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Henrietta Moraes (22 May 1931 – 6 January 1999) was a Britishmarker artists' model, bohémienne, and memoirist. During the 1950s and '60s, she was the muse and inspiration for many artists of the Sohomarker subculture, like Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon, and known for her marriages and love affairs. Described as a femme fatale and a bon vivant, she was married to actor Norman Bowler, by whom she had two children, and later the writer Dom Moraes. In the mid-'70s, she lived with Marianne Faithfull, a period recorded in Faithfull's autobiography Memories, Dreams and Reflections (2007).
Funerary monument, Brompton Cemetery, London

Early life

She was born Audrey Wendy Abbott in Simlamarker, Indiamarker, where her father was stationed in the Indian Air Force. Her father deserted her mother when she was young, and she was raised harshly by her tyrannical, abusive grandmother in Englandmarker. Later, she went to secretarial college.

Artists' model and muse

By 1950, when she was nineteen years old, Henrietta was working as an artists' model in several London art schools.A denizen of the Colony Roommarker, Sohomarker she became the muse of a number of important British artists in the early 1950s through the mid-1960s.Francis Bacon painted her at least sixteen times, and Lucian Freud, with whom she had an affair, at least three times, with Bacon particularly enthralled by her mercurial character. In May 2002, Bacon's "Study for Portrait of Henrietta Moraes" was sold by Ernst Beyeler for $6.7 million.Moraes was an alcoholic and later, a drug addict. She was a notorious bon vivant and led a generally hedonistic lifestyle. In the 1960s, she was an unsuccessful cat burglar, leading to time in Holloway Prisonmarker.Later in life, she found sobriety and penned a volume of short stories and memoirs (titled Henrietta) with the encouragement of her friend, the writer Francis Wyndham.

Marriages and children

Moraes was married three times and had two children:In 1950, she met her first husband, film-maker Michael Law, who bestowed the name Henrietta on her.Her second husband was bodybuilder Norman Bowler, and he was also the father of her two children, Joshua and Caroline. This marriage ended in 1956.Later in 1956, she met the 18-year-old Indian poet Dom Moraes. They married in 1960. They were amicably divorced by the mid-1960s.

Later life

In the mid-1970s, Henrietta Moraes shared a mews flat in Hanover Terrace, Regents Park, with singer and actress Marianne Faithfull, an episode in both their lives that forms a key chapter in Faithfull's Memories Dreams & Reflections, published in October 2007. She started to write about her life in the book 'Henrietta'
published by Hamish Hamilton  in 1994 and was working on a follow-up at the time of her death. She joined the AA, soon after moving to Chelsea, mentioning to friends that at one meeting she was shocked to find herself 'sitting opposite the actor who plays Hannibal Lecter'. She was diagnosed with diabetes soon after becoming a keen gardener<'HENRIETTA' by="" Henrietta="" Moraes="" published="" Hamish="" Hamilton="" 1994=""> in West London.</'HENRIETTA'> <'HENRIETTA' by="" Henrietta="" Moraes="" published="" Hamish="" Hamilton="" 1994="">In her last year of life, Moraes developed a close relationship with artist Maggi Hambling, who produced a posthumous volume of charcoal portraits of her.</'HENRIETTA'>
She died in London in 1999 in Hambling's studio, bequeathing her long-haired dachsund dog Max to Maggi. She left only a handful of possessions and a large pile of unpaid bills.She is buried in Brompton Cemeterymarker, London.


  1. Daily Telegraph Madness in Manhattan New York sales 20 May 2002

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