Robert Fullerton Udny of Udny

1722 - 1802


Owner of Calivigny estate in Grenada. Uncle of George Udny (q.v.), who was trustee and beneficiary under Robert Udny's will. Collector and connoisseur, with an important collection dispersed after his death in a sale at Christie's in 1804. He had been active in lease and mortgage transactions on Tobago between 1774 and 1778.

  1. According to 'Clan Macfarlane and associated clans genealogy', Robert Udny was baptised 10/07/1722 at St Nicholas's, Aberdeen, son of James Udny and his wife Jean nee Walker (who married 20/12/1716 in St Nicholas's). Married [1] to Mary Hougham (1725-) in Marylebone, 26/12/1749 and [2] Martha Jourdan (1761-1831) in Marylebone, 1787. He died in January 1802 at High Street, Teddington, Middlesex. His only child, Mary Hougham Udny married Sir William Augustus Cunyngham of Livingstone and Milncraig, 4th Bart.

  2. The Udny family seat was Udny Castle in Aberdeenshire. Apparently the house was abandoned in 1775, with some repairs being undertaken in 1801. While not at Udny, the family lived at their other main property, Knockhall Castle near Newburgh, although whether or not this house was in use during Robert Udny's lifetime is unclear. According to the Twickenham Museum website, Udny bought a house in the High Street of Teddington in 1789 on the corner of Kingston Lane. Certainly he held a viewing of his art collection in the house in 1796. He probably added a picture gallery c. 1790. The house has since been demolished but the south half of the gardens are now Udney Park Playing Fields.

  3. Will of Robert Udny of Udny, Aberdeenshire [and of Teddington in Middlesex] proved 26/01/1802. In the will he appointed trustees, including George Udny of Bengal, to hold the Caleveny [sic] estate on Grenada and 'all and singular my negroes and other slaves' and accumulate the income until January 1810, when the eldest son of his daughter Mary Cunningham the wife of Sir William Augustus Cunningham [in fact, Cunynghame, MP for Linlithgowshire 1776-1790] would reach 21, when the estate would pass to George Udny and failing his issue to his nephew John Robert Udny son of his brother John Udny late consul at Leghorn. He left an annuity of £200 p.a. to his wife Martha and confirmed the settlement on her of the income from two sums of £4000 and £6000, to bring her income up to £500 p.a., with the warning that if she claimed the 5% interest specified on the two sums of £4000 and £6000 in her marriage settlement she would forfeit the annuity of £200 p.a. and certain property in Scotland he had promised her. He left another annuity, of £1000 p.a., to his daughter Dame Mary Cunningham, conditional on Sir William Augustus Cunningham settling or devising for the benefit of his and Dame Mary Cunningham's children the sum of £10,000: he himself left £6000 to William Augustus Cunninghame, the eldest of such children, and £6000 each to all and any other children of the couple, as well as putting £5000 in trust with the trustees of Dame Mary Cunningham's marriage settlement to pay her the income, and a further £10,000 after the death of his own wife Martha, again to pay the interest to his daughter Dame Mary Cunningham. His residual estate was to accumulate for the benefit of his residuary heir William Augustus Cunningham, his eldest grandson. In a codicil he explained that the above disposition of his property arose from the 'insolence and contempt' displayed towards him by his son-in-law Sir William Augustus Cunningham, notwithstanding that he Udny had settled £30,000 on Cunningham and his wife Mary from his own pocket: he also left several legacies of several hundred pounds to family members, alluded to a full catalogue of his paintings and instructions to sell them - 'they comprise a considerable part of my property.' He said that his freehold house and land at Teddington had cost near £10,000 but must be sold for what can be got for it once his pictures had been removed. He provided £250 for a monument by Mr Flaxman to be put up to Alexander and George Udny at Foverein [?]: he had left his own bust by Mr Flaxman to his nephew George Udny.


National Library of Scotland, 'Legal documents relating to properties in the West Indies belonging to Alexander Ellice and his descendants' Ch. 12633-12707, [accessed 31/05/2018]. For more on Robert Udny, his house at Teddington and connection to Horace Walpole see [accessed 05/10/2020].

  1. person ID I41584 [accessed 01/10/2020]. This corresponds to a Scottish baptism record (GROS OPR Births 168/A 70 385), London marriage records (, London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 [database online] with his second marriage as Robert Fullarton Udny). Note though that this site states the daughter Mary Hougham Udny, "before marriage was governess to Princess Charlotte... She had a dowry of £100,000", other sources give Robert's second wife Martha as sub-governess to Princess Charlotte in Martha's widowhood, see

  2. Historic Environment Scotland, 'Knockhall Castle', [accessed 02/10/2020]; Magreta, Todd Jerome, "George Romney's late group portraits at Abbot Hall and Yale" British Art Journal 8 (2): 60 (2007); [accessed 05/10/2020].

  3. PROB 11/1369/87.

We are grateful to Rob Armstrong and Charles Matthews for their assistance with compiling this entry.

Further Information

Merchant and art collector

Associated Estates (4)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
- 1801 [EY] → Owner
1780 [EA] - → Joint owner
1780 [EA] - → Joint owner
1780 [EA] - → Joint owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (2)

Extensive collection of paintings, largely Italian masters, amassed by Robert Udny at Teddington, visited by George Romney in July 1796 on a visit that became the basis of Romney's 'Four Friends'. ... 
notes →
The celebrated collection of pictures of Robert Udny," formed during a long series of years with-out regard to expense, out of the principal cabinets of Italy and elsewhere," came up for sale at...
Portrait of Robert Udny c. 1770 Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, granted an export license in 2006-2007. ... 
notes →
A PAINTING BY POMPEO GIROLAMO BATONI, PORTRAIT OF ROBERT UDNY The painting is oil on canvas and measures 99.7 x 74.9cm. It shows Robert Udny in half-length before a parapet, holding a hat and...

Physical (2)

Country house
Udny House 
description →
Probably purchased and renamed, but with addition by Robert Udny of a picture gallery by Robert and John Adam c. 1790, see <a...
Udney Park Playing Fields 
description →
The old grounds of Udney House (demolished between the 1890s and 1910s) now called Udney Park Playing Fields, with Udney Park Road to the...

Relationships (1)

Uncle → Nephew
Notes →

Addresses (2)

High Street, Teddington, Middlesex, London, England
Udny Castle, Udny, Aberdeenshire, North-east Scotland, Scotland
Notes →

Apparently the castle was abandoned in 1775, "some repairs 1801", see [accessed 02/10/2020].