Category Archives: Kirby

Joshua Kirby (1716 – 1774)

Joshua Kirby died on June 21, 1774 and is buried at St. Anne’s, Kew.

042014_1850_StAnnesKew1.jpg

His gravestone is no longer especially legible, and my pictures certainly don’t help.

2013-07-07 09.49.35

Here is my attempt at a transcription.

Joshua Kirby FRS-AS/ died 21st June 1774 Aged 58 / Sarah his wife / died [ ] August 1775 / Aged 57 Years / William Kirby / Son of the above / Joshua & Sarah / died 13th July 1771 / Aged 28 Years / / CGH Kirby Son of / William and Elizabeth Kirby / died an Infant / 29th October 1767 / Elizabeth wife of / William Kirby died January / 1796 Aged 49 Years

Update: Here is another view of the armorial at the top of the gravestone.

kirby-armorial

 

Advertisements

William Bayntun

William Bayntun (1717—1785) was a barrister who resided at Gray’s Inn. He was admitted to Gray’s Inn in 1746, when he was already nearly 30, and called to the bar in 1760.  He was the youngest son of Henry Bayntun who was of a junior branch of the overly-complex Bayntun family of Wiltshire.  The senior branch had been prominent landowners for centuries, described by the DNB as “the quintessential county family”, developing over the years a wide array of land-holdings and intertwining marriages and trailing vast numbers of lawsuits before dying out (in the nineteenth generation) shortly before our William was born.

William did manage to acquire and inherit his own modest collection of estates to support him, and he married well to Catherine Sandys, an heiress, in 1756 (she was some twenty years his junior and still underage, but her father had died in 1754).  William and Catherine did not have any children and in his will, after providing for his wife, William left his estate to Windsor Sandys, a cousin of his wife’s. While William married, but did not have children, both his brothers had children, but did not marry.

William Bayntun was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and principally noted for his book collection, sold off after his death.  Also a supporter of the arts, he subscribed to the first edition of Joshua Kirby’s Method of Perspective, and was present at the 1757 dinner at the Foundling Hospital.

Dinner at the Hospital

The Foundling Hospital played an important role in the developing community of artists in London in the 1740s and 1750s. Hogarth was the principal force behind this.  Back in 1740, Hogarth had donated his portrait of Captain Coram to the hospital, and in 1746 Hogarth, together with Rysbrack, suggested a plan to the Governors of the Hospital whereby artists, principally painters and sculptors, would donate work to decorate the (public) areas of the hospital, and, in return, would have their work seen by those sections of polite society who might commission more work from the artists.  The plan was approved and became a great success.  A committee was formed to meet annually on November 5 to oversee the donations.  Hogarth, Francis Hayman, Joseph Highmore, James Wills, Thomas Gainsborough, Samuel Wale, Richard Wilson, and more all donated works.

Hogarth_Captain Coram

As was frequently the case in eighteenth-century England, the annual business meeting of the committee soon acquired a dinner, which grew into a large gathering of artists and their supporters.  Few records of these dinners survive, with the exception of the one held on November 5, 1757.  At this dinner, an astonishing 154 people signed the guest list.  The original list is long lost, but it was transcribed and later published in [Brownlow 1847, 17—20]. Brownlow sorted the names alphabetically within profession (Painters, Sculptors, Architects, Engravers) and non-artist supporters (who did not get a heading).  He also included some helpful footnotes identifying some of the names. The list thus stands as one of the few lengthy sources of the names of active artists in the late 1750s.

Joshua Kirby was present at the dinner, and out of the artists there that evening, at least 40 had subscribed to his Method of Perspective, as well as some half a dozen of the supporters.

 

References

Brownlow, J. (1847) Memoranda; or, Chronicles of the Foundling Hospital, Including Memoirs of Captain Coram, etc. London.

Office of Works: Departmental Appointments

The Surveyor-General of the Office of Works was appointed by the King, but lesser departmental appointments, such as Joshua Kirby’s to Clerk of the Works at Richmond and Kew, were ordered by the Surveyor-General. The official record of these appointments or warrants in the period concerning Kirby is in the volume Warrants and Correspondence. Appointments. Surveyor General’s Warrants. 1733—1780. Departmental Appointments (WORK 6/9). While the names, dates and positions are all noted in Colvin’s History of the King’s Works, Volume 5, Appendix D, I thought it might be useful to list the contents of the book of Warrants. Most warrants are on separate pages, but occasionally there are two on a page. They proceed chronologically, except for occasional lapses. The pages have been lightly numbered in pencil, and I am following that pagination.

Seeing how the appointments group helps illustrate the ripple effect of promotions.

 


Continue reading

Joseph Phillips

Joshua Kirby’s Labourer in Trust at Richmond and Kew was Joseph Phillips. They did not always get along. When Kirby was appointed Clerk of the Works in 1761, Phillips had already been Labourer in Trust for fifteen years. He was appointed to the post 01 December 1746, when Henry Stallard succeeded Henry Flitcroft as Clerk of the Works as part of a series of promotions and movements. Kirby was the fourth Clerk Phillips worked under.

The laconic minutes of the weekly meetings of the Board of Works do not give much background, but Kirby must have complained about Phillips’ performance because Phillips was summoned to a Board meeting in November 1761:

November 18 1761 (WORK 4/13)

Joseph Phillipps, Laborer in Trust at Richmond attended pursuant to Order and was directed to attend his Duty constantly on the Spot under the directions of Mr. Kirby, Clerk of the Works, And that Mr. Kirby find some Convenient Place for him to live in.

Continue reading

Eighteenth-Century Salaries

In 1761, Joshua Kirby and his son William were appointed joint Clerks of the Works and Storekeepers at Richmond and Kew. The two positions of Richmond and Kew always went together, with that of Richmond being considered the more important. Later in the 1760s and 1770s, there was more construction and redecoration at Kew and the pace of work picked up. The basic salary for Richmond was 2s 3d a day, while for Kew it was only 1s. This was not a great deal of money. The Labourer in Trust received 2s 2d, and a regular labourer could earn 2s a day.

Headline salaries are misleading, though. William Hogarth’s official payment as Serjeant painter to the King was only £10, but he boasted that the post was worth two or three hundred pounds a year to him. There were all sorts of perquisites and ways of generating additional income. The arcane system of allowances extended down as far as the Clerk of the Works. The details of the accounts for the period when Kirby was Clerk of the Works are no longer available, just the monthly summaries, but the accounts do exist for 1781 (in the volume WORK 5/69 at the National Archives). These accounts give the breakdown of payments to Kirby’s successor, Thomas Fülling. Given that Kirby’s income never changed over the period he held the position, and that Fülling received the same payment, we can be fairly sure that the same set of allowances were in force for Kirby. Here is the account for January 1781:

Continue reading

Clerk of the Works at Richmond and Kew

The various palaces and estates of the royal household were managed by the Office of Works, headed by a Surveyor-General. Each location was supervised by a Clerk of the Works, usually with the assistance of a Labourer in Trust. The Clerk of the Works was responsible for construction, maintenance, decoration, and repair, and dealing with the various contractors who would do the actual work. The minutes of the weekly meeting of the Board of Works for February 24, 1761 note:

Order’d that Joshua and William Kirby be joint Clerks of the Works and Storekeepers at Richmond and Kew in the Room of John Smith Upon the Establish’d Salary and Allowances of the Clerkship at Kensington Palace

And John Smith to be Clerk of the Works at Kensington Palace in the Room of John Vardy, Upon the Established Salary and Allowances of Richmond and Kew.

 

Continue reading