For #MuseumFromHome in May 2020, and as a way of being in while we’re out, we decided to Tweet and Instagram an image every weekday from the Manchester Scrapbook, given to the Library in 1838 by its compiler, Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere (good Wikipedia bio here). As posts like that tend to get buried, and because people seem to have been enjoying the images, we’ll add the items here as they appear on social media. Click through for the full image. Apologies to those with a stronger level of interest that we’re not always able to give you chapter and verse on some of these – we can’t get at the usual lists and research materials just now. We’ll make the images a permanent part of the website as soon as time permits, and bring out some of the many stories they tell. Please do contact us, however, with any questions (better still, answers) and we’ll try to answer them or incorporate them as circumstances permit. We’ll just give the captions as posted at present, and hope to add detail and more interpretation in the future. So that you’ll see the newly added images first, we’ll follow Hollywood practice and announce things in reverse order; please go to the foot of the page and scroll up if you’d prefer to start at number one.
The back of this item (and we can rarely see them, as things are pasted in; this has become loose) reads ‘Market Place Manchester, E. Goodwin, 1809’. It’s one of the larger watercolours in the Scrapbook at 430x290mm, and with all due respect to the Thomas Barritt of whom we’re hoping some readers at least will have begun to be fond, it’s definitely one of the more artistically successful. We’ve already seen one piece attributed to Goodwin in no. 39, of Hulme Hall. The best dating we can get for him is a floruit of 1801-1827. One interesting detail of a very picturesque looking Market Place is the ‘Tuesday’s Mercury, Saturday’s British Volu’‘ on the wall towards the left, these being Harrop’s Manchester Mercury and the British Volunteer, both distinctly Church-and-King organs, of which the Library has numerous numbers.
We saw a copy of a letter from Col. Chadwick at no. 32, in which he felt obliged to stay at home and ask Barritt to undertake some research at Healey Hall, near Rochdale. John Chadwick was the last member of the family to live at Healey Hall, a magistrate for the Rochdale and Middleton area, and the Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Lancashire Militia. We’ve seen Barritt take an interest in ‘street life’ characters; here is one of a handful of images of members of the squirearchy who represented Church and King in Georgian Lancashire; magistrate and soldier in this case, magistrate and clergyman in other cases such as that of W.R. Hay (portrait coming up), one of the the Peterloo magistrates whose papers were left to the Library.
As we launch an entire life and works of Thomas Barritt online today in partnership with Peter Lindfield of MMU‘s Centre for Gothic Studies, it’s a fitting chance that brings us the only picture of our cork-legged saddler historian by anyone approaching the status of professional artist, in this case Charles Pye (1777-1864), who gives us a rather steely-eyed Barritt published in April 1820, six months before his death in October. His antiquarian activities are to the fore, not his trade or his family, with his helmet, the ‘sword of the Black Prince’ and the horn. He seems to be wearing a riding habit, and carrying a crop rather than a stick – is this an attempt to edge him closer to the world of heraldry and knighthood that he could never really be a part of? He has the unqualified support of scripture at least in ‘I have considered the days of old, the years that are past’, from Coverdale’s Book of Common Prayer version of Psalm LXXVII, Voce mea ad Dominum, verse 5. Please visit the page and see the videos!
Two for the price of one today in this pairing of silhouettes, one ‘hollow cut’ with the whitish paper showing through the black card, the other ‘cut and paste’, in which the card that was cut out is pasted to the paper. The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were the golden age of the silhouette, photography edging it out as a mainstream way of recording someone’s image as time passed.
A large broadside lament for Thomas Barritt, printed with the same profile wood engraving, contrasted by the author of the text as a ‘rude engraving on wood’ in comparison with the engraved portait by Charles Pye (1777-1864). The poem in number 40 is included in the text, but with it a much fuller biography, and account of the ‘impressively solemn’ funeral, with the church ‘enveloped in darkness’, the Psalms, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis chanted and ‘between thirty and forty gentlemen, each self-provided with silk hat-bands and gloves’ in attendance of their own accord. Click through to read the whole thing and be transported back to the candle-lit gloom of the Collegiate Church as he was laid to rest.
This little poem is easily imagined to be a commemorative item issued on his death. Rather (as we find in no. 41 above) it was written ‘nearly twenty years ago’ (i.e. about 1800) to extol the virtues of Thomas Barritt (1743-1820), its self-appointed but nonetheless respected antiquarian and historian, as well as one of its saddlers. The verses here, unlikely though they are to unseat Byron or Elizabeth Barrett Browning, seem full of genuine warmth towards this unusual artisan antiquarian; how many gentleman contemporaries made their own coat of mail, or ‘helmets and shields to rival Greece & Rome’? The verses were written, again in the words of the author of Departed Merit, ‘in the past tense, to give them the air of antiquity which their author aimed at [and] … for the same reason in the old black character’ – in what we often now call ‘Gothic’ script.
Hulme Hall again, albeit a much more easily understood picture than yesterday’s faded sketch. It’s hard to feel a walk by the Irwell might have been pleasanter then than now, though it might already have smelled rather polluted. This time we have a respectable named artist too, Edward Goodwin (1801 – 1836). This is one of two items in the scrapbook attributed to him, and fits into a pattern of scenes with ancient buildings he created. Is it time to restart rowing picnics on the river?
An unsigned and unattributed pencil sketch of Hulme Hall (not to be confused with the University of Manchester hall of residence). Hulme Hall was demolished after purchase by the Duke of Bridgewater, who bought this ancient house on the banks of the Irwell at a good price in 1765, as part of acquiring lands for the Bridgewater Canal. It was demolished in 1840 amid further developments around the canal. The sketch is in a faded state, so no apologies are offered for ‘improving’ the contrast so you can see it better here. More Hulme Hall tomorrow!
Another contribution from Thomas Barritt: ‘A Manchester man who watched by rotation with the old Brown Bill by order of the Magistrates, An. 1790’. The town watch gave a degree of night-time security, and there’s perhaps a touch of the antiquarian nostalgia Barritt often exhibits in the apparently affectionate language about the ‘old Brown Bill’, a weapon that that a combatant in the Wars of the Roses would have readily recognised. A very similar weapon, the head of which appears at least to be authentic, hangs in the Baronial Hall at Chetham’s.
Thirty-sixth in the Manchester Scrapbook, a remarkable little history of the great Roman emperors inspired and illustrated by ‘Seventeen silver pieces plow’d up in the Neighbourhood of Ormskirk (now in the possession of Mr. James Ryland Watch maker) in March 1790’. Like much of what we’re offering in the Scrapbook, the immediacy and antiquarian interest distinctly outweighs the artistic talent on display here, together with a succinct ‘1066 and all that’ moral judgement: ‘Antoninus Pius the Empr. who succeeded Hadrian was a good prince’. The dismal handlist to the Scrapbook makes no attribution of authorship, but on comparing notes with Barritt scholar Peter Lindfield (of whom more soon) we will attribute it to Thomas Barritt.
Thirty-fifth in the Manchester Scrapbook, the results of the elections of churchwardens across Manchester in 1790, when the town was still in the Diocese of Chester, and the Collegiate Church was yet to become Manchester Cathedral. As befits the huge size of the parish and Collegiate Church, Manchester itself has no less than three churchwardens and four assistants listed. In December of the same year, the eccentric Joshua Brookes (portrait coming up) joined the Collegiate Church, and became famous for his eccentric wedding services, including multiple couples and the use of random proxies in the event of grooms not being to hand.
Thirty-fourth in the Manchester Scrapbook, this not desperately distinguished image of Sir George Booth, of Dunham, First Baron Delamer, Presbyterian, Royalist and leader of a pro-Restoration rising in Cheshire in 1659. The image is unsigned, but dated rather more precisely than usual to 6 September 1782. The bald and bare typescript list that offers itself as a catalogue of the Scrapbook is not willing to hazard an attribution of penmanship; as one of the better bit-part players in the Restoration, he was later painted by what Christie’s proposed as ‘circle of Godfrey Kneller’ – which would you prefer to hang in your long gallery?
Thirty-third in the Manchester Scrapbook, another of Thomas Barritt’s 1819 views of the disappearing old town: ‘Old house in Hanging Ditch corner of Fennel Street over the window near the two figures was the following words cut in the wood “This house was built for and by George Thorp 1659”’.
Describing itself as a ‘Copy of Letter from Col. Chadwick of Healey Hall, Rochdale to Thomas Barritt the Manchester antiquary (who died 1820)’, this visually unprepossessing letter is still full of interesting detail. Colonel Chadwick was evidently hoping to use Barritt as the courier for the not unimpressive sum of £300, which he would have taken himself ‘but Mrs C would not hear of it with my sore throat’. There’s more to the mission for Barritt, however, who has no fewer than eight detailed research questions to answer about the building once he gets there. A portrait of the demanding Colonel is coming up at number 45.
The brief and dismal typescript index to the Scrapbook calls this a ‘sketch in sepia attributed to J. Ralston’. Who might have done the attributing is not mentioned, but John Ralston (1789-1833) left several other oils of the towns of Manchester and Salford, and his work on local scenes was widely distributed in a series of prints lithographed by engraver and printmaker Agostino Aglio (1777-1857); we’ll see more of both men’s work later on. At this time the hall was the home of Rev. John Clowes, who was fellow of the Collegiate Church (now the Cathedral), Rector of the now-vanished St John’s Church, and the subject of portrait by Joseph Allen (1769-1839), the same artist referred to in no. 30. The picture now hangs in the Library, in some need of a thorough clean.
The Manchester Literary and Philosphical Society is a venerable institution going back to 1781, and here found honouring an early president: ‘We the circumscribed, members of the Literary & Philosophical Society of Manchester, as a mark of respect for their learned and worthy President request that he will do us the favor to sit for his Portrait to Mr Allen [Joseph Allen (1769-1839)]’. Would a member of the Society, or other interested party, be able to tell us which president, and help us tie down the date?
Twenty-ninth in the Manchester Scrapbook, a change of location and artist, this is a watercolour of Ordsall Hall attributed to Edward Goodwin with a question mark in the Scrapbook handlist. Not a great deal seems to be known about Goodwin, who is described by one art-house as a ‘shadowy figure’, but who was involved in the foundation of the Liverpool Academy. Our much-loved neighbour, Ordsall Hall, however is far from shadowy – don’t forget to see it as well as us at Chetham’s when it all becomes possible again. Further images of this rare survivor of the old halls of the region follow later.
Twenty-eighth in the Manchester Scrapbook, and we’re in home turf for Thomas Barritt’s genealogical and heraldic interests with a visual pedigree of the Houghtons of Hoghton Tower. We normally offer a transcription of the caption in these posts, but the y-umlaut combination is beyond us today. The update from James I mentioned relates to the story of his knighting of ‘Sir Loin’ on a visit to Hoghton after enjoying some beef. You can still visit Hoghton Tower (in ‘normal’ times), where it is posited by some that Shakespeare might have spent time a youth. The family, like so many in Lancashire, had a hard time juggling its loyalty to their pre-Reformation faith with the desire to stay in royal or at least government service. The caption here is in a sort of ‘Gothick’ English that it’s easy to suspect Barritt has more or less confected himself. We were glad to have an interested enquiry sent on Twitter about this image, asking if there is more of it – sadly not, this is the whole thing; but it does remind us to remind readers to check our catalogues for things that may interest or help with research.
Twenty-seventh in the Manchester Scrapbook, and we’re off into new territory with Barritt as he brings us a picture of an item of antiquarian interest and speculates about its original use.’ A snuff Box made of a Horn with a Brass Top or Cover with the Date of 1453, is in the Possession fo Mrs Sandford-St.John’s. NB Tobacco is generally believed to have been first introduced into England by Sir Walter Raleigh A.D. 1585. – Ergo, this could not have been a Snuff Box in 1453. – but it might have been a Powder Horn’.
Twenty-sixth item in the Manchester Scrapbook, and Thomas Barritt’s antiquarian interests take us back to another significant Manchester building that went during his lifetime: ‘Levers house in Fennel street Manchester adjoining the Dog and Partridge public house once the residence of Dr Deacon whose sons head along with Siddals was in the year 1746 fixed upon the Old Exchange the house was bought by Mr Jno. Marsden who pulled it down and erected the present premises on the spot.’ The ’45 Jacobite rising would have found Barritt only a baby, but those who raised him would have seen the grisly spectacle of Hanoverian vengeance for themselves.
Twenty-fifth item in the Manchester Scrapbook, another of Thomas Barritt’s 1819 series of watercolours of the disappearing town around him: ‘Pool Fold Hall an ancient seat of the Radcliffs about the year 1641 pulled down 1811’. Pool Fold was more-or-less where Manchester’s main branch of Boots is now, and acted at one time as a prison for the region’s imprisoned Catholics. A member of the family was one of the first Feoffees of Chetham’s in Humphrey Chetham’s will of 1653.
Twenty-fourth in the Manchester Scrapbook, and like no. 23 a less than edifying scene: ‘Bear beating with Wheel barrows and Bladers opposite the Old Boars Head Hydes Cross about the year 1749’. Unlike the prostitute ducking, the bear-bating seems to be a ‘boys will be boys’ event, either representing social exclusion of women, or as we might conclude more positively, the women of the town could think of something better to do than whack a large animal with an inflated bladder on a stick.
Twenty-third in the Manchester Scrapbook, and we’re still amid the short sequence of watercolours painted by sadler-antiquarian Thomas Barritt in 1819, when he was in his mid seventies. We leave the picturesque very much behind here as he reaches beyond his own memory (he was born in 1743) to recreate a very grim scene, now according to the caption a thing of the past: ‘The custom of Ducking prostitutes in the Infirmary pond (then called the Daubholes) the custom was laid aside some while before the Infirmary was erected’. There seems no consensus about exactly when this horrible punishment at the flooded claypits ceased although Emily Cockayne in Hubbub finds that there was enough demand that a new ducking stool was put ‘in the usual place’ in 1738, bringing us to within five years of Barritt’s birth. How the crowd is reacting is hard to judge – two women certainly seem to be boxing a man’s ears at the foot of the scene – a client of the unfortunate woman on the stool? Building of the first Infirmary started in 1752. If you compare the two, it’s hard to believe this scene held at Manchester Archives isn’t a copy of Barritt’s work.
Twenty-second item in the #Manchester Scrapbook, ‘The Old House of Correction at Hunts bank pulled down when the present New Bayley was erected in Salford’, our by now old friend Thomas Barritt signing and dating 1819 again, and thus putting this image into a short series of small watercolours (#watercolor) that seem to have been an outlet for the elderly Barritt to portray the town he remembered. We are, as he might have put it ‘going back a bit’ here, as work on the New Bailey prison began in 1787, and it was old enough to need extensive additions by 1816, three years before this was painted. The prisoners hanging their baskets out of the windows in the hope of getting fed might well all have been gone by the time Barritt recorded this at the end of a long life. There seem elements we’d like to know more about – what’s happening with the apparently runaway horse, for example? But to the right, another peaceable fishermen seems to be enjoying the unpolluted #Irwell, already beginning to be a thing of the past in 1819.
Twenty-first in the Manchester Scrapbook, and this time Thomas Barritt is in a kind of grisaille palette for his watercolour. The scene is ‘Old house and Dyehouse fronting the bottom of Long Millgate pulled down Ano. 18….’ This time we can be sure we’re reminiscing, as we have the work dated to 1819, and the idea must be that the pulling down happened with in the preceding couple of decades. By the time of this little run of 1819 works, Barritt was in his mid seventies, and evidently aware that the town was beginning to change fast. Does anybody want to hazard exactly where this is? Not too sure what fronting the bottom consists of in this particular topographical use.
Thomas Barritt’s second view down the Irwell of the Georgian era, with a growing town, but like no. 19 still one of pink sandstone on the banks of a rocky #Irwell river. The corner of Chetham’s is visible towards top left, and this time we’re slightly upstream with the stone bridge into Salford and the Collegiate Church (to become the Cathedral in 40 years or so) rather than the alarming-looking timber bridge and St Anne’s. There are very few views of this kind from the era, although again Barritt doesn’t date his work here.
Nineteenth in the Manchester Scrapbook, and one of Thomas Barritt’s most interesting scenes for those trying to imagine the Georgian city. Looking down the Irwell, wide, shallow and rocky-sided before its canalisation in the C19, we see the pink stone buildings clinging to the side of the bluffs, and centre-stage the Blackfriars footbridge. This was built in 1761, and replaced in 1820 – the year of Barritt’s death – by the current stone bridge, probably to the relief of all those who had to make the crossing. Now herons and cormorants have come to fish in the river again, we’re a little less surprised to see the foreground figure with his fishing rod.
Hanky Panky in this 18th item from the #Manchester Scrapbook. 1818, and hard times and industrial tensions seem to have sparked the interest in this reminiscence of direct action from forty years previously. If Mr Miller’s story is right, the civic authorities and workers seem to have been united in regarding handkerchiefs as ‘Manchester goods’, and not for others to try to poach trade in. The item is supplemented by another Barritt view of the ‘New Church Inn”, cf yesterday’s No 17.
Seventeenth in the Manchester Scrapbook, ‘The Dog & Partridge public house in Fennel Street & the adjoining public house corner of Toad Lane called the new Church or St. Anns from the sign’. Thomas Barritt again providing us with the date, 1819, and a piece of reminiscence that seems to follow on closely from no. 16. St Anne’s was consecrated in 1712, but perhaps still regarded by the clergy of Manchester Collegiate Church (now the Cathedral) as a rather annoying new kid on the block; relations weren’t always good. There’s enough detail in the pub sign to see that St Anne’s tower once had a complete further stage above the present configuration. Again, for those of us with the benefit of hindsight, there’s perhaps a little extra poignancy in the now elderly Barritt’s recording of the timber market town already being swept away by vastly larger economic systems in the year of Peterloo.
Sixteenth image from the #Manchester Scrapbook, Thomas Barritt again, this time unusually signing and dating. ‘Hilton, Saddler’, was presumably some competition for Barritt’s own business as a saddler. 1819 was Manchester’s fateful year in C19 politics, the year of Peterloo. We don’t know if Barritt, who was to die in 1820, was painting this nostalgic scene ‘Old buildings took down to make way for the Exchange and Exchange Street Manchester’ before or after August, but the political atmosphere was tense from the beginning of the year. Modern historians often wish many sources would pay more attention to Peterloo, and perhaps less to their individual concerns; perhaps Barritt’s memories were by then more important to him than the hints of what was to come.
15th image from the #Manchester Scrapbook, a sketch tentatively attributed to Manchester artist John Ralston (1789–1833) in the terse and unlovely typescript list that accompanies the book. If you’re an art historian who has an interest in C18/C19 Manchester, please come and spend a day or two at Chetham’s Library when it’s possible, and help us do some much needed chasing up on the artworks it contains. The subject is one of the houses of our founder, Humphrey Chetham (1580-1653), Clayton Hall, now surrounded by the modern city. More pre-industrial Manchester follows shortly!
Fourteenth in the #Manchester Scrapbook, a portrait of Thomas Battye, ‘An enemy of Parochial Peculators’, signed J.B. and dated 16 June 1897. This is a change of pace from all the Thomas Barritt we’ve seen so far, but was done on the centenary of the publication of Battye’s 1797 ‘The red basil book, or, parish register of arrears, for the maintenance of the unfortunate offspring of illicit amours; with a farther developement [sic] of most shameful and unprecedented acts of abuse in the town of Manchester.’ Clutching the book behind him, Battye evidently stood for civic and fiscal propriety 100 years after his publication. His directness in avoiding the euphemism ‘orphans’ for ‘the unfortunate offspring of illicit amours’ was presumably what took him into the realms of enquiring into what was rotten in the state of Manchester’s public finances and the officers who were in charge of it. Thank goodness this sort of thing could never happen with public finances today.
The thirteenth of the #Manchester Scrapbook images, Thomas Barritt again with another ‘character’ from turn of the C18/19 in the city, ‘Ogden fish porter for Fentons formerly of the Market Place Manchester a well know character his brother having been an intimate of the Prince of Wales’. A story straight out of Blackadder the Third? Can any reader find us the Ogden who was Prinny’s pal? Thirty or forty years later, when Marx and Engels were settling down to begin their partnership in the Library Reading Room, they would have put Mr Ogden into the proletarian class, and that’s not where the future George IV usually fished for friends.
‘Little Major the Toll Keeper at the New Bailey Bridge’ is the caption for another of Thomas Barritt’s water colours of his fellow townsmen, and again his subject is not chosen for rank or wealth, usually the main criteria for the professional artist. Free of the consideration of patronage, even if again Barritt’s skills might not be the greatest, we get another image of a figure no professional would ever have been commissioned to paint, but who must have been enormously familiar to the town dwellers and visitors as the custodian of one of only two routes across the Irwell into Salford.
The eleventh item in the #Manchester Scrapbook, a rare picture of a street #ballad seller. Clutching a sheaf of the cheaply produced items, the title “A bloody murder” and the seller’s cry “The most shocking account that you ever read in your life time” tell us the methods haven’t changed over much when it comes to shifting volume to the public. The handles to the scrapbook has this as ‘Coloured etching by ?Thomas Barritt’, and we can’t conclude with certainty about the original artist.
Tenth item in the #Manchester Scrapbook, as promised to #MuseumFromHome and now to #MuseumWeek . This is listed in the handlist to the Scrapbook as a ‘water-colour etching’ by our now-familiar Thomas Barritt. The hand doesn’t look like his usual, but these two are ‘Little Billy’ and ‘Sweep’, looking perhaps a bit down on their luck if not down in the mouth. As we’ve said, Barritt may not have been a stupendous artist, but these two rather lost-looking people seem to call on our sympathy, don’t they?
The ninth item in the #Manchester Scrapbook, and far less happy than yesterday’s book plate, this is a little mourning card for the dominant creative force in this first couple of pages of the book, Thomas Barritt, who as we read here, died on 29 October 1820, nearly 200 years ago, to be buried in what’s now the Cathedral on 3 November. The card transcribes the inscription on his tomb, in which he was buried by torchlight with a number of what the age called ‘respectable’ citizens in attendance: ‘Thomas Barritt, a profound antiquary, and a good man, died, honoured and lamented by all ranks of society, Oct 29th.’ There’s a decent Wikipedia potted bio if you Google it, with links to other biographical snippets. Not the last we’ll hear from him, as there’s a bit more of his work coming up.
The eighth item from the #Manchester Scrapbook today, and we’re with Thomas Barritt (1743-1820), saddler and antiquarian, again. Here the item on the left is that in the scrapbook, an etched bookplate dated 1794; on the right is the same plate from another scrapbook in the Library, this time with hand shading. Barritt chose to portray himself surrounded by his collection of antiquities, including the sword here marked ‘Edvardvs’ (he believed himself to possess the Black Prince’s sword), and with the Gothick-style motto ‘Profert Antiqua in Apricum’, ‘He brings ancient things to light’. This is an interesting insight into his self-image. I can’t trace the motto beyond 18th-century Swiss medallions at the moment, do tell us here if you know the source. He offers his own paraphrase or interpretation in MS on the right-hand item, making it seem more personal still: ‘I have thought of the days of old and the years that are past’. There’s a little more on the other scrapbook in our blog.
Number seven of the images from the #Manchester Scrapbook, another small #watercolour by Thomas Barritt (1743-1820), with whose name regulars will be becoming familiar. This is one of his street scenes, captioned ‘Hanging Ditch from Hunters Lane to Old Millgate with the Mount in front of Dr Byrom’s house’. Hanging Ditch was a watercourse that gave its name to this row – the Hanging Bridge, the medieval bridge that crossed the ditch and gave access to the south side of the Collegiate Church, can be seen in the Cathedral Visitor Centre still, but everything depicted here is long gone.
The sixth item from the Library’s #Manchester Scrapbook, which must have caught the eye of the compiler (and eventual donor to the Library), Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of #Ellesmere. The Stamfords and Egertons were neighbours in Cheshire and the fortunes of the families were intertwined. #dunhammassey # The caption reads: “The above is the representation of an earthenware Dish in my possession 20 Inches in diamiter – It originally belonged to the Earl of Stamford & most probably was made for the Family & used on the 29th of May in commemoration of the restoration of King Charles 2nd for whose portrait it is intended Wm. Yates”
Do you love a parade? Fifth image from the Library’s #Manchester Scrapbook, and this time we’re in print. Now text normally makes a pretty poor picture, but here we’re looking at some genuine use of typography for illustration. Not only does it tell us about poor James M’Namara’s execution (there’s an article about this in the learned journal Manchester Genealogy, 2008, but working from home means we don’t have it to hand now, sorry for lack of deets), but it draws a picture in type of the arrangement of the ‘procession’, with the station of each javelin man, sheriff’s officer, and of course the ‘star’, the unfortunate executee. Justice not only being seen to be done, but providing a full scale public entertainment. Nasty.
Fourth image from the Library’s #Manchester Scrapbook, and it’s a Thomas Barritt’s #watercolour on paper again, as we promised for #MuseumFromHome. This time, after an apothecary and two scions of faded Baronet families, it’s a fellow tradesman in the frame, patten-maker Nathan Wood. You can see his wares on the table, iron-shod pattens with a thick wooden sole and straps to hold them on over your shoes so you could keep the muck of the street and gutter off your footwear and shed them on arriving at your destination. Out of his window you can see what Barritt knew as the Collegiate Church, #Manchester Cathedral to us now. Barritt’s shaky grip on dates (never wonderful for a self-professed historian) comes out again in the caption: ‘Nathan Wood Patten Maker Hanging Bridge Manchester died [blank]’
Third image from the Library’s #Manchester Scrapbook, another of Thomas Barritt’s small series of little #watercolours on paper, as we promised for #MuseumFromHome. The rapidly burgeoning town of Manchester in the latter half of Barritt’s life (b.1743, d.1820) is very thinly recorded in visual terms, particularly with regard to people; Barritt’s interest in heraldry and #genealogy (though he was a tradesman rather than a gentleman) seems likely to have brought him into contact with this subject, flourishing his family tree. Caption reads: ‘Sir John Prestwich Bart. last of the ancient family of Prestwich of Prestwich and Hulme near Manchester living Anno 1793, a lover of Heraldry & Antiquity’. Barritt’s work is seldom dated – this leaves us to guess whether it’s the date of the watercolour, or whether this was from memory.
Here’s our healthcare hero from Chetham’s Scrapbook, ‘Apothecary Thyer returning from his garden at Gaythorn near Knot Mill Manchester’. Another character sketch by Thomas Barritt, who (while he is not always the greatest artist in capturing faces) seems to suggest the apothecary’s magnificent nose might have been of particular use in sniffing out simples for his medicines. The watercolour is undated, as so much of Barritt’s work is.
Here’s the first of the promised posts from the Library’s Manchester Scrapbook, compiled by the Earl of Bridgewater and given to us in 1838. This is the first item, one of a series of small water colours (108x160mm for the keen) by Thomas Barritt (1743-1820), who has signed but not dated it. Barritt may have been no great artist, but records much of Georgian Manchester no-one else did. He was fascinated by genealogy and heraldry, and published on the subjects. The caption reads ‘Sir Jonathan Briggs Bart. in the excise at Manchester and last of a decayed Baronets family in the county of – ‘ Perhaps he didn’t know the county? Briggs may have simply assumed the title with no proven right to it. Instagram user mostly.churches kindly sent us the results of his research: ‘The baronetcy was assumed by this chap, an exciseman, without authority following the title’s becoming extinct.’ Please do let us know if you have details on any of the images here. Thomas Barritt in much more detail in a series of lectures by Dr Peter Lindfield of MMU.