Tag Archives: Framlingham

Earl of Effingham

Most of the subscribers to Kirby’s Twelve Prints and Historical Account were local Suffolk worthies, but the list does contain a few more exotic entries, such as the Earl of Effingham. One might wonder what such a grand and un-bookish personage is doing on the list. Effingham is in Surrey and the young (2d) Earl (1714—1763) was a soldier, as was his father before him. In the 1740s he was a colonel of Horse Guards, and, after inheriting the title on his father’s death in 1743, was appointed Deputy Earl Marshal of England. In 1749 he became an aide-de-camp to the king. A long way from an obscure house painter in Ipswich.

The connection lies in Kirby’s choice of monuments for his prints. Among them were the tomb of Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk, the tomb of his son-in-law, Henry Fitzroy (as the name indicates, an illegitimate son of Henry VIII), and the tomb of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. The Earls of Effingham were Howards, belonging to a cadet branch of the family, and so Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Effingham, subscribed.

It was his eldest son, Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Howard, 3rd Earl of Effingham, who resigned his commission rather than fight against the American colonists in the American Revolution, an act that led to him having a ship and two counties (in the US) named after him, but which did not prevent him from serving in his turn as Deputy Earl Marshal, nor from becoming Governor of Jamaica.

Samuel Kilderbee (1725—1813)

Samuel Kilderbee was an Ipswich lawyer, now remembered chiefly for being a life-long friend of Thomas Gainsborough. He had a successful career as an attorney, in particular representing Nathaniel Acton in many legal transactions. In 1755, during the period of political turmoil in Ipswich, he was installed as Town Clerk, a position he retained until 1767. It is unclear if the Gainsboroughs had known the Kilderbees before Gainsborough’s move to Ipswich after his London training, but it is certainly possible. The Kilderbee family had been living for several generations in Framlingham, less than five miles from where Gainsborough grew up in Wickham Market, and even closer to his birthplace. Once they did meet, they became firm friends until the end, although, as with much of Gainsborough’s life, direct evidence is scanty. From Gainsborough’s letters, we know his family visited the Kilderbees from London in the 1770’s, and Gainsborough and Kilderbee made a tour of the Lake District in 1783. Gainsborough made Kilderbee `overseer’ of the execution of his will and Kilderbee visited Gainsborough on his death-bed, where he reported that Gainsborough, “regretted the dissolute life he had led, but added, `They must take me altogether, liberal, thoughtless, and dissipated.'” William Jackson said that Gainsborough’s letters to Kilderbee were `brilliant but eccentric, and too licentious to be published’, and indeed they never were.

Early on, Gainsborough painted portraits of Kilderbee (at least twice), his wife, and one of her brothers.

Later, he painted a portrait of the Kilderbee’s son, the Rev. Samuel Kilderbee.

The Kilderbee family had some interesting naming conventions. Samuel Kilderbee’s grandfather, Francis, had married one Elizabeth, the only daughter of a Suffolk apothecary called Samuel Dover. They named their sons Dover and Samuel. In due course, Elizabeth inherited from her father, and this enabled Francis, a successful draper in Framlingham, to buy some land for his elder son to inherit in his turn. Dover went on to Cambridge and success, but died without issue, and the prosperity passed to his younger brother Samuel, who had taken on the family draper business. Samuel married Alethea Sparrow (we will hear more about the Sparrows later), and they in turn had two sons, Samuel the lawyer, and his brother John, who continued the family business into another generation. Samuel’s wife Mary was the daughter of a landowner Daniel Wayth. They had one son, the Rev. Samuel Kilderbee above, who was renowned for his wit and amusing conversation, and for living beyond his, by now quite substantial, means. Fortunately, the Rev. Samuel married a widow who could contribute to the family coffers, Caroline Waddington, daughter of Samuel Horsey. Their only son, Spencer Horsey Kilderbee, married Lady Louisa Maria Judith Rous, daughter of an Earl, and went on to be an MP under the rather splendid name of Spencer Horsey de Horsey.

Dover Kilderbee and one of the Samuels were subscribers to the first edition of Kirby’s Method of Perspective, and (a) Samuel and John subscribed to the second edition of the Suffolk Traveller.