Katherine Aurora "Kitty" Kirkpatrick (1802 – 1889). British
Anglo-Indian woman best known as a muse of the author Thomas Carlyle,
and as an example of Eurasian children during the early years of British
colonialism in India.
Her father, James Achilles Kirkpatrick, was the British Resident in Hyderabad and a colonel in the British East India Company's army. Her mother, Khair-un-Nissa, was a Hyderabadi noblewoman and a Sayyida, a lineal descendant of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, whose grandfather was the prime minister of Hyderabad.
In 1805, Kitty and her brother William were sent to live in England at age three and five years, respectively, with their paternal grandfather, Colonel James Kirkpatrick.
In 1822 she met the Scottish philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle, who swiftly became infatuated with Kirkpatrick. However, Carlyle was impoverished and not believed by the rest of the family to be a suitable match for the wealthy and well-connected Kitty. Carlyle would later use Kitty as the basis for the Calypso-like Blumine in his novel Sartor Resartus.
On 21 November 1829, Kitty married James Winslowe Phillipps (1802-1859), an army officer in the 7th Hussars Regiment, and a member of the Kennaway family, which also had Indian connections. It was evidently a happy marriage, Kirkpatrick and Phillipps went on to have seven children, of whom four survived to adulthood.
- "... a strangely complexioned young lady, with soft brown eyes and floods of bronze-red hair, really a pretty-looking, smiling, and amiable though most foreign bit of magnificence and kindly splendour. — Thomas Carlyle, Reminiscences" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitty_Kirkpatrick
- "... and below her ‘topi’ is a hint of the red hair that would be much admired in the years to come." https://www.pakistanlink.org//Opinion/2006/Jan06/13/03.HTM
|Portrait of Kitty and her brother William, by George Chinnery|