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Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: April 20,2016


Mrs Sarah Porter’s claim to fame in the history of Tunbridge Wells dates back to the 18th century when the social activities of the town were run by Bea Nash (1674-1762) who was the Master of Ceremonies from 1735 to 1762 and also the Master of Ceremonies in Bath, Somerset.

When Beau Nash took over the running of the entertainments in Tunbridge Wells he brought Sarah Porter with him. Before 1735 Sarah Porter was working in Bath for Beau Nash where she was in charge of subscriptions for the entertainments and when she came to Tunbridge Wells she was put in charge of soliciting subscriptions for him. She is referred to in Bath in a book entitled Jane Austen’s Life which in part describes the history of The Pump Room in Bath where Sarah presided over the entertainments.

Sarah was described in an account by J. Clifford, known for his Tunbridge Wells Guides, as a woman with a shrewd memory who knew almost everything about everyone and kept a large ledger  that contained the names of people who had paid their subscriptions. She greeted every visitor to the Pantiles (also known as The Parade or The Walks), which at that time was the center of the social scene and contained the Assembly Rooms, a circulating library, taverns, hotels etc, and where music, dancing, gambling, drinking and socializing were central activities.

Sarah Porter became known as “The Queen of Touters”, a reference to Touters, an old meaning of a person who looks out, a person who touts for customers in an especially brazen way. Sarah was certainly a person who “looked out” for she would watch for anyone attending the entertainments who’s name was not in her subscription book and if not in the book would get them to pay up.

Sarah’s significance is perhaps measured by the fact that a painting of her was made by the German artist Dominicus van der Smissen (1704-1760) who near the end of his career painted in London. It was near the end of his life and Sarah’s that the painting was made, for as you can see from the image of Sarah above, she was quite elderly when she sat for the painting. The image shown of her is not the painting itself but an Amezzotint from the National Portrait Gallery who state she died in 1762 and that the engraver of this image, which was based on the Smissen painting, was William Pether (1731-abt 1795). This image has appeared in many notable publications.

A review of death records for Sarah show that she died in Tunbridge Wells in August 1762 and was buried at St May’s Church Speldhurst August 4th of that year.

This article reports on the life and times of Sarah based in great measure on accounts from many sources that make reference to her.


The early history of Tunbridge Wells has been extensively written about and many books and other publications make note of the fact that Tunbridge Wells became the place for people of high society to visit during the summer to take advantage of the fine climate, the clean air and to “take the waters’ in the Pantiles, claimed to have beneficial health properties. Although people came to the town from many places those from London, wishing to escape the smog and bad smell of the place, and to enjoy the summer, came to Tunbridge Wells in great numbers, staying in the many fine hotels and lodging houses on offer, and taking in the entertainments of which there were many available.

The Pantiles, also known as The Parade, or The Walks, became the place where people congregated. The Pantiles, the oldest commercial district in the town had in the 18th century a lot to offer visitors and for that reason became a popular meeting place for members of “high society”. Ladies in fancy gowns with  big hats and well- dressed gentlemen strutted their stuff about the place and socialized.

Apart from the fine shops where all manner of goods could be purchased, bands and orchestras provided music; there was a circulating library where books could be read and taken out; there were several fine hotels and inns where visitors could stay, and public houses where gentlemen could smoke and drink. But it was perhaps the Assembly Rooms which drew the greatest attention where for a subscription (paid to Sarah Porter) one could enjoy dancing and grand balls and gambling was very popular. Food was always on offer which visitors nibbled and gorged themselves on. There were carriage outings, walking tours and horse racing available and an assortment of other activities that brought visitors to the town each summer. It was a grand affair, captured in many etchings, prints and paintings, such as the one opposite from the 18th century.

Here is how J. Clifford, the author of various Tunbridge Wells Guides, described the social scene in the 18th century, as given in the Literary Gazette of 1828 and also given by Clifford himself in his guides. “An account by Clifford about the entertainments in Tunbridge Wells states “ The celebrated Nash, commonly called Beau Nash, the first arbiter elegantiarum of an English public place, once presided over the amusements of Tunbridge Wells, and some of its institutions yet remain in force. His portrait still adorns the Assembly Rooms. Here in the summer and at Bath in the winter, he attended with punctuality. In the season of his prosperity he would make his entrance to the Wells in his chariot, drawn by six handsome grays, preceded by two outriders, with French horns. He died at Bath in 1761, aged 88 years, and was buried in the abbey church with much pomp. The crowd at his funeral was so great, that not only the streets were filled, but the tops of the houses were covered with spectators. After this singular character, the following gentlemen officiated as Masters of Ceremonies ; Mr Collet, Mr Derrick, Mr Blake, Mr Tyson,Mr Fotheringham, Mr Amsinck, Mr Tyson, Mr Roberts, Captain Meryweather.”

“ Every person who attends to drink the water, takes a glass on his arrival, and pays what is called a ‘welcome penny’ to the dippers. He then subscribes at the libraries, which are well filled, and at the Assembly Rooms. The officiating clergyman is paid by the subscription of the company at the libraries. The organist of the chapel (King Charles the Martyr next to the Pantiles) also depends upon the liberality of those who frequent that place of worship. The musicians have a book at the rooms (Assembly Rooms), where the company contribute for their support. After a person has put down his name at each place enumerated, he may consider himself as privileged to join in the amusements of the place”

“The company generally meet on the Parade early in the morning, when the band ascends the orchestra; and after drinking the water, occasionally assemble in parties to breakfast. After this repast, it is customary to attend morning service in the chapel, and to walk, ride or read, according to their inclinations. After prayers the music re-commences, and the company again assemble on The Walks, to form distant excursions or select society. In the evening the band ascends the orchestra (the bandstand) the third time, and the evening promenade begins after which, tea-parties, card-assemblies, and attendance at the theatre or public rooms, finish the amusements of the day”

“Independent of the usual balls, Thursday evening is appropriated to a promenade, tea-drinking and ball; on which occasion there is always a full attendance of the company, as well as at the annual race-ball, which regularly takes place on the first night of the races. The Master of Ceremonies has two balls in the season, which are generally very brilliant and full. Private balls, too, are frequently given by people of fashion in the height of the season, and on these occasions elegant suppers are generally added. Here are also frequent concerts attended by the most eminent performers in London. Sometimes public breakfasts at the rooms, which are always well attended, form part of the morning amusements. The season at Tunbridge Wells being now of much longer duration than formerly, some families come as early as March or April, and may continue there till the latter end of November, particularly those who come merely for the benefit of their health, the water being considered equally beneficial in cold weather, provided it be dry, and the air, though sharp, as pure and healthy as in summer”.

The above reference continues with a description of Mrs Sarah Porter, which I give later in the section devoted to her.

For the purposes of this article I have selected three notable individuals connected to the entertainments offered in the Pantiles during the 18th century. The first is Bell (Arabella) Causey who installed herself as the Master of Ceremonies there by 1725 and who maintained her control over events there until her death in 1735. Upon her death, Beau Nash (1674-1762) took over as Master of Ceremonies of the town, a position he also held in Bath, Somerset before that time and one he maintained to the time of his death. With him in Bath and later Tunbridge Wells was Sarah Porter who was in charge of the entertainment subscriptions, and who is the central focus of this article. Given in the following sections is a brief overview of the former two with as much detail about Sarah Porter as limited space will allow.


No photographic image of Bell Causey is known to exist but she is described in accounts as a “fine but very large woman” wearing an apron. The photograph opposite is the best we have to go on. This photograph shows a painting on the wall of the Corn Exchange by Miss Julia Manning who executed the work in 1990. This image was created to visually demonstrate the history of the Corn Exchange. In this image up on the balcony are two figures. The one on the right is Beau Nash and the woman on the left is Bell Causey.

The “Bell” in Bell Causey is  believed by the researcher to be short for Arabella Causey.There is a record of an Arabella Causey born September 17,1693, the daughter of Sarah and William Causey, who was baptised at St James Church in London on September 12,1693, but accounts about the Bell Causey in Tunbridge Wells  refer to her either as Bell Causey or Mrs Bell Causey, so unfortunately nothing definite about her or her family could be found. It is known that her home base was in London and that she just appeared in Tunbridge Wells during the tourist season. It would appear likely that she was born in London. Although it is stated in various books that  died in 1735 no attribution to this statement was found and it has not been determined exactly when or where she died. If she was in fact married no information about her husband was found.  

The book ‘The Imaginary Autocrat: Beau Nash and the Invention of Bath’ by John Eglon states that “Beau Nash’s predecessor as Master of Ceremonies in Tunbridge Wells was Bell Causey, a London fruit seller who sold refreshments at Tunbridge Wells during the season…she died 1735”.

The book ‘ The English Spa 1560-1815’ by Phyllis Mary Membry 1990 states “ By 1725 Bell Causey had established herself as ‘absolute governess’ at Tunbridge Wells and conducted the gaming room for two guineas a day. When she died in 1735 Beau Nash, although over 60, became the Master of Ceremonies and continued until his death in 1761. Bell Causey was a London fruit vendor who sold refreshments at Tunbridge Wells during the season. Mrs Causey expertly flattered the social pretensions of her customers by persuading them to give entertainments, which she catered as a matter of course. Her style of social entrepreneurship was more opposite to Tunbridge’s more intimate and bucolic atmosphere than Nash’s effort to introduce grand and courtly assemblies there after her death in 1735”.

The Tunbridge Wells Guide by Jasper Sprange dated 1786 wrote “Mrs Chenerix who kept an elegant toy shop for her father has been often heard to relate the astonishing influence that Bell Causey had on the nobility and gentry, from her useful, affable, and generous behaviour; expending every shilling on her allowance in treating the company with jellies, oranges, biscuits etc.She kept a plentiful table and gave every day all that was left to the poor, by whom she was adored. When entertainment was wanted to amuse the company, or any subscription for a raffle, or a charity to be conducted, it was Bell’s constant custom to place herself at the top of the steps leading to the Walks, and as the company came from the chapel, with her apron spread in both hands, hustle them as they do chickens, to any place, and for any purpose she wanted them for, and if one spied any new-comer of rank, she immediately wished them much joy of arriving so seasonably, when there was an opportunity of their entertaining the company with a public breakfast, tea-drinking etc and so great was her influence at the Wells, that she would not suffer the great Beau Nash to have any power there while she lived, and absolutely kept him from the place till she died, when he, the very next year, attended, took the lead, and nobly and generally followed her example in promoting union, and every possible public entertainment for the company at the noted Cold Baths on Rusthall Commons, the Fish Ponds, in the Great Rooms, the Coffee Houses etc etc”.

The book ‘The Rev. Thomas Bayes (1702-1761) by J. A Holland 1962 stated in part “ In 1731 Thomas Bayes became the Presbyterian minister at the meeting house in Mount Sion Tunbridge Wells which chapel was opened in 1720. He was in Tunbridge Wells at a time when it was a centre of fashion and elegance. Most of the social activities of the town came under the direction of the Master of Ceremonies, firstly Bell Causey from 1725 to 1735, then by Beau Nash until his death in 1761.


Beau Nash was born  (as Richard Nash)in Swansea, Wales October 18,1674. He became was a celebrated dandy and leader of fashion in 18th-century Britain. He is best remembered as the Master of Ceremonies at the spa town of Bath but also became the Master of Ceremonies in Tunbridge Wells.

He attended Jesus College, Oxford, served as an army officer and was then called to the bar, but made little of either career. In 1704 he became Master of Ceremonies at the rising spa town of Bath, a position he retained until his death. He lived in a house on Saw Close (now at the main entrance to the Theatre Royal), and kept a string of mistresses. He played a leading role in making Bath the most fashionable resort in 18th-century England.

His position was unofficial, but nevertheless he had extensive influence in the city until early 1762. He would meet new arrivals to the city and judge whether they were suitable to join the select "Company' of 500 to 600 people at the centre of Bath society, match ladies with appropriate dancing partners at each ball, pay the musicians at such events, broker marriages, escort unaccompanied wives and regulate gambling (by restraining compulsive gamblers or warning players against risky games or cardsharks). He was notable for encouraging a new informality in manners, breaking down the rigid barriers which had previously divided the nobility from the middle-class patrons of Bath, and even from the gentry.

Although the Corporation of the city funded an elaborate funeral for Nash, he was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. There is a memorial to him at Bath Abbey church in Bath.

The death of Nash caused quite a stir at the time, with the celebrated author, Oliver Goldsmith being moved to write The Life of Richard Nash as early as 1762.

Nash was a notorious gambler (image opposite )who was forced to move in with his mistress, Juliana Popjoy, due to his debts. Upon his death, Juliana Popjoy was so distraught, she spent the majority of her remaining days living in a large hollowed out tree. Near her own death, she moved out of the tree and back to her birth home where she herself died.

In 1735, Nash appointed himself Master of Ceremonies in Tunbridge Wells and retained control of the entertainments provided for visitors until his death in 1762. Bath, it was said, was his kingdom, and Tunbridge Wells a colony of that kingdom. Nash had been interested in taking control at Tunbridge Wells for some years, but had been excluded by the formidable Sarah Porter, 'Queen of the Touters', who eagerly pursued defaulters. Under Nash, Tunbridge Wells attained the height of its fame as a fashionable resort, attended by royalty, nobility, and the most famous names in the country. It is notable that there is a pub in Tunbridge Wells named after Beau Nash himself, whilst The Ragged Trousers exhibits a plaque on the exterior of the building in Nash's honor.


Details about the birth and family live of Sarah are lacking. She is referred to in accounts and other sources as either Sarah Porter or Mrs Sarah Porter. About the only definitive information about her is that she died in 1762 and a burial record for a Sarah Porter was found for August 4,1762 at St Mary’s Church in Speldhurst.

Shown opposite is a print made in 1804 of The Pantiles for Richard Phillips which I researched and wrote about in my article ‘The 1748 Engraving of the Parade’ dated March 11,2016. The original engraving was by Thomas Loggan who had a shop in the Pantiles and was an engraver and fan painter. He is shown in this image as the little man (dwarf) as #22. The gentleman at #7 is Beau Nash, and the woman beside Loggan at #23 is listed as “The Woman of the Wells”. It is the researchers opinion that this woman refers to Sarah Porter.

The image of Sarah  that I presented in the overview was based on a painting by the German painter Dominicus Van De Smissen (1704-1760) who near the end of his life worked in London. The exact date of when this painting was executed is not known but obviously Sarah was quite elderly at the time she sat for the portrait. If one speculates that she was about age 80 at the time then she must have been born circa 1682, possible in Bath, Somerset,for the painting would have to been made sometime between 1755-1760. Details about the artist is given below and shown opposite is a self -portrait of him. The original painting by him of Sarah is reported to be  at the British Portrait Gallery but was not available online to view online.

Dominicus van der Smissen: an artist, was born at Altona, Germany on April 28,1704, a son of Hinrich van der Smissen. He was a pupil of Balthasar Denner, whose sister Catharina he married in 1730. Little is known about his life. Dominicus died on 6 January 1760. His self portrait is shown opposite.

Dominicus was active as an artist at Dresden, Braunschweig, Amsterdam, and London, in addition to Hamburg-Altona. He died in 1760. Lichtwark says that a generation ago a number of his works of art were in the possession of families in Hamburg: some landscapes, portraits, and still lifes, which have become very scarce. The Kunsthalle of Hamburg possesses a considerable number of his works, including a Self Portrait (Catalog, No. 432), Portrait of the Senator and Poet B. H. Brockes (34), Portrait of the Poet Hagedorn (41), Portrait of Dr. Vincent Rumpf (165), Portrait of a Hamburg Mayor (167), Portrait of the Wife of the Mayor (166), Portrait of a Captain (433), Still Life (434), and Hinrich I van der Smissen, "The City Builder." Dominicus also painted Meta Moller, Klopstock's first wife. All the above are oil paintings. As a rule van der Smissen closely followed Denner's style, although he portrays forms of the body in greater detail. Additional paintings of his are found in Braunschweig and in private possession. The Bethel College Historical Library has colored slides and black and white reproductions of most of his works.

The image of Sarah in the ‘Overview’ although based on the painting by Smissen is a Amezzoltint stated to be from the 1750s’ to 1760’s and is in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery. This gallery states that the engraver of this image was William Pether (1731-abt 1795) and below this image is printed along with the title “Sarah Porter The Queen of Touters Tunbridge Wells” , “Vander Smissen Pixxit” as the original artist.

The Dictionary of National Biography is stated as the source of the following account of William Pether given in Wikipedia. From the same source is a self -portrait of him shown opposite.  “William Pether (1738?–1821) was an English mezzotint engraver.He was born at Carlisle about 1738, and became a pupil of Thomas Frye, with whom he entered into partnership in 1761.Pether was a fellow of the Incorporated Society of Artists, and contributed to its exhibitions paintings, miniatures, and engravings from 1764 to 1777. He was also an occasional exhibitor with the Free Society and the Royal Academy. He had many pupils, including Henry Edridge and Edward Dayes. He often changed his residence from London to the provinces and back again; and gradually sank into obscurity and neglect.At the beginning of the 19th century Pether appears to have settled at Bristol, where he made a living as a drawing-master and picture-cleaner; and there he engraved portraits of Edward Colston the philanthropist, after Jonathan Richardson the Elder, and Samuel Syer, the historian of Bristol (1816). Pether died in Montague Street, Bristol, on 19 July 1821, aged 82 or 83, having long been forgotten in the art world.In 1762 he engraved Frye's portrait of George III in three sizes, and during the following fifteen years executed engravings after English, Dutch, and Italian masters, especially Rembrandt and Joseph Wright of Derby, with strong effects of light and shade. His plates of The Jewish Bride, 1763, Jewish Rabbi, 1764, Officer of State, 1764, and Lord of the Vineyard, 1766, after Rembrandt, and A Lecture on the Orrery, 1768, Drawing from the Gladiator, 1769, The Hermit, 1770, and The Alchymist, 1775, after Wright, were noted as mezzotint work. Pether engraved altogether about fifty plates, some of which were published by John Boydell, but the majority by himself at various addresses in London.Pether was also a miniaturist, and painted some life-sized portraits in oil, three of which—Sarah Bates the singer, the brothers Smith of Chichester, and himself in Spanish dress—he also engraved. In 1777 he sent his own portrait with the disguised title, Don Mailliw Rehtep.His last plate published in London is dated 1793, and he exhibited at the Royal Academy for the last time in 1794.

From this book  ‘Jane Austen’s Life’ is the following account pertaining the Pump Room at Bath,Somerset that refers to Sarah Porter.  “Once new arrivals had added their names to the book, the Master of Ceremonies would then know they were in town and it was time to pay a visit of ceremony to them, to inform them of the ways of Bath, should they not know of them. Having consulted this book the names of the new arrivals would also be published in the Bath newspapers. The book was kept in the early 18th century by the redoubtable Sarah Porter, shown below,who was known for her uncanny ability to ambush new arrivals to town to ensure that their names were entered in the book(and her tip was received ).Putting ones name in the Subscription Book could also involve the outlay of serious money, for putting ones name there also “entitled ” you to subscribe to the Assemblies and concerts in the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms, and also to the circulating libraries and bookshops.” The image referred to in this account is shown opposite and a photo of the 1797 Pump Room is also shown.

It is known from accounts about Beau Nash that when he took over as Master of Ceremonies of Tunbridge Wells in 1735 that he brought Sarah Porter from Bath to the town to take charge of subscriptions to his entertainments.

Earlier in this article I presented a quotation by J. Clifford that appeared in The Literary Gazette of 1828 that also appeared in Clifford’s own guides of Tunbridge Wells (1834). Within that source was the following “ Mr Clifford concludes his volume with some local bon-mots and anecdotes; the only one of which that is not an old acquaintance we copy “ Several individuals of great oddity have arrived at Tunbridge Wells. Amongst these it would be unpardonable not to notice the memorable Mrs Sarah Porter, called the ‘Queen of the Touters’. This singular character was well known to all the visitors till within the year 1762; and was first introduced here by the celebrated Beau Nash, for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions for him. She pretended to known the fathers, mothers, uncles,aunts,etc of every person of distinction, whom she suffered not to escape from her importunity. She had a shrewd memory, and could recollect or forget whatever was for her interest. It was her custom to stand at the ballroom door, and make some thousand courtseys in a day. She had not the least inclination to trust; and if any individual did not immediately subscribe to her, she would take her book, pen and ink in her hand, and follow the person all round the room, when it was full of company, which often made many of them very angry; but repremanding her was never known to put her out of humour, or make her uncivil. The boys would often tease her, by telling her that two or three gentlemen, who they believed were foreigners, had slipped by her up the Parade, at which she would show the utmost anxiety, and being asked why are you so uneasy, they’ll soon be back again ?-she would answer –‘I don’t know that; for I have known more than one drop down dead before returning, and many that have slipped quite away’. She valued herself much upon her intrepidity, and not giving up anything; and an ingenious, droll American parson, who made himself very affable with her, obtained from her many laughable and singular secrets, as well as some curious anecdotes of her life. A print of this strange person was made after a fine picture of Vander Missen; and the only one now remaining is in the possession of the compiler and publisher of this guide”.

So what is a “Touters”- Dictionaries state that a touter is a person who is a look out, a person who touts for customers, someone who advertises for customers in an especially brazen way, a person who seeks customers. It is also stated that  Tooting, a district in South London derives its name from an old meaning of the verb  tout (to look out) for there were guard towers there where look outs were stationed. Sarah Porter was obviously not backward about coming forward at the amusements in Tunbridge Wells and made every effort in her power to seek out, sign up and collect the subscription fees for the events organized on behalf of her employer Beau Nash. From the image of her she looked like a person you did not want to cross and someone who took her work seriously.

The book I referred to earlier about The Rev. Thomas Bayes stated “Beau Nash persuaded the formidable Sarah Porter to come from Bath and organize ‘touting’ and to enlist subscribers for the assembly rooms”.

Shown opposite is a photograph recently listed for sale on eBay under “ephemeria 1974 Kent” with the caption “ Beau Nash, Hugh Reynolds, Sarah Porter, Tunbridge Wells”. What this image pertains to was not established but it appears to be a re-enactment of the 18th century  in Tunbridge Wells.

The image of Sarah that appeared in the account if her activities in Bath that I gave earlier is referred to by The National Trust Collection and they say of it that is was based on the painting by Smissen and gave a description of the image and that it was an “Oval”. This suggests that the original painting of her was in an oval and that the etching , although the same as the  painting was not reproduced as an oval. It is known from looking at other examples of Smissen’s work that he did paintings in oval and other formats. The Nation Trust also states that the book she is holding is entitled “Ladies Subscriptions” and that in the book are the names of subscribers amongst them that of Pether, which must be a reference to Mrs Pether the wife of William Pether who made the engraving of Sarah, indicating that William and his wife were visitors to Tunbridge Wells and used to partake in the entertainments. This no doubt is how Pether came to known Sarah Porter and that from their meeting the etching he did of her was initiated.

Many books can be found repeating the information I have given and the image of her. With this I end my coverage of the topic.  Sarah Porter and for that matter Bell Causey and Beau Nash were fascinating and colourful characters during the 18th century social life of Tunbridge Wells.





Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: March 11,2016


Several interesting engravings have been made of Tunbridge Wells dating  back to the early 18th century, such as the one presented in this article from a 1748 drawing by Thomas Loggan from which an engraving was later made and appeared in a 1804 book by Sir Richard Phillips from a print in the possession of Samuel Richardson. The originator of this engraving was a dwarf by the name of Thomas Loggan, who is the little fella under the canopy to the immediate left of the image which I present later in this article. Shown above,for comparison purposes,  is an image of the Pantiles showing that part of the Pantiles in the vicinity of the 1748 drawing by Loggan.

The print, which is the subject of this article, is referred variously as having been a “drawing” or “painted” by Loggan but it is clear that this work began as a sketch by Loggan .It was then turned into a final drawing , then engraved and prints made. An example of it appeared in a publication by novelist Richard Phillips  of “Richardson’s Correspondence” May 20,1804, and has appeared in other publications since, including the book entitled ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells’ by Roger Farthing (1990). The original, as stated in an 1829 account, “is in the possession of Sir Richard Phillips” and “ a copy of it was found among the papers of Samuel Richardson upon his death in 1761”.

The engraving itself shows an assemblage of notable characters in Tunbridge Wells in the Pantiles (or The Parade as it was called then). The text listing the numbered people in the image appears in some copies in the hand writing of the novelist Richard Phillips. Later versions of it present the legend in printed form. Like many old prints, different versions of it can be found. In this case there are three in black and white and two in full colour, produced on different dates.

This article presents the various versions of this print showing The Parade in 1748; details about its production and some information about the key characters shown in the etching and a description of the town in 1748 by Samuel Richardson and another from 1829 that appeared in ‘The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, And Instruction that year. The latter reference is given in its entirety in the next section for it provides perhaps the best or one of the best accounts of the engraving.

Note in the 1748 image above that the lettering below the figures in is bold white. In the same image presented later that I referred to as being plate 51 from Roger Farthings book the numbers below the figures are in small black numbers. As you will see from this article there are a large number of variations of this image, and although produced from the same original image have been altered by subsequent printings.


Given in this section in its entirety is a view of the 1748 image and related text as given in ‘The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, And Instruction’ Vol XIV. No. 383 dated Saturday August 1,1829.

If one closely examines this image and compares it to others, you will note that it differs in some respects. Note that some of the characters and parts of the buildings on the left side of other images are not in this version, although figures 22 and 23 not shown in it are referred to in the legend. Also note the difference in the wording on the post office sign; the sky and the trees and buildings on the right hand side of the image.

Given below this image in the source document is the following;

References to the Characters in the Engraving.

1. Dr. Johnson.—2. Bishop of Salisbury (Dr. Gilbert.)—3. Lord Harcourt.—4. Cotley Cibber.—5. Mr. Garrick.—6. Mrs. Frasi, the singer.—7. Mr. Nash.—8. Miss Chudleigh (Duchess of Kingston.)—9. Mr. Pitt (Earl of Chatham.)—10. A. Onslow, Esq. (the Speaker.)—11. Lord Powis.—12. Duchess of Norfolk.—13. Miss Peggy Banks—14. Lady Lincoln—15. Mr. (afterwards Lord) Lyttleton.—16. The Baron (a German gamester.)—17. Samuel Richardson.—18. Mrs. Onslow.—20. Mrs. Johnson (the Doctor's wife.)—21. Mr. Whiston—22. Loggan, the artist.—23. Woman of the Wells.

Tunbridge, or as old folks still call it, "the Wells," was a gay, anecdotical resort of the last century, and about as different from the fashionable haunts of the present, as St. James's is to Russel Square, or an old English mansion to the egg-shell architecture of yesterday. In its best days, it was second only to Bath, and little did its belles and beaux dream of the fishified village of Brighthelmstone, in the adjoining county, spreading to a city, and being docked of its syllabic proportions to the Brighton of ears polite.

The annexed Engraving represents Tunbridge Wells about 80 years ago, or in the year 1748. It is copied from a drawing which belonged to Samuel Richardson, the novelist, and was found among his papers at his death in 1761. The original is in the possession of Sir Richard Phillips, who published Richardson's Correspondence, in 1804; it contains portrait figures of all the celebrated characters who were at Tunbridge Wells, in August, 1748, at which time Richardson was likewise there, and beneath the drawing is the above key, or the names of the characters, in the hand-writing of the novelist.

But the pleasantest illustration that we can supply is the following extract from one of Richardson's Letters to Miss Westcomb, which represents the gaiety and flirtation of the place in very attractive colours. At this time Richardson was at Tunbridge Wells for the benefit of his health; but he says, "I had rather be in a desert, than in a place so public and so giddy, if I may call the place so from its frequenters. But these waters were almost the only thing in medicine that I had not tried; and, as my disorder seemed to increase, I was willing to try them. Hitherto, I must own, without effect is the trial. But people here, who slide in upon me, as I traverse the outermost edges of the walks, that I may stand in nobody's way, nor have my dizziness increased by the swimming triflers, tell me I shall not give them fair play under a month or six weeks; and that I ought neither to read nor write; yet I have all my town concerns upon me here, sent me every post and coach, and cannot help it. Here are great numbers of people got together. A very full season, and more coming every day—Great comfort to me."

"What if I could inform you, that among scores of belles, flatterers, triflers, who swim along these walks, self-satisfied and pleased, and looking defiances to men (and to modesty, I had like to have said; for bashfulness seems to be considered as want of breeding in all I see here); a pretty woman is as rare as a black swan; and when one such starts up, she is nicknamed a Beauty, and old fellows and young fellows are set a-spinning after her."

"Miss Banks (Miss Peggy Banks) was the belle when I came first down—yet she had been so many seasons here, that she obtained but a faint and languid attention; so that the smarts began to put her down in their list of had-beens. New faces, my dear, are more sought after than fine faces. A piece of instruction lies here—that women should not make even their faces cheap."

"Miss Chudleigh next was the triumphant toast: a lively, sweet-tempered, gay, self-admired, and not altogether without reason, generally-admired lady—she moved not without crowds after her. She smiled at every one. Every one smiled before they saw her, when they heard she was on the walk. She played, she lost, she won—all with equal good-humour. But, alas, she went off, before she was wished to go off. And then the fellows' hearts were almost broken for a new beauty."

"Behold! seasonably, the very day that she went away entered upon the walks Miss L., of Hackney!—Miss Chudleigh was forgotten (who would wish for so transient a dominion in the land of fickledom!)—And have you seen the new beauty?—And have you seen Miss L.? was all the inquiry from smart to smartless. But she had not traversed the walks two days, before she was found to want spirit and life. Miss Chudleigh was remembered by those who wished for the brilliant mistress, and scorned the wifelike quality of sedateness—and Miss L. is now seen with a very silly fellow or two, walking backwards and forwards unmolested—dwindled down from the new beauty to a very quotes [pg 67] pretty girl; and perhaps glad to come off so. For, upon my word, my dear, there are very few pretty girls here."

"But here, to change the scene, to see Mr. W——sh at eighty (Mr. Cibber calls him papa), and Mr. Cibber at seventy-seven, hunting after new faces; and thinking themselves happy if they can obtain the notice and familiarity of a fine woman!—How ridiculous!—If you have not been at Tunbridge, you may nevertheless have heard that here are a parcel of fellows, mean traders, whom they call touters, and their business, touting—riding out miles to meet coaches and company coming hither, to beg their custom while here."

"Mr. Cibber was over head and ears in love with Miss Chudleigh. Her admirers (such was his happiness!) were not jealous of him; but, pleased with that wit in him which they had not, were always for calling him to her. She said pretty things—for she was Miss Chudleigh. He said pretty things—for he was Mr. Cibber; and all the company, men and women, seemed to think they had an interest in what was said, and were half as well pleased as if they had said the sprightly things themselves; and mighty well contented were they to be secondhand repeaters of the pretty things. But once I faced the laureate squatted upon one of the benches, with a face more wrinkled than ordinary with disappointment 'I thought,' said I, 'you were of the party at the tea-treats—Miss Chudleigh has gone into the tea-room.'—'Pshaw!' said he, 'there is no coming at her, she is so surrounded by the toupets.'—And I left him upon the fret—But he was called to soon after; and in he flew, and his face shone again, and looked smooth."

"Another extraordinary old man we have had here, but of a very different turn; the noted Mr. Whiston, showing eclipses, and explaining other phaenomena of the stars, and preaching the millennium, and anabaptism (for he is now, it seems, of that persuasion) to gay people, who, if they have white teeth, hear him with open mouths, though perhaps shut hearts; and after his lecture is over, not a bit the wiser, run from him, the more eagerly to C——r and W——sh, and to flutter among the loud-laughing young fellows upon the walks, like boys and girls at a breaking-up."

"Your affectionate and paternal friend and servant, S. RICHARDSON."

Richardson has mentioned only a few of the characters introduced in the Engraving. Johnson was at that time but in his fortieth year, and much less portly than afterwards. Cibber is the very picture of an old beau, with laced hat and flowing wig; half-a-dozen of his pleasantries were worth all that is heard from all the playwrights and actors of our day—on or off the stage: Garrick too, probably did not keep all his fine conceits within the theatre. Nos. 7, 8, and 9, in the Engraving, are a pretty group: Miss Chudleigh (afterwards Duchess of Kingston,) between Beau Nash and Mr. Pitt (Earl of Chatham,) both of whom are striving for a side-long glance at the sweet tempered, and as Richardson calls her, "generally-admired" lady. No. 17, Richardson himself is moping along like an invalid beneath the trees, and avoiding the triflers. Mrs. Johnson is widely separated from the Doctor, but is as well dressed as he could wish her; and No. 21, Mr. Whiston is as unexpected among this gay crowd as snow in harvest. What a coterie of wits must Tunbridge have possessed at this time: what assemblies and whistparties among scores of spinsters, and ogling, dangling old bachelors; with high-heeled shoes, silken hose, court hoops, embroidery, and point ruffles—only compare the Tunbridge parade of 1748 with that of 1829.

We have room but for a brief sketch of Tunbridge Wells. The Springs, or the place itself, is a short distance from the town of Tunbridge. The discovery of the waters was in the reign of James I. Henrietta Maria, Queen of Charles I. staid here six weeks after the birth of the prince, afterwards Charles II.; but, as no house was near, suitable for so great a personage, she and her suite remained under tents pitched in the neighbourhood. The Wells, hitherto called Frant, were changed to Queen's Mary's Wells: both have given place to Tunbridge Wells; though the springs rise in the parish of Speldhurst.

Waller, in his Lines to Saccharissa,  1 celebrates the Tunbridge Waters; and Dr. Rowzee  2 wrote a treatise on their virtues. During the civil wars, the Wells were neglected, but on the Restoration they became more fashionable than ever.  3 Hence may be dated assembly [pg 68] rooms, coffee houses, bowling greens, &c.; about which time, to suit the caprice of their owners, many of the houses were wheeled upon sledges: a chapel  4 and a school were likewise erected. The accommodations have been progressively augmented; and the population has greatly increased. The trade of the place consists chiefly in the manufacture of the articles known as Tunbridge-ware. The Wells have always been patronized by the royal family; and are still visited by some of their branches.

Our Engraving represents the Upper, or principal walk, where are one of the assembly rooms, the post-office, Tunbridge-ware, milliners, and other shops, with a row of spreading elms on the opposite side. It is not uninteresting to notice the humble style of the shops, and the wooden portico and tiled roofs, in the Engraving, and to contrast them with the ornamental shop-architecture of our days: yet our forefathers, good old souls, thought such accommodations worthy of their patronage, and there was then as much gaiety at Tunbridge Wells as at Brighton in its best days.


Shown opposite is a second version of the image. This one appeared as plate 51 in Roger Farthings 1990 book entitled ‘Tunbridge Wells’. The text with this image stated “ This famous print purports to show Pantiles’ personalities in 1748, in the summer of Nash’s reign. Notice Thomas Loggan, the dwarf, who painted the picture, on the left under the colonnade”. Along the top edge of this image is written “ The remarkable characters who were at Tunbridge Wells with Richardson in 1748 from a drawing in his possession with references in his own hand writing”. Just below the legend is given “Printed 20th May 1804 for Richard Phillips No. 71 St Paul’s Church Yard”.

If you compare this image to the one above there are several differences. Study the two closely and you will find them, such as the post office sign, the sky, buildings and trees on the right side etc. There are many others! Note that it states the references are in “Richardsons hand writing”, for some references(1829) indicate that the hand writing is that of Richard Phillips.

Shown opposite is a third version of the image. This one is very similar to the one above except on the bottom left side is given in hand writing “ Copyright H.G. Groves The Pantiles Post Office” and in the middle is the title “The Pantiles 1748”. The H.G. Groves referred to was Henry Gabriel Groves (1855-1922). At the time of the 1881 census he was living in Portsea, Hampshire. At the time of the 1891 census he was in Tunbridge Wells at 19 Eridge Road, a single man, working as a bookseller and stationer. By 1899 he had premises at 12,14, and 16 Ye Pantiles, where No. 16 was the post office and 12-14 was his bookseller/stationers shop. He died in Tunbridge Wells at 42 The Pantiles on May30,1922. From this one can date the Pantiles image to no earlier than 1891.

The image opposite is exactly the same as the one in Roger Farthings book except for the legend which in this image is printed and not hand written and below it is printed “ The Remarkable Characters who were at Tunbridge Wells with Samuel Richardson, the Novelist, in 1748 from a Drawing in his Possession”. This illustration is from The Illustrated Papers Collection with the artist given as “English School (19th century)” an engraving “Illustrated for The Graphic June 11,1881”. The  seller of this image gave the following information about the people in the image “ Remarkable Characters Tunbridge Wells-Samuel Richardson, novelist 1748-Drawing procession Dr Johnson Bishop of Salisbury; Dr Gilbert; Lord Harcourt; Mr Colley Cibber; Mr Garrick; Mrs Trafi, singer; Mr Nash; Miss Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston; Mr Pitt, Earl of Chatham; Mr. A. Onslow, Speaker; Lord Powis; Duchess of Norfolk; Miss Peggy Banks; Lady Lincoln; Mr Lyttelton, Lord Lyttelton; Baron German Gamster; Mr Samuel Richardson; Mrs Onslow; Miss Onslow; Mrs Jophnson Dr’s wife; Mr Whiston; Loggan, artist”.  The Mr Nash referred to was Richard Beau Nash, Master of Ceremonies at Bath since 1795, who established himself in the same role in Tunbridge Wells in 1735. He came with a flourish each year and stayed a short whole. He and Thomas Loggan were friends and the pair of them ended up later in Bath where Loggan continued his artistic work.

Shown opposite is a full colour version of the print in the collection of the British Museum. This one has handwritten text. The Museum states in the text associated with this image that “it is in the handwriting of Richardson from a drawing in his own possession “ Their description states “Tunbridge Wells, the Upper Walks,; view looking north east, group of figures Dr Johnson, Garrick and the Earl of Chatham and Loggan (short figure at extreme left) with the Pantiles colonnade, including John Todd’s Post Office and Evan’s Coffee House to the left, to right is a tree border along the Lower Walk, 1804. A Hand-coloured aquatint and etching. Lettered above image with title, and below with key to figures numbered 1-23, some in a reproduction of Richardson’s handwriting and publication line “Printed 20th May 1804 for Richard Phillips No. 71 St Paul’s Church Yard”. The curator’s comments were “ See 1958,0712.5 for related drawing. The print is on a paper backing, with the imprint of figures and handwriting on the verso, and noted at right “See Mrs Bartauld’s ‘Life and letters of Saml. Richardson’ for verso of this plate”.

Shown opposite is a second colour print. Note in particular the significant difference in colour of the sky and other color differences. This image is from the H. Beard Print Collection at  the V&A Museum. Compare this also to the black and white versions.

THOMAS LOGGAN (1706-1780)

As noted above the drawf identified in the legend of the prints (no. 22) is “Loggan the artist”. This is Thomas Loggan, a portrait of whom is at the British Museum. Roger Farthing identifies Loggan as “Thomas Loggan who painted the picture, on the left under the colonnade”.

Shown opposite is a painting of the Pantiles by Thomas Loggan (1706-1780), a gouache on paper laid down measuring 8” by 9-5/8”. Ian Beavis of the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery had this to say about the painting “According to Ian Beavis, Collections Management Officer at Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery : 'This painting is almost certainly an original souvenir painting by miniaturist and fan-painter Thomas Loggan, who worked at Tunbridge Wells in the 1740s and produced many views of this nature for sale to visitors. It depicts the Pantiles which was the centre for 'taking the waters', organised entertainments and general socialising.”

John Briton’s Descriptive Sketches of Tunbridge Wells dated 1832 gives in part information about Beau Nash and says “ Logan or Loggan, who made the drawing (1748), and whose portrait is introduced, was a fan-painter, who for some years, kept a shop at the south end of the Walk (The Parade/Pantiles). He was an odd diminutive figure, but a sensible, honest, and ingenious man. From his window he could view the company; and he was in the habit of delineating such remarkable characters as appeared amongst the groups on his fans, so as to be immediately recognized by their forms. He had been dwarf to the Prince and Princess of Wales.His character, good sense, jokes,and reportees , were long remarked at the Hotwells, Bristol, where he afterwards lived and where he died much respected”.

The Hotwells referred to is a district of the English port city if Bristol located to the south and below the high ground of Clifton. Hotwells was a friendly rival to Bath as a Georgian spa town and in its heyday was crowded with nobility and gentry.

A second good source of information about Thomas Loggan is found in the book ‘English Verse 1701-1750 by Steve Weissman, based on the scholarship of D.F. Foxon who produced a bibliography of early 18th century English poetry. Within this book is reference to two poems by H. Carpenter dated 1748, one of which was entitled “Advice to Thomas Loggan,the dwarf fan painter at Tunbridge Wells” (8 pages). “In this poem on fashionable society as seen in Tunbridge Wells the artist Thomas Loggan is urged by the poet to paint a true picture.Many inhabitants of the world of Beau Nash are identified in the poem by initials only, but the full names can be found in an annotated copy at the Bodleian. Thomas Loggon or Loggan, was born at Great Grimbsby, Lincolshire Christmas Day 1706. At the age of 22 he was just over four feet tall. He became the court dwarf to the Prince and Princess of Wales, in whose company he may have been introduced to fan painting by Joseph Goupy, who had studied with Kneller and was a fashionable portrait painter and miniaturist. In the 1730’s Loggan established shops at both Bath and Tunbridge Wells, where he painted togographical fans and views,often portraying well-known visitors on commissions or selling them as souvenirs. He later diversified into bookselling, book binding, selling chocolates, and running a circulating library at the Georgian spa in Hotwells, near Clifton. He died at some time before 1780.”  The book referred to from 1748 containing the poem(s) is shown in its original form on the internet, which can be read online, credits H. Carpenter as the printer of the book and that he was of Fleet Street. The second poem in the book was entitled “Table Talk”.

Several books make only a passing reference to Thomas Loggan, most often as a fan painter with birth and deaths dates given variously as (1706-bef 1780) (1706-c1780) (1706-1788).Southerby Auctions, who recently sold a drawing by Thomas Loggan gave his dates as (1706-1780). A search for his will or confirmation of his date of death did not produce reliable results. There was a baptism record for a Thomas Loggan on December 25,1706 at St James Church, Great Grimsby, Lincolshire, giving his parents as Doxon and Mary Loggan. Shown above is a view of St James Church dated 1780.

The comments about Thomas Loggan given above by Weissman are supported from other sources. A book entitled ‘Libraries in England to 1850 lists for Bristol “Loggans circulating library 1756”. Chilcotts New Guide to Bristol refers to “ engravings by Loggan” but this is most likely a reference to David Loggan (1634-1692) an English baroque engraver, draftsman and painter. There are several other references to David Loggan, such as Wikipedia  and the Dictionary of National Biography for those interested. I could find no genealogical information or other references that link Thomas Loggan to David Loggan  or to another engraver of the same era called John Loggan, but it is the opinion of the researcher that there is likely a family relationship between them.

Shown here are two fans painted by Thomas Loggan. Both of them were made by him during his time in Bath, one of them being a view of North Parade Bath circa 1750.The text associated with these fan paintings states that one of them shows Beau Nash and his company promenading by the river and that “Thomas Loggan, the celebrated and drawer and painter is shown in this view on the right, and that Thomas Loggan often inserted his image in the paintings he did”.

There is a 1763 advertisment for a Thomas Linley junior (1756-1778) who was putting on a concert. The advertisement appeared in Boddely’s Bath Journal of July 25,1763 in which it was announced that Linley was putting on the concert “ at Loggans Room at the Hotwells on the 29th inst”.

The book ‘A Ring from a Marquess’ by Christine Mearill (2015) stated “Thomas Loggan who died in 1788 was a dwarf to the Prince and Princess of Wales, a curious title, but not his most interesting claim to fame. He was also a designer and painter of fans doing much of his work in Bath,Somerset and often painting himself in the pictures that demonstrated his work”.

The book ‘Art, Artisons and Apprentices’ by James Ayres (2014) states “ Another limner, and a contemporary of Robins, was Thomas Loggan who, like Richard Gibson before him had previously been a court dwarf. Loggan worked in both Bath and Tunbridge Wells as a fan and miniature painter. His view of Tunbridge Wells (1748) was engraved much later by Richard Phillips and published in 1804. This image is equipped with numbered identifications of the individuals portrayed in this general view of the spa. They include William Pitt the Elder, Samuel Johnson, Colley Gibber, and Bea Nash who spent part of each year at his “colony” Tunbridge Wells when not presiding over the Assembly Rooms in Bath. At No. 22 on the far left is Mr Loggan the artist.The following year in 1749 Loggan who created the View of the North Parade in Bath, suggests that he (Loggan) may have accompanied Beau Nash in his journeys between the two spas…..”

Two other references to Loggan are given in Roger Fathings book. The first shown left is circa 1772 showing a painting similar to that of 1772 by Richard Samuel for which Farthing states “ The building at the far end used to be the home of Loggan the artist”. Shown right is a 1793 painting by J. Green “which may be compared with the 1740 jacket illustration by Thomas Loggan…The colonnade on the left seems to have been glazed in Loggan’s time”.

For those interested in reading more about the history of The Walks/ The Parade/ Pantiles as it was known variously over time, I would recommend ‘The Pantiles Royal Tunbridge Wells’ (2014) by Philip Whitbourn issued by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society as Occasional Paper No. 3.  On pages 24 and 25 of this publication appears the  print of Tunbridge Wells in 1748 with the legend both hand-written and printed out for clarity . On pg 16 there is reference to “Loggan’s picture of the Pantiles in 1748 directing readers to see pgs 24 and 25. Pgs 22-23 provide some interesting information about the numbered figures in the print but offers no information about Thomas Loggan himself. Where in the Pantiles Loggan had his shop was not mentioned and the researcher was not able to establish this detail specifically either from a review of available records. However one can only presume that it was in one of the shops shown to the left of the print about where Thomas Loggan was standing which would place it at the far south end of the Pantiles in the area between No. 60 and 72 Pantiles. A similar view of this part of the Pantiles  is given in Kips 1719 pint.


Samuel Richardson is referred to in connection with the 1748 image in references as having been in possession of the 1748 drawing that belonged to him and was found in his papers upon his death in 1761. He is shown in the print as No. 17 and listed in the legend.

He was a novelist born in Derbyshire in 1689,the son of a London joiner. He received little formal education. He apprenticed 1706 to a stationer in London. In 1719 he set up business as a stationer and printer in Fleet Street, and became one of the leading figures in the London trade. As a printer his output included political writings, such as the Troy periodical ‘The True Briton’, the newspapers, ‘Daily Journal’ (1724-37) and ‘Daily Gazateer’ (1735-46), together with twenty-six volumes of the ‘Jornals’ of the House of Commons and general law printing.

In 1753 Samuel married  Martha Wilde, daughter of an Aldersgate printer and later married  Elizabeth Leake, sister of James Leake, a bookseller at Bath. Samuel had twelve children with his two wifes.

His literary career began when two booksellers proposed that  he should compile a volume of model letters for unskilled letter writers. While preparing this, Richardson became fascinated by the project, and a small sequence of letters from a daughter in service.asking her father’s advice when threatened by her master’s advances, formed the germ of ‘Pamela’ , or ‘Virtue Rewarded’ (1740-1741). ‘Pamela’ became a huge success and became something of a cult novel. His masterpiece ‘Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady’, one of the greatest European novels was published in 1747-8. Richardsons last novel. ‘the History of Sir Charles Grandison’, appeared in 1753-4. His writings brought him great personal acclaim and a coterie of devoted admirers who like to discuss with him the moral aspects of the action in the novels. He later lived in Salisbury Court, London, where he lived for the rest of his life. He died in 1761 and was buried in St Bride’s Church, London.


Sir Richard Phillips published the correspondence of Samuel Richardson in 1804 and in that publication appeared the image of The Walk by Thomas Loggan from his 1748 drawing. It is from him that the date of printing of the image is given as May 20,1804. The researcher credits him as the person who transformed the hand-written legend at the bottom of the print into the printed version shown on prints from 1804 onward.

Given below is an account about him from the website Wikepedia, which is also the source of the image of him and his grave. 
Sir Richard Phillips (13 December 1767 – 2 April 1840) was an English schoolteacher, author and publisher.Phillips was born in London, the son of a Leicestershire farmer. Following some political difficulties in Leicester where he was a schoolteacher and bookseller, he returned to London, established premises in Paternoster Row, St. Paul's Churchyard, and founded The Monthly Magazine in 1796; its editor was Dr. John Aikin, and among its early contributors were fellow radicals William Godwin and Thomas Holcroft. He built up a prominent fortune based on the speculative commission of newly revised textbooks and their publication, in a competitive market that had been freed by the House of Lords' decision in 1777 to strike down the perpetual copyright asserted by a small group of London booksellers to standard introductory works. His Juvenile Library published in 1800–03 provided the steady returns of all successful children's books. By 1807 he was in sufficient standing to serve as a Sheriff of London, at which time he was knighted on the occasion of presenting an address.

Phillips overextended himself and was declared bankrupt in the Bank Panic. He died in Brighton and is buried in the western extension of St Nicholas' Churchyard (photo opposite). He was a vegetarian.

He was the author, under his own name, of On the Powers and Duties of Juries, and on the Criminal Laws of England, 1811; A Morning's Walk from London to Kew, 1817; A Personal Tour Through the United Kingdom, 1828.

Many of his further works were published under at least five pseudonyms. His own political leanings, evinced in Golden Rules of Social Philosophy, Or, A New System of Practical Ethics (1826) encouraged him to publish works by the radical jobbing writer of educational texts, Jeremiah Joyce, though often under pseudonymous disguises; Rees and Britten asserted in their Reminiscences of Literary London that many works were written by Phillips and attributed to well-known writers, who oversaw the proofs and put their names to the manuscripts, for remuneration. Joyce was the actual author of Gregory's Encyclopedia published by Phillips.

In 1795 he married a Miss Griffiths, a milliners assistant and with her had three sons and four daughters.

A more detailed account of him can be found in the Dictionary of National Biography for those interested.



Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada

Date: April 27,2016


This article is focused on the book by Paul Amsinck of 1810 entitled ‘A Description of Tunbridge Wells and Its Neighbourhood’ in which as shown some 40 engravings by Letitia Byrne, an accomplished London artist from a renowned family of engravers and painters.

Letitia Byrne (1779-1849) was the daughter of William Byrne (1743-1805) a renowned landscape engraver and publisher. Her siblings Anne Frances Byrne (1775-1837) Elizabeth Byrne (1780-1849) Mary Byrne/Mrs James Green (1776-1845) John Byrne(1786-1847) all developed their artistic skills as engravers at their fathers side and assisted him in his work. Some later expanded into oil and watercolour paintings and miniature work.

Letitia Byrne, apart from her work with Paul Amsinck, produced hundreds of fine engravings for a variety of publications over her life.

Paul Amsinck was decended from the London branch of an important family of merchants in Europe. He established a successful metal merchants business in London. Upon his retirement he settled in Tunbridge Wells for a time in Mount Sion, where in 1805 he became the Master of Ceremonies of entertainments in the Pantiles, a position that earlier had been held by Beau Nash and others. In 1810 he became the author of ‘A Description of Tunbridge Wells and Its Neighbourhood’. He is credited, in his own words, as having done the initial pencil drawings from which the engravings by Letitia Byrne were made and conducted the research, based in part on work by others,but also from his own observations, for the book. This publication is the only known book he is credited as having written and he is perhaps best described as a financially well off gentleman who in his retirement years turned his interest in history and drawing into a book which is often consulted and referred to by historians, which is one of the few very early comprehensive publications relating to the early history of Tunbridge Wells.

Shown above is the title page of the book which is the central focus of this article one of the images in the book by Letitia showing a view of Tunbridge Wells.


Amsinck is a Dutch-origined patrician family whose members were prominent merchants in multiple countries including the Netherlands, Hamburg, Portugal, England, France, Hanover, Holstein, Denmark, Suriname and India. From the 17th century the Hamburg branch of the family formed part of the city-state's ruling class, the Hanseaten or hereditary grand burghers, who enjoyed legal privileges in Hamburg until 1918. Amsinck has been one of Hamburg's great business families over many centuries, and its members reached the highest positions in Hamburg society, including as senators and head of state. A branch of the family were large plantation owners in Suriname. The Hamburg branch retained a Dutch identity for centuries, often intermarrying with other Dutch-origined patrician families.

The family is descended from Johan Amsinck (born ca. 1410–1430), a burgher of Oldenzaal in 1459. His grandson Rudolph Amsinck (1518–1582/90) was Mayor of Zwolle.

A branch of this family settled in London and became successful merchants there and it is from this branch that Paul Amsinck was decended.

Paul Amsinck is referred to in accounts about Tunbridge Wells in connection with two noteworthy events. As Roger Farthing points out in his book ‘A History of Mount Sion’ and also by Clifford in his guide of Tunbridge Wells in 1824  “Paul Amsinck took over of Master of Ceremonies of the Pantiles in 1805 and in 1810 wrote an illustrated and very influential book ‘Tunbridge Wells and its Neighbourhood’. Apart from these two aspects of his life nothing more is said of him in the town. Paul must have been a resident of the town during the years of his retirement from business and since he was Master of Ceremonies of the Pantiles it is most likely that he lived in Mount Sion. Since it is stated by other historians that all of the images in his 1810 book, that appear as prints of etchings by Letitia Byre ,were based on drawings by Amsinck himself, this work would have taken some time to complete, never mind the research and writing for the book. In the book itself Amsinck states that “ he advanced to the work as only a person using his pencil for his amusement. He described scenes as he felt them.He has recorded events and unfolded the history of places according to the documents within his reach”. Since no other books were written by Amsinck and no sketches in his hand are known it appears that Amsinck was not a professional author or artist but began his 1810 book  as someone who was a resident of Tunbridge Wells ; a person who enjoyed drawing; and someone with a keen interest in the history of the town.

In the 17th to 19th centuries the Pantiles was the social centre and historic business district in the town. During that time members of high society and others came to Tunbridge Wells during the summer season to avail themselves of the clean air and the famous “waters” served in cups for a penny from the spring by dippers. There was plenty to see and do in the Pantiles, apart from shopping ,and there were several hotels,inns and public houses there. During that time the Pantiles, or The Parade, or The Walks, as it was often referred to, was divided by the Kent and Sussex border and there were Assembly Rooms on both sides where entertainments (balls, music, gambling etc) took place organized by a Master of Ceremonies, which one could partake in by subscription. Although several people over the years held the position of Master of Ceremonies, who organized and presided over the entertainment, Beau Nash , before the time of Paul Amsinck, was the most well -known and celebrated among them. Given opposite is an old print of the Pantiles showing the social scene at the time, with ladies and gentlemen well dressed and assembled to partake in the entertainments, a scene that Paul Amsinck would have seen during his time there.

It is believed by the researcher that the Amsinck who wrote the book was Paul Amsinck who was born in London June 17,1759 and was one of three children born to Paul Amsinck (1733-1812)  and Rachel Amsinck, nee Eames. Paul was baptised July 2,1759 at St Helen, Bishopsgate, London. His siblings were  Wilhelm Amsinck (1760-1782) and Thomas Amsinck (1763-1841).  Paul Amsinck (1733-1812) was born July 3,1733 at Porto and died 1812 in Norwich. He was one of 12 children born to Wilhelm Amsinck (1702-1753) and Norberta Rose Maeroingk (1707-1789).

Paul junior married Sarah Still (born May 3,1763) on December 15,1788 in Hampshire.

A review of directories and electoral records and apprentiship records show that Paul Amsinck junior was of Steel Yard House of the Steel Yard in London during the period of 1776 to 1785 and of Upper Thames Street from 1789-1790. Apprentiship records gave Paul Amsinck as a merchant in London and that he took on  two apprentices in 1776 and 1778 at the Steel Yard. His brother Thomas was also a merchant and was a business partner with his brother Paul. The London Gazette of 1814, the year that Paul died, announced that Paul Amsinck and Thomas Amsinck of Sise Lane, London, merchants and partners, operating as Paul Amsinck & Co.,“intend to meet February 19th next at Gildhall London to made a dividend of the separate estate and effects of the late Paul Amsinck, before his creditors.

Paul Amsinck  is perhaps best described as a financially well off gentleman who in his retirement years turned his interest in history and drawing into a book which is often consulted and referred to by historians, which is one of the few very early comprehensive publications relating to the early history of Tunbridge Wells. It is the only known book by him and none of his original sketches were found on the internet. Although his book and images in it are an important record of Tunbridge Wells , as an author and artist, he was obscure and apart from this book, nothing else about this aspect of his life is to be found on the internet.


Shown opposite is an image of Letitia Byrne by Rose Emma Drummond. Rose was the daughter of portrait artist and history painter Samuel Drummond (1765-1844). Samuel Drummond married three times and children from all three unions became artists in their own right.  Rose Emma Drummond  a daughter from his first marriage became a famous miniature painter. At least three children from Drummond's second marriage to Rose Hudson also became artists - Ellen Drummond, Eliza Ann Drummond, Jane Drummond. Around 1815, Samuel Drummond married for a third time and at least one daughter (Rosa Myra Drummond) and a son (Julian Drummond) went on to become professional artists. The image of Letitia by Rose appears to be the only known image of her and no images of Letita’s parents and siblings were found.

From a History of the Drummond Family is the following “Rose Emma Drummond was a portrait painter and miniaturist who was active as an artist in England between 1815 and 1835. Rose Drummond was a daughter of the artist Samuel  Drummond (c1765-1844), a well-known portraitist and history painter.  Rose Emma Drummond, who was born in London around 1790, was probably one of the eldest daughters of Samuel  Drummond, most likely from his first marriage. Rose Emma Drummond was primarily a portrait painter, but in 1823 she was awarded a "large silver medal" for "an historical composition" shown at the Society of Arts. At this time, Rose Drummond shared a studio and residence in Rathbone Place, London, with two of her half-sisters, Miss Eliza Anne Drummond (born 1799) and Miss Jane Drummond (born 1803).Rose Emma Drummond specialised in making portraits of personalities in the theatrical world. Between 1815 and 1835, she produced a number of portraits of well-known actresses, which were engraved and sold as celebrity prints. Her theatrical portraits included : Miss Henrietta Mangeon (1798-1878), a singer an actress who performed at The Drury Lane Theatre, Miss Elizabeth Walker Blanchard (died 1849), an actress who appeared regularly in New York after her marriage to Thomas Hamblin, Mrs Elizabeth Inchbald (1753-1821), a dramatist and former actress, Miss P. A. Glover of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane,  Miss Hallande of the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, Miss F. E. Copeland of the Surrey Theatre, Miss Ellen Tree (1805-1880), a leading lady in the theatre who married the actor Charles Kean.  Rose Emma Drummond exhibited at least eighteen portraits at the Royal Academy between 1815 and 1835. A portrait of "Miss Smithers as the Innkeeper's daughter" exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1819 was well received, described by the journal of The Repository of Arts as "a very lively and agreeable portrait, executed in a manner highly creditable to the taste and skill of the fair artist". Miss Rose Drummond also showed work at the New Water-Colour Society between 1831 and 1835.Around 1820, Rose Drummond painted a portrait of the prolific author Robert Huish  (1777-1850). In 1835, Miss Rose Drummond painted on ivory a miniature portrait of the  famous novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870). The tiny portrait was commissioned by Dickens to mark his engagement to Catherine Thomson Hogarth (1816-1879). Apparently, Dickens based Miss La Creevy, a character in his novel "Nicholas Nickleby"(1839), on Rose Emma Drummond. Like Miss Drummond, Miss La Creevy, was a middle-aged miniature painter. Rose Emma Drummond did not exhibit her work in England after 1835. It appears that Miss Drummond travelled to Central America to join her brother Samuel Drummond (born 1806, London), who had settled in Mexico in the early 1830s. Samuel Drummond married Cristina Dolores Antonina Soto-Borja (born 1807, Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico) at San Miguel Arcangel, Mexico in 1835.Rose Emma Drummond died in Mexico City in 1840. 


Letitia was born on 24 November 1779, in St Marylebone,London, being the third daughter of William Byrne (1743-1805) who was a renowned landscape engraver and publisher, a fellow of the Incorporated Society of Artists and exhibitor of engravings between 1766 and 1780.

In England women of the 18th and 19th centuries were trained at home by their fathers, such as William Byrne, at the artisanal level or by a senior artist such as Edwin Landseer), who taught several aristocratic young women to etch. Whereas engraving, etching and lithography would not have been in the prospectus of the early Academy Schools, even had women been admitted as students, as an applied art in relation to pottery, fabric and book production it would probably have been taught at the first Victorian government art schools established to further national industrial design. The first School of Design in London, 1837, renamed the National Art Training School in 1857 and subsequently renamed again in 1896 the Royal College of Art, certainly taught printmaking at least as early as the 1870’s. The presence of female students is apparent from the 1890’s when Frank Short was put in charge of the engraving school at the Royal College and had as his assistant, Miss Constance Pott. In the first three or four decades of the 20th century, as a post graduate school, the R C A performed a seminal role in training etchers of both sexes, though male students outnumbered females.

William Byrne (F.S.A)was born in London in 1743. He died in London in 1805, and was buried in Old St. Pancras churchyard. A directory of 1790 gave William as a landscape engraver of 79 Titchfield Street, London. His lengthy will, which can be viewed online, also gave him of the same address. He appointed three gentleman as his executors and his will goes into great detail about how and to who his collection of engraved copper plates, prints, books etc were to be disposed of, some of which was to be sold a public auction and the rest given to family and friends. His will was probated March 3,1806. One example of his work is shown opposite.

William is regarded as England's finest landscape engravers of the late eighteenth century. From 1766 to 1780 he exhibed 17 engravings at the Academy. William Byrne studied engraving techniques first under his uncle,an artist little known, and then in Paris, under Aliamet and J. G. Wille. During his career, William was commissioned to engrave topographical and landscape views after such artists as Thomas Hearne, Francis Smith, Richard Wilson and Claude Lorrain. He also collaborated on a number of plates with the great stipple engraver, Francesco Bartolozzi. Byrne illustrated some fine sets during this time, such as Antiquities of Great Britain and Scenery of Italy. Among his most famous individually published engravings are The Death of Captain Cook, Horse at Play (after Stubbs), The Falls of Niagara, Morning and Evening.

From the marriage record of William’s daughter Mary Byrne in 1805 to James Green it was noted that he and his wife “M.A. Byrne” were witnesses to the marriage and it is known from the probate of his will in 1806 that his wife was still living at the time of his death. No definitive information about her is known but one speculates that her full name was Mary Anne Byrne. No marriage record was found but based on the birth dates of his children the couple were likely married in 1770 in London.

William and his wife reportedly had six children although John Byrne is often referred to as the only son, while several records also list James Byrne (1771-1834) as one of the sons. From an artistic point of view no mention of James is every given. Below is a brief outline of Williams Children with more detail given in later about Letitia. Five of Williams children became artists in their own right.

[1] JAMES BYRNE (1771-1834)………..James is listed as a son of William Byrne but no other information is known about him.

[2] ANNE FRANCES BYRNE (1775-1837)…Anne was the eldest daughter and was born in London in 1775. She was a member of the Old Water Colour Society. Her specialty was the painting of fruit and flowers. She exhibited her work at the Royal Academy from 1796 to 1833. At first she painted in oil, but afterwards devoted herself to water colours in which she became very proficient. In 1806 she was elected an associate exhibitor of the Water Colour Society and in 1809 became a full member. In 1813 she withdrew from this Society but exhibited in 1820, and in the following year she rejoined the Society. Occasionally , from 1796 to 1820 she exhibited a flower piece at the Academy. Her flowers were well grouped, with glowing richness of colour and presented a charming freshness.With one or two exceptions of birds, she limited her studies to fruit and flowers. She initially was her father’s pupil and later his assistant, etching for him the preparing his work.She died January 2,1837 a spinster.

[3] LETITIA BYRNE (1779-1849)……….Details about Letitia are given later.

[4] MARY BYRNE/MRS JAMES GREEN (1776-1845).  Mary and her son were painters. Mary Byrne married James Green February 13,1805 at Saint Mary, St Marylebone, London. Her marriage was witnessed by her parents. Mary exhibited her artistic works under the names of Mary Bryrne and after her marriage as “Mrs James Green”. She exhibited from 1798 to 1804 under her maiden name(25 items)  and by her married name from 1805 to 1845. She was known for her work as a miniature painter.

5] ELIZABETH BYRNE (1780-1849)…Elizabeth was the youngest daughter and was born in London in 1780. She exhibited landscapes from 1838 to 1849. She is chiefly known however as an engraver with flowers being a favoured subject. She died in London in 1849 a spinster.

[6] JOHN BYRNE (1786-1847)……John Byrne the only son (only surviving son ?)of engraver William Byrne, was born in 1786, and for some time followed his father's profession; but subsequently directed his attention toward landscape painting in watercolours. Byrne sent pictures to the exhibitions of the Water-Colour Society and the Royal Academy; and spent some years (about 1832-37) in Italy. He was a member of the Old Watercolour Society and exhibited 43 landscapes from 1822 to 1843. He died March 11, 1847.


Letitia was the third eldest daughter of William Byrne and had been born in London on November 24,1779. She exhibited her work at the Royal academy from 1799 to 1848. Her work included landscapes but was best known for her etchings on copper plates.  She exhibited 21 landscapes at the Academy between 1799 and 1848. Shown in this section are four examples of her work as presented in the book by Paul Amsinck. One is a view of “The Bath House” others that follow are “High Rocks”, “Tunbridge Wells”, and “Chapel and Baths”.

At the age of twenty, in 1799, Letitia was exhibiting at the Royal Academy and she came to prominence when she engraved over 40 works for Paul Amsinck's A Description of Tunbridge Wells and Its Neighbourhood published (image opposite) in 1810. The original artist who drew the scenes was the author of the book, Paul Amsinck, and Letitia Byrne converted the images into engravings.

Letitia also engraved and exhibited views of Winchester, Oxford, Derbyshire, Wales, and France.

Among other work entrusted to her were four views for Hakewill's History of Windsor. She exhibited From Eton College Play-fields at the Academy in 1822; and had other pictures there (twenty-one in all) down to 1848.

One of her works was an engraving after the painting by Thomas Daniell (1749-1849) entitled 'View in the Tinnevele District, East India', (Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu), published in 1809. Another work was her etching entitled ‘ Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire’, after Thomas Girtin (1775-1852) published 1809. 

From a collection of views of Cornwall dated 1818 in a book by William Upcott, it was noted that fifteen plates were by Letitia and a further five by her sister Elizabeth.

Letitia Byrne was closely associated with Francis Nicholson (1753 -1844) and his family including his youngest daughter Marianne Nicholson (1791 - 1854) - See "Francis Nicholson: Painter, Printmaker and Drawing Master" Blackthorn Press 2012.

Letitia died  May 21,1849 in London, aged 70, and was buried in the  All Souls Kensal Green Cemetery on May 25th. Her will was probated at St Marylebone, London on June 27,1849 and was given as a resident of 56 Bournes Street, St Marylebone. She left some 560 pounds to her sister Elizabeth. Details of her will can be found online.




Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada

Date: May 31,2016

 John William Frear was born in the 2nd qtr of 1881 at Little Weldon, Nottinghamshire, one of at least six children born to William and Mary Ann Frear.

The 1891 census, taken at Great Weldon, Nottinghamshire gave William Frear as born 1831 in Great Weldon and working as an agricultural labourer. With him was his wife Mary Ann Frear, born 1843 in Little Weldon and their six children, including their son John William Frear who was attending school.

The 1901 census, taken at 18 Alaston Road in Barnet, Hertfordshire gave John as a single man living as a boarder with the Sidney George Gearce family. John at that time was working as a grocer’s assistant.

By the time of the 1911 census, John had moved to Tunbridge Wells and was living as a boarder in the 4 room premises of the William Albert Scott family at 16 Garden Street. John was working as a stationer and Mr Scott was a local police constable.

By 1913 John became the proprietor of his own stationers shop at 43 Calverley Road. A postcard view of Calverley Road dated 1924 is shown above. John was successful in running this business for he continued to operate this shop (based on local directories) up to at least 1938.

Like most stationers, John sold local postcard views. Two of them bearing his name as publisher of the cards and his address on the back are shown in this article. One is a view of Wellington Rocks and another a view of the Commons. Who the photographer was that took the photographs is not identified. John, like many stationers in the town, and elsewhere, commonly made arrangements with a photographer/postcard printer to produce postcards for sale in their shops with their names on the back as publishers, when in fact all they did was sell the cards in their shop. Harold H. Camburn ,a Tunbridge Wells photographer and postcard printer/publisher for example, did this often for his customers.

Probate records show that John William Frear was of 6 Cadogan Gardens, Tunbridge Wells, when he died April 26,1950. The executor of his 3,895 pound estate was Eden Gladys Philpott, spinster, suggesting that he never married and had no family heirs. There is no burial record for him in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

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