Category Archives: Subscribers

Henry Aston (1701—1748)

The Honourable and Reverend Henry Aston, Rector of Shotley in Suffolk, subscribed for two copies of Kirby’s Historical Account. However, beneath the sober clerical garb beat the degenerate heart of a minor lordling, for Henry Aston was in fact a Hervey. Born Henry Hervey in 1701, he was one of the nineteen children of John Hervey, first earl of Bristol and, according to his father, more trouble than the rest of the children put together.

After a stint at Westminster school, young Henry went up to Christchurch at Oxford. The Bishop of Bristol wrote to Henry’s father that Henry “is very idle, and is not by anything which either his tutor or I can say to him to be prevailed with to apply himself to his studies so that there is not prospect of his improving that very small stock of learning which he brought from school’’. After this report card, Henry left Oxford without a degree, having acquired nothing but debts.

Casting around for an occupation for his feckless son, Lord Bristol hit upon the army and for £600 purchased Henry a commission as cornet in the 1st Dragoons. There, Henry’s neglect of his duties ensured a lack of advancement for a decade before he gradually moved up the ranks to become a captain, at which point his father advised him to sell off his position to pay down some of his substantial debts.

Since the military had failed to instill any discipline in Henry, the next move was to try the church. Henry accordingly took holy orders and was presented to the rectory of Shotley by his father. Henry installed a curate to take on the more tedious duties and concentrated on what he did best, spending money. He presented the church with communion cups, patens and alms dishes and expensively restored and enhanced the church.

Help was at hand. In 1744 his wife’s brother, Sir Thomas Aston, died without a son and his extensive estates came to Henry’s wife Catherine and Henry changed his name to Henry Hervey Aston. Henry died in 1748. As an obituary notice we quote a letter written by Lady Germaine, a friend of his mother’s, “Thank God too, worthless Hervey Aston is dead, which may be a means to save his son and three daughters from entire beggary’’.

While avoiding entire beggary, the son, Henry Hervey Aston (1741-1785) went on to father a son and three daughters by his wife, and a further five illegitimate children.

Catherine Jacomb

The wedding of Catherine Jacomb and Theodore Eccleston in April 1746 was a fine occasion.  Widely reported in the papers, here is the account from the London Evening Post:

Theodore Eccleston, of Crowfield in the County of Suffolk, Esq; was marry’d at Mortlake, to Miss Kitty Jacomb, of Ipswich, a Lady of great Merit, and a handsome Fortune.  The Ceremony was perform’d by the Rev. Mr. Arnold, and the Bride was led to Church by John Anstis, Esq; Garter Principal King at Arms, attended by several Gentlemen and Ladies.

A son, named Theodore, was born in 1747 and the family doubtless held out hope for a great future.  Sadly, it was not to be.  Catherine died in 1748; her young son followed in 1751, and Theodore Eccleston died in January 1753.

Catherine Jacomb was the daughter of Samuel Jacomb (1685—1757) and Flora Green (1683—1765).  Samuel and Flora appear to have had at least four children, but the others all vanish without trace and it is possible that Catherine was the only one to survive to adulthood.  Her father was a younger son of a large and flourishing London family of merchants and bankers – one brother was an MP and close to Sir Robert Walpole. Samuel Jacomb was a long-time Collector of Customs in Ipswich as well as a wine merchant (one feels these two activities may have gone well together), having before been Collector of Customs at Wisbech and Great Yarmouth. As well as collecting customs, Samuel Jacomb was an enthusiastic collector of books, and among them he subscribed to the first edition of Joshua Kirby’s Method of Perspective.

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.



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

Sir Charles Frederick

Sir Charles Frederick (1709—1785) was a subscriber to the second edition of Kirby’s Method of Perspective, and one of his sponsors for Fellow of the Royal Society. He was born in Madras, India, where his father Sir Thomas Frederick was on the council of Fort St. George (according to the DNB and Spier-Kagan) or governor of Fort St. David (according to the History of Parliament). He was educated back in England at Westminster School and New College, Oxford and then proceeded to the law, entering Middle Temple in 1728. An antiquarian with particular interests in numismatics and architecture, he joined the Society of Antiquaries in 1731 and was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733 before he was twenty-five.

In 1737 he set off for Italy and points East with his elder brother John, viewing antiquities and building up his collections. According to Spier-Kagan, they visited “Genoa, Pavia, Milan, Parma, Bologna, Florence, Rome and Venice, before going on to Constantinople and perhaps other destinations in the Near East, returning through Paris early in 1740″ (38). While in Rome in 1738, Frederick had his portrait painted by Andrea Casali.

Frederick was an accomplished draughtsman, producing numerous drawings of architecture and sculpture for the Society of Antiquaries, as well as drawing his own extensive coin collection. It was presumably his concern for draughtsmanship that accounted for his interest in Kirby’s works.

On his return to England, Frederick was elected a Member of Parliament, first for New Shoreham from 1741 to 1754 (succeeding his brother John), and then for Queenborough from 1754 to 1784. However, he was less a politician than a civil servant. In 1746, he was appointed Clerk of the Deliveries for the Board of Ordnance and in 1750 promoted to Surveyor General of the Ordnance, a post he held until 1782. He appears not to have spoken in parliament on any topic except those directly related to his work in the Ordnance department. In his capacity with the Ordnance, he was in charge of the fireworks display in Green Park in 1749 celebrating the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, for which Handel composed the ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks‘. He was made a Knight companion of the Order of the Bath in 1761.

Charles Frederick married Lucy Boscawen (1710—1784), eldest daughter of Hugh Boscawen, first Viscount Falmouth, in 1746. Together they had six children, four sons and two daughters.

When Frederick died in 1785, his will directed that his collections of books, coins, and other antiquities be sold at auction. Among the books auctioned, Frederick had Kirby’s Method of Perspective, listed as from 1754, which would make it a first edition, although he subscribed only to the second. He also had a copy of the Suffolk Traveller of 1735, a book listed as Kirby’s Perspective in 2 volumes, folio, of 1765 which really ought to be the Perspective of Architecture of 1761, as well as a copy of Thomas Malton’s Perspective from 1776, and a presentation copy of John Lodge Cowley’s Theory of Perspective of 1765.



HoP Commons: 1715—1754; 1754—1790.

Spier, Jeffrey; and Kagan, Jonathan. `Sir Charles Frederick and the forgery of ancient coins in eighteenth-century Rome’. Journal of the History of Collections
12 (1) (2000), 35—90.

Hogarth’s Disciple

Another of Paul Sandby’s satires against William Hogarth and his line of beauty in 1753 was The Analyst Besh-n in his own Taste.

Joshua Kirby is the alarmed figure on the right, identified in the caption as `a Disciple droping the Palate and Brushes thro’ concern for his Masters forlorn State’.

It is probably worth noting that none of this prevented Paul Sandby and his brother Thomas from both subscribing to Kirby’s Method of Perspective.

Kirby’s Suffolk Map

John Kirby’s 1736 map of Suffolk was embellished with 129 coats of arms of local nobility, clergy and gentry.  Here is the list, in the order they are presented on the map. The list gives a fairly comprehensive snapshot of the landed class at the time. John Blatchly’s John Kirby’s Suffolk: His Maps and Roadbooks has more detail.