Henrietta, the first female recognized as a pastel artist, supported her family by drawing portraits with colored chalk on paper.
Born in France of Huguenot parents who immigrated to London, Henrietta married Robert Dering, fifth son of Sir Edward Dering, Baronet and with him went to Ireland. During her stay in Ireland, Henrietta began to draw pastels depicting some of her powerful relatives.
When Dering died, leaving Henrietta with two daughters, she married clergyman Gideon Johnston. Shortly thereafter, The Church of England sent Johnson with his family, to serve as commissary of the Church of England in North and South Carolina. Their time in the colonies was extremely difficult because his salary rarely came and he was often ill. In 1709, Johnston wrote “Were it not for the assistance my wife gives by drawing pictures (which can last but a little time in a place so ill peopled), I should not be able to live.” Johnston died in 1716.
Not much is known of her later life in the colonies except she must have gone to New York City because four of her portraits of family members from that city are dated 1725. She is buried in Charleston, South Carolina with Johnston.