(Including Painting, Music, Sculpture and Architecture).


Paul Sandby.
Paul Sandby.

THOMAS and PAUL SANDBY were, according to tradition, born in their family house in Stoney Street, which house was removed many years ago to make room for a warehouse, (a). It is stated that "Paul Sandby was born at Nottingham, where he and his brother kept an academy. The brothers were very much respected for their ingenuity and talent, particularly for their knowledge and taste in the fine arts. In their several styles of drawing they became so conspicuous as to engage the attention of Mr. Plumptre, the M.P. for Nottingham, by whose recommendation and interest they obtained situations in the Tower of London, where at this time a department was established for instruction in drawing, etc." It is more probable that the Academy was kept by the parents.

Paul Sandby claimed that he was directly descended from the Saundebys of Babworth, near Retford, and Thomas Sandby, the father of the two boys, is said to have taken up his residence at Nottingham early in the eighteenth century, (b). Thomas was born in 1721, and Paul in 1725. (c). The first drawings by Thomas, now known, are views of Nottingham Castle, the Town Hall, etc., engraved in Deering's "History of the Town." "South View of Nottingham" from Wilford, now in the Castle Art Museum, as are a number of Paul's sketches, and where also is a copy of Badder & Peet's Plan of the Town of Nottingham, 1744, engraved from original drawings by Thomas Sandby, which will well repay study.

They must have distinguished themselves by very careful attention to duties, for they were largely self-taught. Thomas became in 1743 private secretary and draughtsman to H.R.H. the Duke of Cumberland, and in that capacity accompanied him in his campaigns in Flanders and Scotland, and Paul, after the suppression of the rebellion in 1745-6, was appointed to assist in the military survey in the Highlands.

Thomas did his work so well that when the Duke of Cumberland was appointed to the Rangership of Windsor Great Park (1746) he at once selected Thomas to be Deputy-Ranger, and he resided in the lodge half a century, and King George III honoured him with his confidence and personal friendship, frequently visiting him at the lodge, where Paul Sandby also resided. There is not space here to follow them in their further course. When the Royal Academy of Arts was formed, to consist of forty members, the King nominated twenty-eight, Thomas and Paul being of the number, and Thomas was elected by ballot to fill the chair of Architecture, a post he retained until his death, giving many lectures, and doing architectural work. He was, with James Adam, appointed joint architect of His Majesty's Works. The two brothers in their work in London continued their close intercourse, and Paul's son married a daughter of Thomas. Paul's house at St. George's Row, now 23, Hyde Park Place, became a centre of artistic attraction, and he came to be regarded as the Father of the British water-colour school, which possibly was not quite correct. He also painted in oils, and engraved in aqua-tinta, (aqua—water, and tinctus—stained). As showing how Sandby excelled by hard work, Gandon, the Architect of the Nottingham Shire Hall, says, "Sandby was indefatigable in cultivating his powers as an artist. He commenced painting in water-colours very early in the morning; the pencil, and frequently the pen, seldom quitted his hand until evening, allowing himself only those hours dedicated to his repasts—at which merit frequently met with patronage and assistance, and his friends uniformly parted from his hospitable board delighted with his wit, conversation, and manners." (d).

The specimens of the works of the two artists are very numerous, and in various galleries. Their Memoir after enumerating them says:

"But the largest and most representative display was that at Nottingham in 1884, when a special exhibition was held in the Midland Counties Art Museum at Nottingham Castle. It consisted of about three hundred examples of their works, in oil, and water-colours, and of engravings and etchings. The Nottingham Journals made much of their former townsmen's works. The "Daily Guardian" of 15th February, 1884 in the first of three articles devoted to the subject says, "almost the first impression produced by the sight of these numerous works of art is that these men were truly men of light and leading, with the fire of genius in them, and striving by a vast industry and admirable power, to set it forth for the world's benefit. Perhaps they were little conscious that they were laying the foundations of a new art in England, but whether conscious of it or not, they certainly did so, and if the Britain of our day has any title to have created a new art it is that of water-colour painting, (e).

Thomas died in 1798, aged seventy-seven; Paul died in 1809, aged eighty-four.

RICHARD PARKES BONINGTON (1802-28) was born at Arnold, but his boyhood was spent in Nottingham. His father being an artist would be helpful in directing his son's studies, but he (the father) was erratic, fond of company, and of a bottle of wine. The mother was a woman of ability, refinement, and other high qualities, who did her best by keeping a school (often to be moved) to meet the household expenses. The son had a passion for drawing; his delight was in sketching. He cared little for ordinary boyish sports. In 1817-18 the father removed to Calais, and afterwards to Paris, and the son became a student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, and copied much in the Louvre, and he produced work that was highly complimented for colour, poetry, and the life of painting. In 1820 he began to travel, and in 1822 he went to Italy, where he derived considerable benefit. Returning, he had great patronage, and "in seven years produced so great a number of perfect works in such different styles" that he must have worked exceedingly hard. "His forte," says the writer of a Memoir, "was dramatic painting and delineation of actual objects of nature, and we have only to compare his figure compositions with his coast views to confirm our opinion. His works in the latter style are wonderfully fine—so entirely original and masterly, and his sketches in water-colours are really and truly gems of art."

Unfortunately, overwork and undue exposure to the sun while sketching brought on brain fever, and he died in London. His remains were interred, with those of his mother, in Kensal Green Cemetery.

In the Wallace Collection there are thirty-five of his works in oil or water-colours, and there are some in Nottingham Castle Museum. Two of his pictures, "The Fish Market at Boulogne," and "The Grand Canal, Venice" were, in 1878, sold for 3,000 guineas each.

Mr. Watson Fothergill has shown public spirit by erecting a statue of him, with canopy, in the grounds of the School of Art in Nottingham.

THOMAS BARBER (1771-1843) was a portrait painter of considerable merit. He lived on Standard Hill, Nottingham. There are several of his works in the Castle Art Gallery, one of which is a portrait of Lord Denman, who was M.P. for Nottingham, and later Lord Chief Justice.

JOHN RAWSON WALKER (1796-1873) Nottingham, was a landscape painter of a high order. Several of his works are in the Castle Museum.

Henry Dawson

HENRY DAWSON. On No. 99 Mansfield Road is attached a Holbrook tablet with the words inscribed "Here lived Henry Dawson, Artist. Born 1811. Died 1878." Henry Dawson had every disadvantage, yet he rose to fame as a landscape painter, not by influence, patronage, or luck, (whatever that may be), but by dogged perseverance. He went to school from seven years of age to nine, when his father died, and his mother removed into a small house at the back of 61 Long Row West, Fowler's Yard, and he went into a ropewalk, and then into a lace factory, and became a "twisthand," but devoted his leisure time to painting. Joseph Roberts, a hairdresser and picture dealer, whose shop was No. 7 Chapel Bar, was his first patron, and gave him from half a crown to a sovereign for each picture produced, and afterwards paid him a salary of two guineas a week. He married in 1840, and went to live on Mansfield Road. He was devotedly attached to music, and became the leader of the Union Choral Society. He removed to Liverpool, and then to Croydon, where he produced "The Wooden Walls of Old England," which was sold in 1853 for £75, and in 1876 it realised £1400. He could get no recognition from the Royal Academy, and for nearly thirty years his pictures were "skied " or "cellared." He would have given up painting but Mr. Ruskin made suggestions to and advised him to persevere. In 1857 he produced at Thorpe one of his masterpieces, "The New Houses of Parliament." His "Dartmouth," in 1853 was well exhibited in the British Institution, and secured recognition. His "British Bulwarks" was sold for £250, and afterwards was worth £2,000. Mr. James Orrock went from Nottingham, and became an influential patron of Dawson, and purchased "London from Greenwich Hill" for £1,000, and "Greenwich Hospital" for £750, with which money Dawson bought "The Cedars," at Chiswick, a house associated with Hogarth. Here he died.

It was a happy thought and effort on the part of Alderman W. G. Ward and Mr. Orrock that in the Castle Art Gallery there were assembled fifty-seven of Dawson's pictures, so that when the Prince and Princess of Wales opened the Institution Dawson was present, and the Prince shook hands with and congratulated him. He had moreover a collection of four hundred sketches in water colours. In the illustrated catalogue of the Castle Art Gallery there are fifty-nine specimens of Dawson's work, one a scene in the Dukeries, with several of the grand old oaks, having cattle grazing underneath, and Edwinstowe church spire in the distance—a charming picture.

REUBEN BUSSEY (1818-1893) was born in Lister Gate, Nottingham. His father was a cork cutter, and the son followed the same occupation during the day, but devoted his evenings to drawing and painting, in which he became very proficient. This love of the fine arts was inherited from his father, who, through an accident, became a confirmed invalid. Having now to maintain his parents, Reuben laboured strenuously, early and late, and his perseverance was rewarded with success. He painted many local scenes connected with the Castle and its historical events. Caring little about money or honours, he was content to pursue his art for the love of it.

JOHN LASLETT POTT, R.B.A. (1837-98) born at Newark, was a figure and historical painter. See his "Mary Queen of Scots " in the Castle Art Museum. A collection of his works was shown when the Museum was opened in 1878.

JAMES TURPIN HART (1835-99) was a distinguished art teacher and figure and landscape painter.

ANDREW MacCALLUM (1821-1902) was a landscape painter of Forest Scenery in Sherwood, Windsor, Burnham Beeches, etc.

KATE GREENAWAY (1846-1901) the children's artist, was born in London, where her father was an engraver connected with "The Illustrated London News," which Herbert Ingram went from Nottingham to establish. Part of her early life seems to have been spent in a farm-house at Rolleston, where is the junction station for Southwell. The ancient church, with its Norman doorway and clustered piers; the extensive shrubberies on the site of the moated manor house of the olden time, near the waters of the Greet that turn the wheel of the old corn mill, and are a fine trout stream, flowing on to the Trent, which here makes a great bend, and so runs on two sides of the parish,—give varying types of beauty. These with the fruit trees, and many birds and skipping lambs, doubtless appealed to the youthful artist, and developed her inherited and innate love of nature. She went and studied drawing at South Kensington, and later at the Slade School at University College, and in 1877 she exhibited at the Royal Academy. In 1889 she was elected a member of the Institute of Painters in Water Colours. Her aim was to please and benefit children, and she designed Christmas cards, and valentines, and illustrated magazines, and in 1879 she published "Under the Window," and "Marigold Gardens," Birthday Books, "Mother Goose," "Nursery Rhymes," and a multitude of other illustrated books brought her large profits.

She died at Hampstead, where her parents resided.

THOMAS BROWNE (1870-1910) black and white artist, was born in Nottingham, and died in London. He went to St. Mary's National School, but after 11 years of age he had to earn his own living, and was afterwards bound for seven years to a lithographic printer, with exceedingly small wage, and he began drawing humorous sketches for comic papers, some of which were accepted and well paid for. After his apprenticeship expired he travelled much abroad, and supplied sketches and cartoons to prominent newspapers. He illustrated several volumes, and issued "Tom Browne's Comic Annual."

As a designer and draughtsman of posters or placards he achieved some success and made an exceptionally large income. He founded a lithographic printing business. He was a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and for several years exhibited his sketches at the Eoyal Academy. Very genial, he made many friends, and was buried with military honours, having held a commission in the Woolwich Territorials.

SIR JOHN CHARLES ROBINSON, C.B., F.S.A. was born in 1824, in Harley Place, Carrington Street, a small court receiving its air and light from the adjoining burial and playground. The site of the court is now covered by the James' Store. His grandfather, Mr. E. B. Robinson, was for many years a bookseller, printer, and auctioneer on Long Row; and probably the boy's father was an assistant in the business. In his third year the boy became an orphan. He went to a dame's school situate in the ancient house, up many steps, on the eastern side of the Castle Book; afterwards becoming a scholar in High Pavement School, where he assumed the name by which he was afterwards known. It is said that he seldom played games, but had always pen or pencil in his hand. He was apprenticed to Messrs. G. F. & S. J. Walker, Architects, builders, and marble masons, whose works were at the bottom of Derby Road, now Mitchell's Motor Garage, and the lion surmounting the building is a relic of Messrs. Walker's work. While in the office of the firm named he became a diligent student of ancient architecture, and when the firm were in 1843 engaged in strengthening the tower of St. Mary's church, which had shewn signs of giving way, he discovered magnificent capitals of Norman columns of an older church embedded in the foundations of the present building, and was proceeding to make sketches of them, but was forbidden by the architect. Robinson's tenacity of purpose is, however, here illustrated, for when he saw that the capitals were about to be buried in concrete he induced the foreman to let him into the church after dark, and with a lantern let down into the hole he completed his drawing, although he was "quite sickened by the awful stench from the interments all around," and the next day he etched the copper plate, and sent the architect a copy. So says Mr. T. C. Hine. (See Sketches in " Notts & Derbyshire Notes & Queries " for 1894, p. 173.)

In 1844 he designed the stamp and facade of the Mechanics Institution, which is in use to this day. He did not long continue at building drawings, decorative art being more to his taste, and he is next found in the service of Mr. William Taylor, box maker and wholesale stationer, Mount Street and Chapel Bar, and sent to travel through France, with a commission to buy drawings suitable for tickets for boxes. His travels gave him a great opportunity for observation of architecture and painting, and for sketching and study. He was away several years, and returning to Nottingham he practised as a painter, his studio being in Parliament Street. He was also second master of the School of Design, which was then held in Beck Lane, now called Heathcoat Street. He at this time obtained the entree into the Royal Academy. He obtained the post of Head Master of the Government School of Design at Hanley, where he studied very closely the adaptation of art to ceramics, and with natural talent and elegant taste he became an authority in the matters indicated. Here he stayed five years, when, in 1852, there arose in his twenty-eighth year the opportunity for which he had worked hard for some years, the "tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune," occurred.

The Duchess of Sutherland was asked to present the school prizes, when Robinson's description of the work done, and its objects and lessons, pleased Her Grace. She had much china at Trentham Hall, and did not know anything of its history and value. "Would he go and inspect it?" He went, and finding objects of great value he made a catalogue and report. The Duchess being shortly afterwards at Windsor Castle, was being shown by Prince Albert the china there, but His Royal Highness said he did not know its value. "A young man lives near me," said the Duchess, "who will tell you all about it." "Will you send for him?" was the reply. He went, and never returned, for he was retained classifying and arranging some of the art treasures of Her Majesty the Queen, and promotions followed rapidly in succession.

When the foundation of Science and Art was made at South Kensington he was the first Superintendent of Collections, and inaugurated the system of loan collections to provincial galleries. He was afterwards Inspector of Elementary Schools of Art. In 1882 he was Inspector of Pictures to Queen Victoria, and was knighted at the Queen's Jubilee in 1887, and made C.B. in 1901. He was the author of many art works and papers, which, with his other work, need not be here referred to. He lived some years in Harley Street, London, and afterwards purchased and resided at Newton Manor, Swanage, a residence adorned with every variety of beautiful foliage and flowers. He died in 1913, aged eighty-nine, an example of the advantage of travel combined with close observation, thoroughness, persistency of purpose, and triumph over disadvantages and obstacles. (W. Hugh).

SAMUEL W. OSCROFT, (1834-1924), was an artist living in Nottingham, his father being a lace manufacturer. He studied at the School of Design, then held in what is now the People's Hall. After being with Mr. William Cope, he entered the service of Alderman Heymann, as a designer of Lace Curtains, and shewed such skill and good taste in his work that he became head of the department, and the business was largely developed to the advantage of all parties concerned, for Mr. Heymann recognised and rewarded his employees who cooperated with him.

For many years he occupied himself as an artist, and a number of his pictures were presented to the Castle Museum, to which institution sixty-seven of his private collection of oil and water colour paintings were by his will bequeathed.


Dr. JOHN BLOW, (1648-1708) a distinguished musician, is usually described as having been born at North Collingham, but Mr. Blagg seems to have established the fact that the birthplace was Newark. He, in early life, showed musical taste and talent. He was brought up at the Chapel Royal, and while still young was appointed organist of Westminster Abbey (1669) and succeeded to various other appointments. As a Doctor in Music, Organist, Composer, Master of the children of the Chapel Royal for the space of thirty-five years, and organist of the Collegiate Church fifteen years, he rendered useful service, and his musical compositions, especially his church music, were distinguished.

Dr. JOHN SPRAY, (1768-1827) Basford, went as a chorister to Lichfield Cathedral, and afterwards to St. Patrick's at Dublin, where the degree of Doctor of Music was conferred on him, and he was described as "an ornament to our cathedral, and the animating spirit of social song in our higher classes of musical society." The monument in St. Patrick's describes him as having been the first tenor in the empire. C.B.

John Newton

JOHN NEWTON (1802-1886) was a lacemaker— twisthand was then the name—bom at Riste's Place, Nottingham, he lived at Beeston, and afterwards at Sneinton. From a child he had a love for music, and at seven he sang accurately the hymn "Sweet is the work my God, my King," to the tune "Brewer." His parents were members at Castle Gate Chapel, where there was the first organ in Nottingham, and a good musical service. At twenty he became a Sunday School teacher, but with the mistaken idea of that day he was not deemed old enough to be a member of the church, although he had been baptised in infancy. At twenty-two he married, and attended at Zion Chapel, where Mr. Jacks was minister, and here he introduced improved music into the service, re-organised the choir, and began composing tunes. "Sovereignty" was one of them, composed to the hymn "Great God of wonders, all Thy ways." He lent the MS., somebody printed it, and it became a great favourite.

There was about 1830 a great depression in the lace trade, and he removed to Beeston, where he was requested to form a choir at the new Wesleyan Chapel, which he did, and thus worked four years, composing tunes and giving the scores away, never thinking about copyright, but in 1833 he decided to print a volume.

Not being able to pay for it, he tramped from village to village getting subscribers and giving concerts, and so he called his first book "The Pilgrim, and several other books followed. Trade revived, and he returned to Nottingham, becoming choir-master at Parliament Street Chapel. Being associated with the Nottingham Choral Society, afterwards called "The Sacred Harmonic Society," his compositions took a wider range. Oratorio music, with orchestral accompaniments, and anthems, proceeded from his pen, he writing not only the full score, but all the parts in duplicate, and these were performed, first on a small scale, and then in the Mechanics' Hall. He continued to work as a lacemaker, bearing an excellent character, his last situation being at Messrs. Cope & Ward's. He had nine children, and in his old age thanked God for his gift, and that he could still in imagination hear the music, for it was in his soul, and he was a most religious man. His body lies buried in the General Cemetery, but no gravestone marks the spot. (J. Rogers).

HENRY FARMER, (died 1891) was a teacher of music in Nottingham and a dealer in musical instruments. He was of a musical family, his father being a well-known glee singer, and proprietor of a music hall; his nephew was of Harrow fame, and his niece Mrs. Bowman-Hart was a well-known teacher of music. He was for 40 years organist of High Pavement Chapel, and for 14 years the conductor of the Nottingham Sacred Harmonic Society, and was the composer of numerous musical pieces wherein he simplified the compositions so as to come within the capabilities of the average performer. He was a skilled violinist.

HERBERT S. IRONS, (died 1905, aged 71) was an organist. After being a choir boy at Canterbury Cathedral, he became assistant organist to Dr. Elvey, organist at Southwell Minster, then at Chester Cathedral, and for twenty-nine years at St. Andrew's, Nottingham. He was a composer of repute. Some of his tunes are set to "Jerusalem, my happy home," "The voice that breathed o'er Eden," wedding hymn, "Star of my soul," "Through the day," "The sun is sinking fast," and Nearer my God to Thee;'' and some of his compositions were published as "A Collection of Hymn Tunes, Kyries and Chants." A quiet, patient, sympathetic character, who never spoke an evil word of anyone. (J. P. Briscoe).

EDMUND HART TURPIN, (1835-1907) was an organist and musical composer. He, with his father and brothers, carried on the business of dealers in musical instruments at 20, Chapel Bar, but his father was in the lace trade. The Turpins were descended from a Huguenot family, and were musical. When Edmund was twelve years of age he was appointed organist at Friar Lane Congregational Church, and at fifteen he become organist at St. Barnabas' Roman Catholic Cathedral. He was Band Master to the Robin Hoods. In 1857 he settled in London, but continued his musical connection with Nottingham. In 1860 he became organist at the Catholic Apostolic Church in Gordon Square, and in succession at St. George's, Bloomsbury, and St. Bride's, Fleet Street. He was Honorary Secretary of the Royal College of Organists from 1875 and onwards. The Archbishop of Canterbury conferred on him the degree of Mus. Doc., and in 1892 he was appointed Warden of Trinity College of Music. He was a successful lecturer; for eight years edited the "Musical Standard," being also connected with other papers, and was the author of various musical compositions.

ARTHUR PAGE, (1845-1916) was organist at St. Mary's Church, Nottingham, for thirty-seven years. He was born at Ipswich, and at about seven years of age was entered as a chorister at Norwich Cathedral, under the celebrated teachers of singing Drs. Buck and Bunnett, one of his colleagues being Alfred Gaul, the composer of "The Holy City." As a youth he had very little time for recreation. When he was of age he had the chance of becoming organist at the Cathedral, but he preferred Nottingham, where he rapidly gained pupils, many of whom acknowledged their indebtedness to him. He wrote much church music, and several cantatas and operettas in conjunction with his son Bernard, who supplied the libretti. His anthem "Far from my heavenly home," written for men only, is in great request.

For twenty years he lived in Newdigate House, Castle Gate, the house in which Marshall Tallard spent the period of his captivity after his capture at Blenheim by the Duke of Marlborough, and where he cultivated fruit and flowers. With advancing years Mr. Page retired to London, where he died.

JOHN ADCOCK, (1839 (?) -1919) for more than a generation took an active part in the musical life of Nottingham. When he was an assistant in the music shop of Mr. Henry Farmer he became Choir Master at Addison Street Church, and so continued fifteen years. In 1880 he succeeded Mr. Farmer as conductor of the Sacred Harmonic Society, which office he kept fifteen years. He became the conductor of Musical Societies in half a dozen of the towns round Nottingham. A tenor vocalist, he assisted in the choirs of several of the principal chapels in the city, and he was the composer of some church music. He wrote several books in connection with his profession as a teacher of music, such as "The Singers' Guide." "The Choirmaster," has passed through many editions, and is still in demand. He was the local examiner of the Royal College of Music. A man of very definite opinions and ordinary capacities, he was helpful to others, for his heart was in his work. He loved music for its own sake, and he would lift men up to God and goodness and happiness by music and song, but in the church services there should be the music of worship, not the worship of music


JOHN C. FELIX ROSSI, R.A., (1762-1839) who became a famous sculptor, and whose principal works were done for St. Paul's Cathedral, was born in Nottingham, where his father was a medical practitioner. He passed through all the stages of apprenticeship, journeyman, student at the Royal Academy, and gained both the silver and the gold medal, which enabled him to reside three years at Rome. He became sculptor to King William IV. (Wylie).


THOMAS CHAMBERS HINE, F.S.A. (1814-1899) was an architect of some prominence in Nottingham, having charge of the erection of many public buildings and the principal business concerns, such as the warehouses of T. Adams & Co., E. &T. Birkin, and others; the restoration of many churches, and the adaptation of the Castle for an Art Museum. He took an active interest in antiquarian matters, and published a book entitled "Nottingham Castle; a Military Fortress, a Royal Palace, a Ducal Mansion, a Blackened Ruin, a Museum and Gallery of Art," 1876. He had the laying out of the Park as a building estate, and many of its houses were built under his direction.

LIEUT.-COL. ARTHUR W. BREWILL, D.S.O., V.D., T.D., (died 1923) of the Robin Hoods, was an architect in Nottingham and resided at Edwalton. The design for the war memorial monument in front of the Nottingham High School, representing a youth beckoning to his comrades to come on, and which was afterwards translated into bronze by Mr. H. Poole, A.R.A., was one of Col. Brewill's latest and happiest designs. He will, however, be remembered chiefly by the unlimited service he rendered the Robin Hoods during the long period of forty-four years, having enlisted in 1878 and having received his first commission in 1881. During the Great War he commanded the battalion in France for nearly a year, and led it in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt in 1915. For his service in the War he received the honour of D.S.O. He had a great military funeral.

(a) Quoted in "Thomas & Paul Sandby, Royal Academicians," by William Sandby; 1892, from the Memoirs of James Gandon, the Architect, published at Dublin, 1846, pp. 186-7.
(b) Bailey's Annals, page 239. (c) Mr. Godfrey suggests baptised in 1730. See Ward MS. page 51.
(d) Gandon's Life, page 187, quoted in Sandby's Life, p. 90.
(e) "Life," page 198-9.