some of Louisa's recipes, including Wild Boar,
see the articles in the latest Greek-o-File,
Volume 8

This lovely book on Edward Lear's years in Corfu is lavishly illustrated with beautiful reproductions of Lear's water colours of Corfu as well as extracts from his diaries and letters from that period - including many references to John Davenport and Louisa Shakespear, great great grandparents of Jane & Mary!
Edited & introduced by Philip Sherrard,
Published by Denise Harvey,
Athens & Dedham, 1988


amp; Dedham, 1988