A strong group of 22 members gathered in St Clements Church Hall for the AGM. Minutes were approved, the annual report, Hon Treasurer’s report and re-election of the Committee were all considered and completed. There were no new volunteers for the Committee amongst those present, anyone who could help should approach the Chairman or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Sadly John Putnam is experiencing ill-health and can no longer carry out the role of Independent Examiner of the accounts. An approach was made at the meeting and it is expected that a well qualified member will take on this role. The role of Publications Manager also needs to be filled as Sonia Crutchlow wishes to step down having done this for several years. There were no volunteers at the meeting so again the Chairman is keen to hear from anyone who can help.
Our stoicism in the face of the AGM was rewarded by a talk from Val Bott MBE of the William Hogarth Trust, a celebrated local historian and museums’ champion.
Val started her illustrated talk with John Rocqu’s Map of 1746 showing Hogarth House location and the riverside hamlet of Chiswick and the outlook across fields and market gardens. Her researches show that the Downs family enclosed orchards in the area in the 1600’s and a will in 1683 makes mention of land including Mulberry trees which is significant because an ancient Mulberry still survives in the gardens of Hogarth’s house.
The house was next recorded as the residence of Georg Andreas Ruperti a Lutheran Pastor who came to England in 1709 and died in 1732. It seems that Hogarth’s success enabled him to seek a second home to add to his Leicester Square house. He purchased it in 1749 and built an extension during 1750-51. A long list of family and subsequent owners followed. The house having fallen into disrepair and sold to a developer, a Lt Col Shipway responded to local clamour to preserve the house and he purchased it and a number of prints to begin a Museum at the site in 1904.
The work continues and despite a traumatic fire the house is open to visitors and contains a selection of Hogarth’s work. Val encouraged all to visit and to purchase the newly published book about its history.
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