Sunday, 20 September 2009

Jabez Brown (1843-1921) Railway clerk of Litchurch, Derby

Each Saturday night the indefatigable Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posts an article inviting fellow Geneabloggers to join him in some fun, usually a little exercise on the lighter side of family history. This informal but regular event is a popular one in the geneablogging community but, for one reason or another, I haven't yet got around to participating. This weekend's challenge is what Randy calls "Ahntenafel Roulette," and I thought I'd get in on the act for the first time, albeit a few days late. So here goes.

The assignment is as follows:
(1) Divide the age of your father (or the age that your father would be if he were alive today) by four, and round the result off to the nearest year,
(2) consult your Ahtenafel using your favourite genealogy software to find the ancestor whose number corresponds to the answer arrived at in (1), and
(3) write three things about this ancestor in a blog article.


Five-generation Ancestor Chart for C.D.B. Payne
with Ancestor number 20 (Jabez Brown) highlighted

My dad would have been eighty-one this year, which produces a rounded integer of 20. Because of the regular and reproducible manner in which the Ahtenafel system works, number 20 is the paternal grandfather of one's paternal grandmother, one of eight possible great-great-grandfathers. In my case his name was Jabez Brown and he has been one of the more elusive of my Victorian ancestors.

Image © and collection of Charles Bernard Payne
Jabez Brown (1843-1921) of Rosehill, Derby
Undated paper print (109 x 159 mm) by unidentified photographer
Image © and collection of Charles Bernard Payne

My aunt Bunnie believes that the subject of this photograph is our ancestor Jabez Brown. The reverse of the undated print is annotated:
Mother died Aug/14
Father died 14 Feby/21
I have recently established from the acquisition of their death certificates that Jabez Brown died on 14 February 1921 and his wife Annie died on 18 August 1914. The implication is that Jabez and Annie's son Frederick Montague Brown (1870-1960) - my great-grandfather - wrote the inscription referring to his parents, and it therefore seems very likely that the subject of the photograph was Fred's father. This rather battered paper print is the only known surviving portrait that we have of Jabez and, sadly, we have none of his wife at all.

Image © Brett Payne
What I knew about Jabez, c.1999

Ten years ago I would have struggled to find three solid facts concerning Jabez Brown about which I could write authoritatively. My original information came from my father, who as a "steam age," pre-computer/internet family historian had created a card index system to document and rationalize the family history. Some of his material about the Brown family had originated with his cousin Gillian through correspondence in the 1990s. All we knew about Jabez was his name, that he worked for the railways, and a possible death date. As he died some years before my father was born, my dad had no first hand knowledge of him, and didn't recall his mother speaking much about her grandfather either.

Image © and courtesy of the LDS Church
Jabez Brown and family, 14 Rose Hill St, Litchurch, Derbyshire
1881 Census-As Enumerated Microfiche: NA Ref. RG11-3402-14-21
Image © and courtesy of the LDS Church

Those of you who have been researching for over a decade or so may recall the microfiche version of the 1881 Census (produced by the Federation of Family History Societies in conjunction with the Genealogical Society of Utah). A kind fellow genealogist found Jabez and family and extracted the information for me that he was born in Dent (Yorkshire) around 1843, that he was married to Annie, with whom he had four children, that they were living at 14 Rose Hill Street, Litchurch (near Derby) and he was working as a railway clerk. And that was about it. From the birth places of their children I deduced that they had previously lived in Nottingham and Lincoln. I wondered if he had moved around while working for the railways, as Lincoln and Nottingham were both main line stations of the company Midland Railway, which had its headquarters in Derby. However, I had no real evidence to work with.

Image © and courtesy of the LDS Church
Jabez & Annie Brown, 50 Sale St, Derby, Derbyshire
1901 Census NA Ref. RG13-3219-134-19-125
Image © The National Archives and courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk

Ten years later and things have changed considerably, mostly courtesy of the internet and the improved means of genealogical research that it has enabled. I now have images of the original census sheets for the census every decade from 1851, when Jabez was still living with his parents, until 1901 - see image above - by which time his own children had all left home.

Image © and courtesy of the General Register Office
Certified copy of marriage certificate for
Jabez Brown & Annie Hazard, 8 October 1865,
St Peter-at-Arches, Lincoln
Image © and courtesy of the General Register Office

I also have Jabez Brown's birth, marriage and death certificates, all obtained from the General Register Office using their certificate ordering service and reference numbers from FreeBMD. The census and BMD information alone has provided an excellent framework of dates and locations on which to hang the story of his life. I would find it very difficult to restrict myself to only three things that I now know about him, so I won't bother to hold back in sharing the picture that I've built up about Jabez and his family.

Image © and courtesy of Steven Watson
Dent village & St Andrew's church, Cumbria
Image © Steven Watson and courtesy of his Flickr photostream

Jabez Brown was born in the small and picturesque village of Dent, situated in the West Yorkshire dales, on Tuesday 18 April 1843. He was the youngest of ten children of a sawyer William Brown (1795-1867) and his wife Dorothy née Parrington (1797-1858). By the time of his birth his two oldest brothers had already married and left home, although they were still living nearby in the village. Then, in the late 1840s, the entire Brown family moved, lock, stock and barrel to the town of Lancaster. I don't know why they moved, but I can surmise that it was for economic reasons - most internal migrations in mid-Victorian England were towards better employment prospects. Presumably the town of Lancaster was booming and needed plenty of sawn timber, and a skilled sawyer was no doubt in more demand than in a small Yorkshire village.


View Brown family migration in a larger map
Click on the yellow buildings for details of their movements

By 1861 Jabez (aged 17) and his older sister Margaret were living with their widowed father at 3 Upper Robert Street in Lancaster. Jabez is shown in the census working as a railway clerk, and it is presumed that he was employed by Midland Railways which, according to contemporary trade directories, served this Lancashire town.

Image © and courtesy of The Roy F Burrows Midlands Collection Trust
Silk map of Midland Railway Network, undated
Lancaster, Lincoln, Nottingham & Derby highlighted
Image © and courtesy of The Roy F Burrows Midlands Collection Trust

Some time during the next four years Jabez moved to Lincoln (Lincolnshire), which was also on the Midland Railways network. He married Annie Hazard (1835-1914) at St Peter-at-Arches, Lincoln in October 1865; the marriage certificate shows his occupation mnerely as "clerk" and states that he was living at 15 Park Street. Their first son George was born at Lincoln in January 1867, but between then and 1870 they moved to Nottingham.

Image © Reg Baker and courtesy of Picture the Past
Ryehill Cottages, Kirke White Street East, Exchange, Nottingham, June 1973
Image © Reg Baker and courtesy of Picture the Past
Image Ref. NTGM009920

They lived at number 18 Rye Hill Cottages, in a close on the south side of Kirke White Street, Exchange Ward, and that is where Annie gave birth to twin boys named Christopher Dickenson and Frederick Montague Brown (my great-grandfather) on 17 April 1870. The actual building where they lived was probably one of the Victorian terraced houses shown in the photograph above, taken a century later, just before they were demolished under a 1970s clearance scheme. It was located in the former King's Meadow area, not far from Nottingham's Midland Railway station. The census of a year later shows Jabez again working as a railway clerk. A daughter Maggie and another son John Henry were born in 1872 and 1875, but sadly the elder of the twins Christopher died in late 1872, aged two-and-a-half.

Image © Reg Baker and courtesy of Picture the Past
Junction of Rose Hill & Madeley Streets, Litchurch, Derby, c. 1980
Image © John S. Grant and courtesy of Picture the Past
Image Ref. DRBY002084

Some time in the twelve months prior to November 1880, the Brown family moved to Derby and into a house at 14 Rose Hill Street, Litchurch. Jabez again described himself to the 1881 Census enumerator as a railway clerk.

Image © and courtesy of GoogleMaps
The former Brown residence, 50 Sale Street, Litchurch, Derby
Image © and courtesy of GoogleMaps
Click on image for interactive Streetview version

In June 1887 Jabez Brown stood unsuccessfully for election for the post of Relieving Officer with the Derby Board of Guardians (The Derby Mercury, 22 Jun 1887). The Derby Borough Electoral Registers show them living at the Rose Hill Street address until October 1887, after which they moved to 50 Sale Street, also in the suburb of Litchurch and only a few blocks away. By census night of 5 April 1891 all three sons - George (23), Fred (20) and John (15) - had become railway clerks too! This was the last census that would find all of the family together in one house. George married a year later and moved to Station Road, Borrowash (just east of Derby). Fred married my great grandmother Edith Newman Miller at Mugginton in 1894; they settled first at 18 St Giles Road, Pear Tree, Derby, and in the early 1900s at 121 Crewe Street, Normanton. John became a commercial traveller and moved to Nottingham, where he married prior to 1901. It is not known what happened to daughter Maggie Brown.

Image © Reg Baker and courtesy of Picture the Past
Derby Union Workhouse, Uttoxeter New Road, Derby, c.1908
Postcard by Frank W. Scarratt
Image © and courtesy of Picture the Past
Image Ref. DRBY001173

Annie Brown died at 60 Holcombe Street, Litchurch on 18 August 1914. Jabez's death certificate shows that he died on 14 February 1921 at Boundary House, Derby. Boundary House was the former Derby Workhouse in Uttoxeter Road. After 1948 it was known as the Manor Hospital, and it was where my grandfather died in 1975 too. I can remember my father telling me that it still had all the old connotations of being the former workhouse, and my grandfather had a dread of going in there when he got sick.

Instead of restricting myself to three things that I know concerning my great-great-grandfather Jabez, I'm going to list three things that I still want to find out about him. The first of these concerns some Crimean War medals that my father recalled seeing in the Brown family household when he was a boy - that is, the family of his maternal grandparents Fred & Edith Brown - together with clasps for several of the battles. He didn't know who had earned them, but presumed it was a member of the Brown family. Sadly, nobody seems to know what has happened to them. The Crimean War took place between 1853 and 1856, when Jabez was aged 10 to 13, and it seems rather unlikely that he was the one, unless he was perhaps a drummer boy, but who else in that branch of the family could it have been? What happened to the medals, and who earned them? I hope to answer that question one day.

Image © Daniel Richardson and courtesy of Geograph.co.uk
Nottingham Road Cemetery, Derby
Image © Daniel Richardson and courtesy of Geograph.co.uk
Licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The next thing I'd like to know is where Jabez and Annie Brown are buried. The location seems likely to have been the Nottingham Road Cemetery in Derby, about which I have written previously, since several other of my Derby family were buried there during that time frame. Created in 1855, it was the first municipal cemetery in Derby and is still used to this day. The cemetery registers are kept on site, but sadly they don't appear to have either an online presence or an email address. Perhaps they are wary of the flood of enquiries such a move might precipitate.

Lastly, I'd like to able to confirm that Jabez Brown's employer from the early days in Lancaster until his retirement was indeed, as I have always assumed, Midland Railways. An article in The Derby Mercury in June 1887 stated that he had "been a collector on the Midland Railway for 25 years," giving a start date of around 1865, when he would have been about 22 years old. However the 1861 Census, taken four years earlier, also showed him working as a railway clerk. In January this year, my cousin Lynne Tedder from Alberta sent me some photocopied Midland Railway staff records dating from 1881 to 1906 for George William Brown which she had very kindly obtained on a visit to the National Archives at Kew, London. However, she could find nothing for William's father Jabez or William's brothers.

References

Midland Railway Staff Records for George William Brown, 12 Feb 1881 to 14 Mar 1906, National Archives, Kew, London, NA Ref. RAIL 491/1068, Courtesy of Lynne Tedder

Derby Borough Electoral Registers 1877-1900. Derbyshire County Record Office, Matlock, Derbyshire, England. Accessed on microfilms from the LDS Church Tauranga Family History Centre

1881 Census-As Enumerated Microfiche from the LDS Church Courtesy of Alan S. Flint

General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths from FreeBMD

UK Census 1841-1901 Indexed images from Ancestry.co.uk

19th Century British Library Newspapers from Gale CENGAGE Learning
- The Derby Mercury

Slater (1869) Royal National Commercial Directory of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmoreland from Ancestry.co.uk

The Workhouse web site, & the Osmaston Road Workhouse, Derby, Derbyshire

Seddon, Peter (2007) Nottingham Road Cemetery - Derbeians at Rest. Bygone Derbyshire.

Friday, 18 September 2009

William Seville (1797-1866), silhouette and photographic artist

I have written previously (here) about Derby's first photographers John Johnson and Thomas Roberts, who operated daguerreotype studios in Victoria Street from the summer of 1843 until September 1845, under license from Richard Beard. From then until about 1854, there appears to have been a hiatus in commercial photographic activity in the town.

Then, in the early to mid-1850s, with the expiry of the patent on the daguerreotype process and the popularisation of Frederick Scott Archer's patent-free wet-collodion process, there was a sudden and rapid flurry of photographic activity in Derby. Most, if not all, of the photographic artists who appeared are likely to have been offering collodion-positive portraits, or ambrotypes as they were popularly known.

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Advertisement from The Derby Mercury, 20 March 1850
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

Many of these early photographers came to the profession from an artistic background, which included portrait painting in oils or water colours, full-size and miniatures, and silhouette portraiture. One such practitioner was William Seville, an experienced silhouette artist from Manchester. His first recorded appearance in Derby was in March 1850, when he placed an advertisement in The Derby Mercury advising residents that he was producing "the most striking and perfect likenesses" from premises at 42 Queen Street, Derby. He offered ...
... an exact likeness for 6d., beautifully shaded, 1s. 6d., extra finished in bronze, 2s. Full length figures highly finished in bronze, 4s.; children's full lengths, 2s. 6d. Miniatures on ivory and coloured likenesses at very low charges. Families attended without any extra charge.
William Seville was baptised on 5 March 1797 in the chapelry of Hey, at Lees near Oldham, north-east of Manchester, one of seven children of Joseph and Sarah Seville (or Sevill). According to the biographical notes in Sue McKechnie's British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860, William Seville started working as a silhouette artist in Manchester shortly before 1820 (Woodiwiss, 1965).

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green
? Miss Margaret Clutterbuck (1780-1855)
of Alnwick & Newcastle-on-Tyne, undated
Gold-coloured black card cut-out silhouette by William Seville
Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green

It appears that he almost immediately started travelling widely as an itinerant artist, with a record of his being in North Shields (Northumberland) in April 1820 (Jackson, 1911).

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green
Reverse of Clutterbuck silhouette
"Cut with common scissors by Mr Seville
without either drawing or machine"
Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green

At around this time - the exact date is unknown - William Seville probably married Frances Bethell (1803-1837), daughter of Joseph and Fanny Bethell of Chester. William's son Frederick William Seville was born at Durham (City) around 1824 or 1825. Certainly by April 1824 he was working in nearby Newcastle-on-Tyne. The silhouette portrait illustrated above - the subject of which has been tentatively identified as the splendidly monikered Miss Margaret Clutterbuck, daughter of eminent Northumbrian John Clutterbuck and his wife Ann Lyon - may have been from this or a later period.

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green
Mr. W. Seville label
Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green

Seville was also in Lancaster during 1824, and then in Dundee from April 1825; McKechnie suggests that he may have spent much of that year in Scotland. There is a suggestion that he worked in East Anglia during the late 1820s in partnership with fellow artist John Stannard.

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green
Unidentified man, undated
Framed, gold-coloured black card cut-out silhouette by William Seville
Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green

In August 1830 Seville was plying his trade in Castletown, Dublin, Ireland, known from a dated portrait (McKechnie).

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Advertisement from The Preston Chronicle, 22 September 1832
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

By September 1832 he appears to have been working in Preston (Lancashire) judging from the advertisement which appeared in The Preston Chronicle in that month, which suggests he had also taken "thousands of likenesses in Bolton, Lancaster, Edinburgh, &c.." His wife Fanny died at Sheffield on 10 May 1837 "after a long and painful illness," as reported in The Manchester Times and Gazette (13 May 1837).

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Advertisement from The North Wales Chronicle, 21 August 1838
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

By August 1838, William Seville was working at Bangor in Wales. Apart from his usual full range of silhouettes, he also offered to teach the art of making wax flowers and gave lessons in landscape and flower painting, mezzotinting, velvet painting, &c."

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Article extract from The North Wales Chronicle, 28 August 1838
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

A newspaper report a week later suggested that he was finding a steady stream of customers, but his last advertisements on 4 September and 2 October reported his intention to leave "in the course of a few days."

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Article extract from Freeman's Journal & Daily Commercial Advertiser,
(Dublin, Ireland), 7 February 1843
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

McKechnie suggests that Seville had returned to Ireland by August 1842, and believes that his son may have been assisting him by this time. His son would have been about seventeen years old by then, and since neither of them has been located in the 1841 Census of the United Kingdom, it seems quite likely that they had both taken the short journey from Liverpool across the Irish Sea.

Image © Courtesy of Peggy McClard Antiques
Label on the reverse of Smyth Family silhouette, shown below
Image © Courtesy of Peggy McClard Antiques

This is supported by a dated and signed silhouette of the Smyth family now in a private collection. An image of the label on the reverse kindly sent to me by Peggy McClard, who used to own the silhouette, states that it was "cut with scissors by F.W. Seville / Drogheda / Novr. 1842." A Dublin newspaper advertisement of February 1843, shown above, indicates that they remained there for some months.

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green
Unidentified man, undated
Framed, gold-coloured black card cut-out silhouette by William Seville
Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green

By January 1845 Seville was in Shrewsbury (Shropshire), as evidenced by a dated portrait and handbill (McKechnie).

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Advertisement from The Derby Mercury, 5 June 1850
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

The next sighting of Seville is when he appeared in Derby in March 1850. Business remained fairly brisk until early June, when the appearance of another advertisement suggested an impending departure from Derby.

Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green
The Smyth Family, Drogheda (Ireland), November 1842
Framed, gold-coloured black card cut-out silhouette by William Seville
Image © and courtesy of Cynthia McKinley & Wigs on the Green
Original in private collection

It is not clear what William Seville did for the next five years, although it is clear that this was probably one of the most challenging periods of his career, with daguerreotype photography - and the rapid introduction of collodion portraits after 1854 - providing some serious competition to his now old-fashioned silhouettes.

Image © The National Archives and courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk
30 March 1851 Census Extract: North Tawton Devon NA Ref. HO107/1885/658/7/23
Image © The National Archives and courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk

On census night Sunday 30 March 1851, William Seville's son Frederick William was lodging with a bookseller's wife in the small village of North Tawton in Devon. He described himself as an artist. Sadly, his father is nowhere to be found - perhaps he was travelling in Ireland again.

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Advertisement from The Derby Mercury, 15 August 1855
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

William Seville returned to Derby in mid-August 1855, the evidence being in the form of an advertisement in The Derby Mercury offering collodion photographic portraits at the "reduced" price of 2s. each, case included, from premises at No. 51 St Peter's Street, Derby, directly opposite St Peter's church.


Location of William Seville's photographic studio
at 51 St Peter's Street, Derby
View Derby Studios in a larger map


Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin
St Peter's Street, Derby (looking north), c.1890
Image © and courtesy of Nigel Aspdin

This view looking north up St Peter's Street was probably taken around 1890, some 35 years after Seville was there. The photograph belongs to Nigel Aspdin and shows the draper's shop of Hurd & Dean - number 54 St Peter's Street, at centre right - John Dean (1853-1918) being a relation of Nigel's. Although the building at number 54 was probably built after Seville's era, it seems likely that number 51 was located in a yard behind the shops. This would have been accessible through an alley to the right of the drapery shop, an archway to which can just be seen in a detailed version of the image (here).

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Advertisement from The Derby Mercury, 12 September 1855
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

While his name was not mentioned in that particular edition of the newspaper, it is clear from a similar insertion four weeks later, on 12 September, that it was Seville who had succumbed to market forces and was trying his hand at the then fairly new wet collodion photographic process.

Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning
Advertisement from The Derby Mercury, 19 December 1855
Image © British Library Newspapers and courtesy of Gale CENGAGE Learning

At the onset of the Christmas season, the business had acquired the rather grand name of the "Crystal Palace Portrait Gallery." The Crystal Palace was built in Hyde Park, London to house the hugely popular Great Exhibition of 1851, but relocated to Sydenham in 1854. In the same year a book entitled The Portrait Gallery of the Crystal Palace by Samuel Phillips was published, being an official handbook or catalogue of portraits of eminent Victorians chosen for display at the exhibition. It is possible that Seville intended a play on the title of this book for added publicity.

Image © and courtesy of the University of Leicester's Historical Directories Project
Extract from F. White's 1857 History, Gazetteer & Directory of the County of Derby
Image © and courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk

He remained in Derby for several months more, long enough at least to appear in White's 1857 trade directory, presumably compiled in late 1856, at the same address. It is worth noting that while Seville inserted advertisements in many newspapers over the years, advertising his presence in a particular town for a few weeks or perhaps months, this is the only trade directory entry found thus far, indicative of the itinerant nature of his trade. There is no evidence that he ever operated a photographic studio in his presumed home town of Manchester.

Image © The National Archives and courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk
7 April 1861 Census Extract: Shoplatch, Shrewsbury, Shropshire NA Ref. Ref. RG9/1873/41/10/68
Image © The National Archives and courtesy of Ancestry.co.uk

In late 1856 Frederick William Seville had married and settled in Shrewsbury (Shropshire), with a daughter being born to him and his wife Elizabeth late the following year. By early April 1861 William Seville had joined them, living in Shoplatch, close to the centre of the town where his son operated a photographic studio and tobacconist. Now aged 64, he described himself to the census enumerator as a retired artist.

Image © and courtesy of AskArt.com
H.E. Smallwood, 1841
Full length gold-coloured silhouette portrait by F.W. Seville
Image © and courtesy of AskArt.com

William Seville died in 1866 at the age of 68. Frederick William Seville continued to reside in Shrewsbury with his wife and three children, and described himself in census records as both artist and photographer until at least 1881. The dated silhouette portrait of H.E. Smallwood from 1841 shown above is ascribed to F.W. Seville.

Image © and courtesy of Live Auctioneers
Disaster at St Mary's Church, Shrewsbury, February 11th, 1894
Watercolour, signed and inscribed by F.W. Seville, 21" x 14.5"
Image © and courtesy of Live Auctoneers

No photographic portraits by the younger Seville have been located but he became a well known watercolourist, producing many views of late Victorian Shrewsbury. The watercolour shown above depicts an event which occurred on 11 February 1894, and is likely to have been painted shortly afterwards.

F.W. Seville's son, also named Frederick William, continued the tradition and became a photographer too, being listed with this profession in Shrewsbury by 1891 at the age of 23. After the death of both of his parents in 1899 he moved to Congleton (Cheshire), where his sister and brother-in-law were living, and was shown working from premises at 10 Lawton Street as late as 1914 (Jones & Jones, 1995).

After a career spanning some four decades William Seville left a vast body of work, probably amounting several thousand silhouettes. While only a small proportion of these have survived the subsequent century and a half, silhouettes by Seville appear not to be particularly uncommon. The status of any surviving collodion portraits, however, is unknown. Judging by the fact that many, if not most, of his silhouettes were identified with a label, it seems likely that his cased ambrotypes would have been similarly marked. I am hopeful that eventually one of his photographic portraits will surface.

I am very grateful to Cynthia McKinley for her generosity in allowing me to reproduce images of silhouettes in her collection and for providing me with material about William Seville's life and work. Cynthia's web site Wigs on the Green is an excellent source of information about silhouettes and silhouette artists.

Post Script: Thank you, too, to Peggy McClard who sent me images and information about the Smyth family silhouette, and gave me permission to use them to illustrate this article. Peggy has an absorbing web site Peggy McClard Antiques, devoted to antique silhouettes, Americana and related folk art, which is well worth a visit.

References

General Register Office (GRO) Index to Births, Marriages & Deaths from FreeBMD

International Genealogical Index (IGI) from the LDS Church & FamilySearch

UK Census 1841-1901 Indexed images from Ancestry.co.uk

19th Century British Library Newspapers from Gale CENGAGE Learning:
The Manchester Times and Gazette
North Wales Chronicle
Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser
The Derby Mercury
The Preston Chronicle

Trade Directories from the University of Leicester's Historical Directories Project:
Wright's Directory of South Derbyshire, 1874
Kelly's Directory of Shropshire, 1891
Kelly's Directory of Herefordshire & Shropshire, 1895
Kelly's Directory of Cheshire, 1914

Coke, Desmond (1915) The Art of the Silhouette. London: Martin Secker. Available from The Internet Archive

Jones, Gillian A. & Jones, Graham (1995) Professional Photographers in Cheshire 1849-1940. Bath, England: Royal Photographic Society Historical Group. The PhotoHistorian Supplement, No. 108, July 1995, 40p. ISSN 09570209.

McKechnie, Sue (1978) British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860, Sotheby Parke Bernet, 824p. ISBN: 0856670367. Extracts courtesy of Cynthia McKinley

McKinley, Cynthia. Guide to Collecting Silhouettes. Wigs on the Green web site.

Phillips, Samuel (1854) Portrait Gallery of the Crystal Palace. Facsimile edition published 2008 by Euston Grove Press, 240p. (PDF version)

Read, Gillian (1982) Manchester Photographers 1840-1900. Bath, England: Royal Photographic Society Historical Group Newsletter, Supplement No. 59, 1982, 20p.

White, Francis & Co. (1857) History, Gazetteer & Directory of the County of Derby, transcribed by Neil Wilson in PDF format & available from Ancestry's UK City & County Directories

Further Sources
Jackson, E. Nevill (1982) Silhouettes: A History & Dictionary of Artists, Dover Publications. ISBN 0486242102.
[in McKechnie, 1978]
Jackson, E. Nevill (1911) The History of Silhouettes, The Connoisseur. 121p.
Woodiwiss, John (1965) British Silhouettes, Country Life, 104p.

Friday, 11 September 2009

School Days in Den Haag

17th Edition of the Smile For The Camera - School Days

Hoping to sneak in unnoticed at the last minute, I'm submitting this short photoessay as my contribution to the 17th Edition of the Smile For The Camera carnival, "School Days" hosted by the footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Hendrika Louisa Schipper (1894-1981)
Unidentified print taken c. 1913
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The photographs from my own family collection which I've featured on this blog in the past have mostly tended to come from the English side, to the detriment of my mother's Dutch heritage. Today I thought it would be nice to include a series of group portraits featuring my Oma - in other words, my maternal grandmother - first as a young scholar, then as a student at teacher training college, and finally as a teacher in charge of her own class of young boys and girls.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Class Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper fourth from left in middle row),
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1902-1904
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

My Oma Hendrika Louisa Schipper was born at 's Gravenhage on 14 May 1894, the youngest of four children of Jan Schipper (1857-1921) and Hendrika Antonia Annetta Helena de Graaff (1854-1934). They lived in Den Haag (The Hague) where her father was secretary to the Director of the Cabinet of Queen Wilhelmina. The first two class photos were obviously taken at the same school - the windows of the building which forms the backdrop appear to be identical - but probably a couple of years apart. In the first I estimate that she is aged about nine, so it must have been taken around 1902 to 1904. Apart from my grandmother, there are two adults, presumably both teachers, and forty four other children.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Class Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper third from right in middle row of six girls),
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1905-1908
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The second group shows her three or four years older, so was probably taken between 1905 and 1908. One of the two adults is the same man who was there two years earlier, so he is perhaps a headmaster rather than a class teacher. Several of the boys and girls from the first portrait are clearly identifiable in the second. I only spent a few minutes comparing them, and was able to comfortably correlate three or four, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are far more.

I don't have records of where she went to primary and secondary school but I know that after completing her ordinary schooling she trained as a teacher. I have photocopies of several documents relating to this part of her education as follows:
1912 - Needlework Examination Results
11 Mar 1912 - Primary School Teacher's Certificate
18 Nov 1912 - Primary School Teacher's Certificate
1913 - French Language Exam Results
23 Apr 1913 - Pre-School Teacher's Certificate
23 Apr 1913 - Examination Results
27 Aug 1913 - Primary School Teacher's Certificate
16 & 17 Aug 1915 - Examination Results
17 Aug 1915 - Headmistress Certificate
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Group Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper third from left in back row),
Foto Americaine, Wagenstraat 10, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1915
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The next two photographs are from this period that she was training to be a teacher. I know that because one of them (that shown above) was given to me a few years ago by Martje Knoester, whose mother-in-law trained as a teacher with my grandmother. The postcard style group portrait was taken in the Foto Americaine studio at Wagenstraat 10, Den Haag.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Group Photograph (Hendrika Louisa Schipper third from left in back row),
Unidentified teacher training school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1913
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The next is a larger group, and judging by the fact that my grandmother looks slightly younger, was possibly taken slightly earlier than the previous one. It has been taken indoors, but it is not clear whether in a studio, at the school where they were studying or another location altogether.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Hendrika Louisa Schipper with her class
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1916-1918
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The final two group photographs show my grandmother as a teacher surrounded by her pupils. The first - I only refer to it as the first because she appears to me slightly younger in this one - is a larger group of twenty four children (ten boys and fourteen girls) aged perhaps 12 or 13 years old. They are arranged standing and sitting on the steps in frontog large wooden double doors in a brick wall, with my grandmother seated on a chair.

Image © and collection of Brett Payne
Hendrika Louisa Schipper with her class
Unidentified school, Den Haag, Netherlands, c.1917-1920
Image © and collection of Brett Payne

The second appears to be at the same location (although the doors are open) and is probably a year or two later. The class is a slightly smaller one - 22 instead of 24 - composed of slightly younger children, aged about nine or ten. This time there are more boys than girls.

On the 23rd December 1920 Hendrika married my Opa Dirk Smit (1895-1985) in Amsterdam. Their first child (my uncle) only arrived in 1926, so she may have carried on working as a teacher for a few more years - I'm not sure about that. However, there don't appear to be any more class photos for the period of her life after she was married.
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