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Dorothy Tennant was born in 1855 in London. She studied art at the Slade School between 1871 and 1878 and later in Paris. Her work was exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1886.
She married Sir Henry Morton Stanley, the eminent African explorer, in 1890 and is therefore often known in artistic circles as Lady Stanley. After her first husbands death, she married Dr Curtis in 1907. Chiefly known today as a painter of portraits and genre scenes, Lady Stanley lived mainly in London, where she died in October 1926.