MORE CONNECTIONS

10 September, 2020

We have another set of connections from two of our committee.

Vernon Burgess (who is also the Historian for All Saints Church Fulham) has found another connection between Zoffany and Fulham and Hammersmith with this painting………

Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match although a gruesome subject and possibly full of double entendres and other dubious images this was painted by Zoffany c.1784.  Do look at the picture here and the extensive discussion of the subject matter.  In brief it shows:

Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab Wazir (governor) of Awadh and Colonel John Mordaunt, an employee of Britain’s East India Company, on the left in white and also has Zoffany with his arm over the white armchair.

Wikipedia states that “Mordaunt was the illegitimate and nearly illiterate son of the 4th Earl of Peterborough by Robiniana Brown. (See “ Peterborough House” by Sue Pierson FHHS publications for more details).

The colonel had managed to be assigned to Warren Hastings and through him he was appointed head of security. His real role however included organising entertainments. Mordaunt and his employer were said to have shown the same low tastes in entertainment. Even at that time, cockfighting was not well regarded in British society. Mordaunt had arranged for British birds to be brought to India, where he used them to take on local cockerels.”

The Zoffany painting was commissioned for Warren Hastings by his private secretary a certain John Belli.

Now a certain Colonel John Cockerell who also had had a successful career with the East India company enters the story, he had a sister Elizabeth Cockerell who married for a second time the private secretary John Belli, and of course Colonel John’s brother was none other than Samuel Pepys Cockerell, who did some architectural work for Hastings.

Samuel himself would of course be working on restoring Fulham Palace for the Howleys many years later .

Samuel Pepys Cockerell was the great great nephew of Samual Pepys the diarist who himself in the past had visited Fulham Palace and commented on the fine botanical specimens there of Bishop  Compton. Samuel Pepys was a former pupil of St Paul’s school, when it was near the cathedral.

Why was he working for the Howleys?, well John and Elizabeth Belli’s 1st daughter was Mary Frances and she married on 29 Aug 1805, to certain a William Howley , a private tutor in Somerset who in 1809 was appointed regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University and then he became Bishop of London in 1813. Mary was the “Howley heiress” refered to by Fulham Palace tour guides, inherited from her fathers successful East India company career that helped fund the alterations to Fulham Palace and the loss of the crenellations of Terricks improvements c. 1777.

Furthermore the builder employed by Cockerell was a certain Henry Holland . Henry Holland Snr, (20 July 1745– 17 June 1806) was an architect to the English nobility and was born in Fulham, where his son , also Henry, helped run the building firm constructing several garden designs for a well known gardener architect. Henry senior ,along with other members of the family are buried in All Saints Church yard and Henry’s son married Bridget, the daughter of Lancelot Brown known as “Capability Brown “ , who was of course the famous landscape architect we have just referred to. He lived sometime on Hammersmith Mall , and left in 1764 to live at Hampton Court. He was responsible for developing over 200 landscapes, many of them now National Trust, and has a recent statue up by Distillery Wharf near to Hammersmith bridge.

Bridget was also interred in the Holland tomb.  There is a separate memorial in All Saints church to her.

Incidentally Lancelot Brown was born only about five years after Henry Compton’s famous Gardener – George London died. London was responsible for many of the shortlived baroque Gardens in English country houses’, and hewas buried along with his wife in All Saints church, in 1712.

Jane Bowden-Dan also commented on the Zoffany of the Sharp family saying it would be good as part of a forthcoming Temporary Exhibition at Fulham Palace celebrating Bishop Beilby Porteus and his circle, which included the Sharps.

She found the mention of Kensington Gravel Pits timely having just returned from Caroline MacMillan’s guided ‘Notting Dale’ walk where the gravel pits, pigeries and brick kilns were mentioned.  Apparently one kiln remains standing.

Jane returned via the childhood home of Sir Paul Gordon Fildes OBE FRS at Woodland House, Melbury Road, Holland Park W14, now owned by Robbie Williams! It was built for his father Sir Luke Fildes, a portrait artist, by Richard Norman Shaw. Jane’s connection is that she has been investigating a photo album rescued from a skip at her block of flats on the Thames that she has discovered belonged to Sir Paul who was a Pathologist and Microbiologist at the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar during WWl and at Porton Down in WWll working on Anthrax.
Phew!! I hope you survived that monumental feat of name dropping, I have never added so many tags to a post.

VENTURING OUT – LOOKING FOR TURNER FOUND ZOFFANY

19 August, 2020

As the rules relax we are all venturing out a little, perhaps visits to family or favourite places.  Yesterday a trip to test how busy the transport system was and how a large gallery was coping with the rules proved to be a pleasant surprise.  A couple of buses, mainly the 11; which were only allowed to carry 30 passengers and thus we were very well spaced, took us to Trafalgar Square.  Again this tourist hot spot was hardly busy.  A free timed slot at the National Gallery gave us access to one of three routes through the standing exhibitions.  We chose route C for its Turners but were delighted to see them juxtaposed with Constables and many others – largely landscapes.  West London can claim Turner as one of its own and some members may have visited his home at Twickenham now newly restored and re-opened under COVID restrictions but with a small exhibition of his oil sketches see details.  It was a great visit but the first surprise was seeing Johan Zoffany’s painting of “The Sharp Family” on their barge Apollo at Fulham. Photography was allowed but this picture is on loan from a private collection so a rare treat that gives a feel for the area and the times. Granville Sharp was a respected resident of Fulham who helped found the colony of Sierra Leone and used his position to campaign for the abolition of slavery.  The second surprise was to see a Canaletto of the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens. Noticing the Ranelagh connection and delved a little deeper as had never heard of the Rotunda, which was demolished in 1805.

So well worth a visit to the National and to Turner’s House.  We even managed a snack lunch at the National’s cafe.

Talking of re-opening the London Metropolitan Archive will re-open with restrictions from 7 September details on their website. Likewise the V&A is open and the British Museum is re-opening too. So do venture forth and take in some more History and perhaps lunch. Let us all know if you find any historical gems.

II – POSTSCRIPT

For those wishing to find out more about Granville Sharp there is this entry on Historic England’s website and of course Wikipedia.

See Vernon Burgess’ comment below.