The notes are by two different hands and analyzing their content shows how confusing and possibly wrong information can arise and be transmitted across the generations. The sitter looks to be aged about 50 to 60, and to be dressed in clothes from around 1820-1830.
The first note reads;
The enclosed miniature came into my possession many years ago. The old gentleman treated me as one of his grandchildren when he was living at Wimbledon House, none of us were then married! Many changes having taken place since that time! both in family deaths, and new buildings on the grounds belonging to the house! August 3, 1904.
The second note reads;
The miniature referred to is that of Admiral Sir William Rush, sent to me by Mrs Loftus Tottenham, Aug 1904.
From this it seems that the writer of the first note was Mrs Loftus Tottenham. (NB not hyphenated, and the name Tottenham was not at all obvious at first, and it took some attempts to arrive at Tottenham!) The third note reads;
Admiral Sir William Rush RN, great-great uncle of Vi Cerwindell[?]. Painted 1833 by Charlotte Ferrier [sic - The name Cerwindell does not seem to exist, and the name written has so far eluded me. The closest seems to be a Victor Crundell who died in Yorkshire 1920.]
Thus we have the name of the artist. Foskett records that Charlotte Farrier was active from 1826-1875, a very long career! She exhibited at the Royal Academy amongst other places, and was a prolific artist.
There were several families named Loftus Tottenham, with or without a hyphen, in the late 19C. One was the family of the author, Miss Blanche Mary Loftus-Tottenham, daughter of Arthur Loftus-Tottenham, but she was a spinster.
Mary Ann WALKER Head U Female 76 London, Middlesex, England Householder
Loftus TOTTENHAM Visitor M Male 50 Dublin, Ireland Landed Proprietor
Constance L. TOTTENHAM Visitor M Female 40 Brighton, Sussex, England
Beresford L. TOTTENHAM Visitor U Male 23 London, Middlesex, Army Officer
(Mrs) KNEKLESS Serv U Female 42 London, Middlesex, England Housekeeper
Martha MACARTHY Serv U Female 22 London, Middlesex, England Parlourmaid
Mouser SANDERS Serv U Female 50 London, Middlesex, England Cook
From this it has been asumed that Constance Loftus Tottenham was the writer of the first note, and there is a son. Beresford, aged 23.
Beresford Tottenham is a good name to start with. It turns out his full name was Beresford Creighton Stuart Campbell Loftus Tottenham, born 29 June 1856 and christened 15 Feb 1857 at St Mary, St Marylebone St, London, as son of Loftus Abraham Tottenham and Constance Marion Newton Wigney.
Isaac Newton Wigney (1795–1844)was an English banker and Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1832 to 1842. He was the son of William Wigney and his wife Ann Killick. His father was a successful banker in Brighton. At the 1832 general election Wigney was elected as a Member of Parliament for Brighton. He held the seat until his defeat in 1837, but was re elected at the 1841 general election. In 1836 Wigney took over the bank on the death of his father. However in 1842 the bank failed. Wigney was declared bankrupt, left Brighton and gave up his seat in the House of Commons. There is much about the Wigney family at Yes - Barcombe and Hamsey
The story of Wimbledon House has been a little difficult to untangle. My current impression is that the original Wimbledon House was renamed Belvedere House when James Courthope Peache purchased it in 1833, and that the Spencer property, Wimbledon Park House, then became better known as Wimbledon House.
The impression from her note is that she was a girl or young unmarried adult at the time of visiting the old gentleman at Wimbledon House, thus, say around 1840-1850. But the second and third notes refer to Sir William Rush. Sir William Beaumaris Rush (1750-1833) did own a large home in Wimbledon called Belvedere House (showing here) from 1783 to 1833, but he cannot have been the man visited by Constance Wigney, as he died around the year she was born. His father was William Rush of Lambeth who was buried at Chelsea in 1779 and his mother was Mary daughter of George Smith of London. He received his second name from having been born at sea off Beaumaris on the 21st of August 1750.
The family were for a century and a half the proprietors of the great vinegar yard in Southwark, afterwards Potts's, and from the last of those wealthy merchants Sir William inherited a large fortune and an estate at Roydon in Suffolk. He was not in the Royal Navy, there never being an admiral named Sir William Rush. Thus, the reference to him needs to be viewed with caution. The confusion was perhaps occasioned as his suit jacket was thought to be a naval uniform. For the man in the 1833 miniature to be Sir William Rush, he would need to be aged 83, but the sitter looks younger than that.
The watercolour is of the rear of Belvedere House, Wimbledon, showing steps leading up to the back door. The house was large, of five bays and three storeys with projecting wings at each side and a balustrade on the roof. Wimbledon church tower and steeple are seen to the right. Home of the Rush family since 1748 when Mrs Martha Rush bought Janssen's Manor House; the name was later changed. Sir William Rush was also Captain of Wimbledon's Infantry Association.
In 1834 Belvedere House was bought by James Courthope Peache [sometimes Courthorpe](1782-1856), a retired barge builder, timber merchant and one-time Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Surrey. During a long life James amassed a considerable fortune some of which he used in the support of ecclesiastical and educational institutions. This is starting to sound like a connection to the sitter in the portrait. Although the house was called Belvedere House, not Wimbledon House, it was at Wimbledon and had previously belonged to Sir William Rush. Peache's wife, Alice, died at Belvedere House in 1859.
It is interesting to note that Peache had previously lived in Belvedere Road, Lambeth, and hence may have renamed Sir William Rush's house as Belvedere House when he purchased it. At St John's Church in Waterloo Road, Lambeth, three or four large tombs remain in the part of the churchyard fronting Waterloo Road. Of these the most prominent is that of the Peache family, erected at the expense of James Courthope Peache in 1827. On the front are his coat of arms and crest, and on the south side is the inscription—
TO THE MEMORY OF CLEMENT PEACHE ESQRE
DIED OCT 23 1815 ACED 68 YEARS
ALSO ELIZABETH PEACHE HIS WIFE
DIED IAN 31 1830 IN HER 80TH YEAR
ALSO TO THE MEMORY OF JAMES COURTHOPE PEACHE ESQRE
DIED IAN 22 1858 IN HIS 77TH YEAR
ALSO OF ALICE PEACHE HIS WIFE
DIED IAN 1 1859 IN HER 75TH YEAR
The north side of the tomb has a list of James Peache's ten children, all except two of whom died in infancy or childhood, and it also records the names of his two sisters and his niece, Mary Peache Larkin. It would seem such a man and his wife would be friendly to Constance Wigney as a girl around 1845-1850. His grandson had the same name and became a well-known engineer, as recorded at Paxman "Peache Patent"
James Courthope Peache - The designer of the Peache engine was a man of substantial private means which allowed him to be 'his own man'. His grandfather, also called James Courthope Peache, had been a very successful and wealthy London timber merchant. When Courthope senior died, his great wealth passed to his younger son, the Revd Alfred Peache, as the elder son died within six weeks of his father. In turn, Alfred's son, Courthope Peache junior, came to enjoy a substantial private income and greater freedom to make choices about the course of his career than might be open to a man more dependent on his employers. The Revd Alfred Peache, and his unmarried sister Kezia, both generous benefactors to the Church of England, owned Layer Marney Tower from 1869 to 1899. Layer Marney Tower is an impressive Tudor property about 6 miles south-west of Colchester, now a major tourist attraction. Alfred became Lord of the Manor of Layer Marney and died in November 1900, at the age of 82, at his home, Danmore, in Wimbledon, London.James Courthope Peache junior was born on 5th February 1852 and graduated in Engineering from King's College, London. He joined Willans & Robinson in July 1885 as Works Manager of their Ferry Works at Thames Ditton. After nearly all the factory had been destroyed by fire in 1888, Peache was mainly responsible for the design and construction of the new factory. In his approach to manufacturing he was keen on standardisation and the interchangeability of components, as were his employers, and this trait showed through in the meticulous drawings maintained at Paxman for his engines. Despite his abilities and contribution to the Willans business, he was not offered a partnership and some friction appears to have developed between himself and Peter Willans. He resigned from Willans & Robinson at the end of January 1892. Early in 1893, Courthope Peache wrote to James Paxman, seeking to interest Paxman in the high-speed engine he had recently designed. The timing was opportune as Paxman was becoming increasingly aware of his need for a high-speed engine. However, Paxman was not initially impressed by the design and could not see any great advantages in it. He sent the drawings to W H Massey, a respected authority on power generation, seeking his opinion. After considering Massey's reply, James Paxman decided to pursue the matter. Lengthy negotiations followed, leading to Paxman's agreement to build Peache's engines and the appointment of Courthope Peache as Paxman's Works Manager. After two years of development work on the engine and six months of running trials, three of the new engines were put on display at the Empire of India Exhibition held at Earls Court in 1895.
In 1896 Peache withdrew from day-to-day involvement in the running of the Paxman business and became "Consulting Engineer to Davey, Paxman & Co". However, he cannot have been too remote from life at Standard Works on Hythe Hill. In 1898 Harry Broom, who had finished serving his apprenticeship with Paxman, decided to set up business with Jethro Wade, one of Paxman's foremen. Peache offered to help them if they were short of capital. Initially they declined the offer, deciding to rely on their own resources. Later they were helped with a loan from Peache when they put up more buildings and started building compressors. This venture became the highly successful and well-known Broom & Wade compressor business. (1) Peache himself became Chairman of Broom & Wade for many years until relinquishing his interest in the business in 1914.
In 1899 Courthope Peache purchased Layer Marney Tower from his father. Whilst living at Layer Marney, Peache completed the north-west wing of the house and installed the smallest size Peache engine, a single crank SCcl, to generate electricity for lighting his home. The order, No 6050 was placed in March 1900 and the engine was despatched to Layer Marney on 28th February 1901. Peache sold Layer Marney Tower in 1904 and left Colchester to rejoin his old company, Willans & Robinson, which had by now moved from Thames Ditton to a large purpose-built factory at Rugby: the well-known 'Willans Works'. Joining as a Director in 1904, he was appointed Managing Director in 1908. Peache resigned this position in 1911 and became Chairman: a post he held until February 1920. He died at Haywards Heath, Sussex, in 1931 aged 79.
WIMBLEDON, a village in Surrey, 7 miles S.W. of London, on an eminence and partly on a fine common, on which are numerous elegant residences. Earl Spencer has a mansion here called Wimbledon House; the original house was built by the son of the great Lord Burleigh, in 1588, and afterwards rebuilt by Sarah Duchess of Marlborough. This was burnt down in 1785; but some of the offices, at a distance from the house, were fitted up, and used for several years for the occasional residence of the late Earl Spencer. The estate was left by the Duchess of Marlborough to John Spencer, Esq., whose son, Earl Spencer, grandfather to the present Earl, formed here one of the finest parks in England. It contains 1,200 acres, and is adorned with fine plantations, beautiful declivities, and a sheet of water containing 50 acres. The eminences in this park present many varied and delightful points of view: Harrow-on-the-Hill, Highgate, the Metropolis, (in which may be distinguished his Lordship's house in the Green Park), Norwood, and Epsom Downs. No less than nineteen churches may be counted in this prospect, exclusive of those of London and Westminster. The present mansion was built in 1801, from the design of the late Mr. Holland. Through the park is a thoroughfare from Wimbledon to Putney Heath, for pedestrians only, (unless by permission) without dogs. Parts of the house may occasionally be viewed on application.
Near the church is the elegant villa of Sir William Rush, Bart., with fine pleasure-grounds. On the westside are two good houses, the one formerly in the occupation of the Right Hon. Viscount Melville, and the other the pretty villa of Abraham Aguelar, Esq. In the lane leading to Kingston is Prospect Place, the seat of James Meyrick, Esq., adjoining to which is the handsome villa of Samuel Castello, Esq. Both these have beautiful pleasure grounds, commanding delightful views of Epsom Downs, and all the country adjacent.
However, there are also references to Wimbledon Park House, Wimbledon, displaying a central porch supported by six pillars and a projecting wing from the right. It was the home of Joseph Marryatt, (1757-1824), MP for Sandwich, who bought the house in 1815. The term "buying a house" in the 19C could sometimes just mean buying the lease of a house for a period of years.
Wimbledon House appears here in three views which show a smaller house than the one in top view above. The first view was published in 1813 and seems a more rural, and hence slightly earlier aspect of the house. The third colour version is dated 1826 with an inscription in a later hand "The Seat of Earl Spencer at Wimbledon".
The next stage to investigate is who was living in Wimbledon House in around 1850. A book of 1849 refers to the house being tenanted by the Duke of Somerset, who was probably the occupant immediately prior to 1846, when the 4th Earl Spencer sold the estate and house to John Augustus Beaumont a property developer who laid out new roads and sold plots of land for house building. Two roads still bear his name today - Augustus Road and Beaumont Road. Development of the area was slow at first, but continued throughout the second half of the 19th century, gradually nibbling away at the parkland. Other large estates were broken up, the houses demolished and new roads planned across their grounds: Wimbledon House in 1898 and Belvedere House in 1901.
The modern park was purchased by the Borough of Wimbledon just before the First World War and is, with its ornamental lake, the grounds of the Wimbledon Club and Wimbledon Golf Course, the only remnant of the former, larger park. Late in the 20C the London Borough of Merton sold on the Golf Course to the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, leaving just the public park and the lake in its ownership.
It is seeming unlikely that Beaumont was of an age to treat Constance Wigney as one of his grandchildren. In view of this, if her visits were to Wimbledon House, they would seem to precede its sale to Beaumont in 1846, but the Duke of Somerset was then in residence, so Wimbledon House does not seem to fit the note.
While the portrait may possibly be of Sir William Rush, on balance the most likely attribution seems to identify the sitter as James Courthope Peache (1782-1856) who would have been 51 in 1833, the date of the painting, and who lived at Belvedere House. From his appearance, he looks more like a retired timber merchant, than an aristocrat or property developer. That suggests the references to Sir William Rush and Wimbledon House likely arose as a mid 19C family reference, at the time of Constance going to Belvedere House to visit, "the man who lived in Sir William Rush's house at Wimbledon".
The Peache family were generous benefactors of St Mary's in Wimbledon. Galleries extend over the aisles and west end of the nave; and above the western gallery is an organ-loft, containing a fine-toned organ comprising three manuals and pedals, and 39 stops. Its origins go back to 1843, when James Peache donated a smaller organ to the church, which forms the nucleus of the present instrument. In 1925 the organ was rebuilt and enlarged to its present specification by Alfred Hunter of Clapham.
In 1862 a window at the east end was erected by Miss Peache, to the memory of her father, the late James Courthorpe Peache. It was divided into six compartments, three above and three below. In the centre was Our Saviour on the cross; on his right (in the north compartment) his mother, the Holy Mary; on his left (in the south), the Apostle St John. Underneath these, in the north, was the Adoration of the Magi; in the middle the Agony in the Garden; in the south the Angel at the Sepulchre. However, in 1944 the window was destroyed when a V1 rocket exploded on Wimbledon Common. A replacement window was erected in 1951, but still with a dedication to James Courthope Peache. 1388
Much later - An anonymous visitor has left several helpful comments, including a link to a pair of miniatures sold by Bonhams. With grateful thanks to the visitor and to Bonhams, their comments are now included here:
William Wood (British, 1769-1810)
A pair of miniatures portraying Sir William Beaumarris Rush (1750-1822) and Lady Laura Rush née Carter: the former, wearing blue coat, white waistcoat, stock and frilled cravat; the latter, wearing white dress with frilled collar and gold braid tied at her waist, a white open turban in her powdered hair.
The former signed on the reverse and dated Sir Wm Beaumarris Rush/ Born Sept 1st 1750/ by Willm Wood/ Cork St. London, ormolu frames with stamped borders.
Oval, 87mm (3 7/16in) high (2)
The former signed on the reverse and dated Sir Wm Beaumarris Rush/ Born Sept 1st 1750/ by Willm Wood/ Cork St. London, ormolu frames with stamped borders.
Oval, 87mm (3 7/16in) high (2)
FootnotesProvenance: Bonhams, London, The Albion Collection of Fine Portrait Miniatures, 22 April 2004, lot 115.
Exhibited: Bath, Holburne Museum of Art, Secret Passion to Noble Fashion, 21 April - 18 July 1999;
Edinburgh, Phillips Auctioneers, Secret Passion to Noble Fashion, 16 August - 3 September 1999;
Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, The Albion Loan Collection, 2000-2003.
Literature: W. Wood, Memorandum of Miniatures Painted and Finished by William Wood, 1790-1808, nos. 5624 and 5445 respectively;
A. Sumner and R. Walker, Secret Passion to Noble Fashion, 1999, nos. 73 & 74.
Wood's fee books record the present two miniatures as 5624 Mr William Rush of Pall Mall. 3rd size July Find 13 Nov 1798 Decr About 48 - 62 red - coat of 6 - Hume's white: 120 - sun burnt but fair Complex. = 104 - Breath'd on - some red chalk - Light varied background - gum touches - Powdered hair. and 5445 Mrs Rush of Wimbledon: in a white dress & open turban - averted dark eye - Gold cord round waist - silver behind head - Cro in girdle - 8th size about 35. M's white Find 14 Sep 1796 Decr 15th. Another version of William Rush's portrait also appears in the artist's fee book as no. 5973 and is complimented by a small tracing in red ink. This latter miniature was begun in February 1803 and completed the following June. An oil portrait of Rush, attributed to John Jackson (British, 1778-1831) sold at Sotheby's, London on 19 February 1997 (lot 182).
William Rush of Elsenham Hall, Hertfordshire married Laura Carter of Southwark on 10 April 1782. The couple had six daughters: Laura (d.1806), Julian Caroline, Charlotte, Clarissa, Angelica and Louisa. Sir William inherited a large fortune and estate in Roydon, Suffolk and served that county as Sheriff in 1800. He was knighted on 19 June that year and lived out the remaining years of his life in Wimbledon (S. Urban, The Gentleman's Magazine, 1833, vol.103, part II, p.183)