Hamilton (Tighe), (Marianne) Caroline (1777–1861), artist and memoirist, was the second daughter of William Tighe (1738–82), of Rossana, Co. Wicklow, landowner and MP for Athboy, Co. Meath (1761–76), and Sarah Tighe (née Fownes) (1743–1829). Her father was a friend of John Wesley (qv) who made Rossana his base for preaching in Ireland. Her mother was the only child and heir of Sir William Fownes, baronet, and Lady Elizabeth Fownes (née Ponsonby) of Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny. Like her sister-in-law, Theodosia Blachford (qv), Mrs Tighe was an enthusiastic supporter of Wesley, and was known for her philanthropic work. Much of Caroline's youth was spent at Harrow, England, where the family moved after her younger brother was sent to boarding school, and in London, where, on periodic trips, she remembered visiting Wesley at home. Holidays were spent in Ireland, which she appears to have missed on account of the space and freedom it afforded her. She received a fairly rigorous education for a woman of the time, being instructed by several governesses, a master for arithmetic, and her brother's tutor, who provided lessons in Latin. Art seems to have been her greatest interest from an early age, as she admitted to evading her Latin classes to draw. As a young woman she travelled on the continent with her family, spending three months in France, Flanders, and Holland. By 1795 she and her family were living again in Ireland. Her mother engaged a drawing master who had formerly taught at Harrow School, John Inigo Spilsbury, to teach her, and in time she acquired the competence of a professional artist. Significantly she records choosing ‘Hogarth for my model’. A witty and observant satirist, her depictions of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy at the turn of the century suggest that she was critical of the dissipation and listlessness of her class. Among her best-known works are ‘Domestic happiness as acted in the city: a tragic comic farce’, ‘The Kingston to Holyhead packet’, and ‘Society’. The last, which is dated 1801, captures the boredom of a Dublin drawing room, paralysed by post-union torpor.
In April 1801 she married Charles Hamilton, of Hamwood, Dunboyne, Co. Meath. The arrival of their six children, whom she educated herself, left her with little time to continue painting. She also directed much energy to running Hamwood. Her jottings show that she was deeply involved in the upkeep of the estate's gardens. She transcribed several albums of poetry, which included contributions from Thomas Moore (qv) and her cousin and sister-in-law Mary Tighe (qv) (née Blachford), with whom she regularly corresponded. The poet Thomas Campbell composed a poetic tribute to her, ‘The stanzas on painting’. She also produced an account of her family's history, which chronicles the lives of Theodosia and Mary Blachford, and records the flight to Wales of her cousin Sarah Ponsonby (qv) with Eleanor Butler (qv). Ponsonby left all her private papers to Hamilton. She died 29 July 1861 at her Dublin residence, 40 Dominick Street. A number of her drawings are at Hamwood.