Mary Alston Waddell Thomson (1876-1947)

‘There was submitted a letter from Messrs. A. and J. Graham, writers, intimating that the late Miss M. A. W. Thomson of Ridge Park, Lanark, had bequeathed to the corporation a collection of pictures and the committee, after hearing a report from the Director, agreed to accept eighteen of the pictures mentioned in the list now submitted.’1

The pictures selected consisted of five watercolours and thirteen oils. The water colours were:

Sir John Lavery R. A.   Head of a Child                                          (2634, Accession No.)

Sam Bough R. S. A.     Busy Harbour                                             (2635)

Jan Zoetelief Tromp   The Young Harvesters                                 (2636)

Janet M. Aitken          Trafalgar Square                                         (2645) 

This artist lived at 2 Woodlands Terrace until 1925. She exhibited at the Glasgow Instutute 1906 – 1920.                           

M. B. Barnard (?)        Shore Scene                                                (2648)  

The thirteen oils are shown below. Given the dates of completion, it seems likely that Miss Thomson purchased all of them.           

Figure 1. Park, Stuart; Vase of Roses; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (2633)
Figure 2. Park, Stuart; Orchids; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (2649)(
Figure 3. Park, Stuart; Daffodils; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (2650) (

Figure 4. McEwan, Thomas; Tea Time; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (2638) (

Figure 5 McGhie, John; Fisher Girls Landing the Catch; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (2639) (

Figure 6. Hornel, Edward Atkinson; The Paper Hat;  © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2641) (
Figure 7. Hornel, Edward Atkinson; In a Japanese Garden; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2642) (

Figure 8. Allan, Archibald Russell Watson; Harvest Time; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2643) (

Figure 9. Elwell, Frederick William; The Squire; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2644) (
Figure 10. Jansen, Willem Georg Frederik; Milking Time; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2646) (

Figure 11. Anderson, James Bell; Still Life; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2647) (

Figure 12. de Hoog, Bernard; Tea Time; © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2637) (
Figure 13. Westerbeek, Cornelis; At the End of the Day; (currently under restoration). © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.(2642) (

Mary Alston Waddell Thomson was born on 14 December 1876 at 10 Moray Place, Regent’s Park, Strathbungo – one of a row of houses designed by Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson but apparently no relation. This was the home of her grandparents after whom Mary was named. Her mother Catherine was born in 1851 at Wiston, Lanarkshire to James Waddell a coal master and his wife Mary Alston.2 Catherine married William Thomson on 28 October 1875 also at 10 Moray Place.3 Mary’s birth was registered in two separate birth certificates – one for Kinning Park and one for Shettleston which was her father’s ‘domicile’. Her father, William Thomson a rope manufacturer, had a house ‘Ferndean, in Shettleston, Glasgow.4 The family business was the Glasgow Rope Works which was founded in 1842 by William’s father, Archibald Thomson. The firm had offices at 58 Howard Street, Glasgow, and a factory in Shettleston. Archibald Thomson lived nearby at Braidfaulds, Tollcross. 5 In 1891 this was ‘one of the oldest houses engaged in this branch of productive industry in Glasgow. The trade of the firm is of world-wide proportions and at one time employed over three hundred people’.6

The 1881 census recorded Mary and her parents at Ferndean, 299 Main Street, Shettleston. Mary’s father was a ‘cordage manufacturer, master, employing 105 men, 95 boys, 40 females’. Also on the census was Mary’s younger brother Archibald and her aunt Mary Waddell.7 Mary’s sister, Helen Jane Thomson was born in 1883.8 William Thomson died suddenly and intestate at Ferndean on the 11 September 1888 aged forty-two.9 An inventory valued his personal estate at £1189.16.3. 10 Archibald Thomson then assumed sole control of the ropeworks and moved into Ferndean. 11

In the 1891 census the family was at Stockbriggs House near Lesmahagow. (Stockbriggs was a family estate owned at one time by Mary’s great grandfather James William Alston a wealthy Glasgow merchant one of whose sons Edward Richard Alston became a prominent zoologist contributing many papers to the ‘Proceedings of the Zoological Society’. He was elected Zoological Secretary of the Linnean Society in 1880 but died the following year. 12) In the census, the head of the household was John Waddell, Mary’s uncle, who was a coal master. Also present were Mary’s grandmother Mary Waddell, aged seventy-five and Mary’s mother Catherine both of whom were living on private means. Mary, aged fourteen, her brother and sister were all ‘scholars’. Also present were Catherine’s sister Mary McMillan and her family. 13

Archibald Thomson died aged seventy-four on 27 October 1893. Shortly afterwards the firm amalgamated with John Black and Co. to become Archibald Thomson, Black and Co. 14 They maintained the works at Shettleston until about 1911. 15 Mary’s grandmother, Mary Waddell died at 11 Newark Drive, Glasgow on 30 January 1899. Her death was reported by her son John A. Waddell whose address was 10 Moray Place. 16

In 1901 Mary was with her mother who was living on her own means, brother Archibald and sister Jane, at Cragieburn, Crichton Road, Rothesay. Mary was twenty-four, with no occupation listed. Archibald aged twenty was a bank clerk and Jane aged seventeen, was a scholar. 17 Archibald Thomson was a former pupil of Glasgow High School. In 1914 he succeeded his maternal uncle to became Laird of Stockbriggs. He was interested in agriculture and would have been keen to develop the land around Stockbriggs for farming but with the outbreak of WW1 he enlisted in the 16th Highland Light Infantry. 18 He served with the 14th Platoon, ‘D’ Company and later transferred to the 97th Machine Gun Corps. Unfortunately, he did not survive the War and was listed as missing in action on 2 December 1917. He was commemorated as ‘Private Archibald Thomson, H.L.I., of Stockbriggs, Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire. Only son of Catherine Thomson (now of Largs, Ayrshire) and the late William Thomson.’ 19

Mary and her mother Catherine moved to Largs possibly as early as 1914. By 1925 Mary was the proprietor/occupier of Moorburn House and Grounds on the north side of Largs. 20 Five years later she was still the proprietor of Moorburn but apparently, not the occupier. 21 Mary’s mother Catherine died at Moorburn on the 21 May 1931. She was eighty-six. 22 In the 1935 valuation roll Mary is listed as the proprietor of Moorburn and also of Moorcote House in Haco Street, Largs. 23 Moorburn House was described as ‘one of the most stunning mansions in Largs’. 24 After her mother’s death, Mary put Moorburn House on the market. It sold for £7,500 and became the offices of the district council in 1936. 25

On 26 May 1934, Ridge Park House in Lanark was advertised for sale. 26 This was after the death of the owner Maria Louisa Roberts Vassie the previous month. 27 However, the house did not sell and was re-advertised the following year when it was purchased by Mary Thomson. The house was set in nine acres of land and has three public rooms, a billiard room and five bedrooms with central heating, a garage, a tennis lawn and a greenhouse. 28

While resident at Ridge Park, Mary Thomson involved herself in local affairs and especially those involving the youth of the area. She ‘acted as inspecting officer for a Girls’ Guildry display in 1938 and expressed herself greatly impressed by the smart appearance of the girls. She also presented prizes and decorations.’ 29 The following year she was present, along with the great and good of the district, at the opening and dedication of the new Salvation Army Hall in Westport. She proposed the vote of thanks after the dedication service. 30 Towards the end of 1945 she was present at the re-opening of the Lanark YMCA Institute, which had been commandeered by the military during the war. In her speech she said that ‘the YMCA was the big brother of the BWTA the women of which had run a soldiers’ parlour in the town for three years and the YMCA had helped greatly. She thought it would be nice if the YMCA could carry on the work among the men who were returning from the forces. She was pleased that BWTA had helped them furnish their premises and she wished them every success.’ 31

Mary Alston Waddell Thomson was found dead at Ridge Park on the 21 April 1947. She was seventy years old and had died suddenly from heart failure. Her death was reported by a friend Walter J. J. Cook. 32 After a service at Ridge Park, she was buried in Cathcart Cemetery. 33

In her will, Miss Thomson left bequests to various charities and to her household staff as well as the bequest to Glasgow Art Galleries. 34 In November 1947 a sale of furniture and household effects was conducted by McTears auctioneers. This raised £5000 and was notable for the fact that a bedroom suite sold for more than £700 which, as the local newspaper reported, could have purchased a small bungalow.35 Miss Thomson left Ridge Park House and her estate of £74,000 to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow. She hoped that the house would be converted to a childrens’ or nurses’ home. However, the hospital decided against conversion and sold it to the local council for £8,555. 36

Miss Thomson suffered from a rare eye condition called side-vision which meant she could not see things in front of her, only to the side. As part of her bequest, she instructed that her eyes should be offered for research to either the Glasgow Ophthalmic Institute or the Glasgow Eye Infirmary. Both institutions turned down the bequest. 37


  1. Glasgow Corporation Minutes, 10 June 1947, Mitchell Library
  2. Old Parish Registers, FamilySearch
  3. Scotland’s People, Marriage Certificate
  4. Scotland’s People, Birth Certificate
  5. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1880-81
  7., 1881 Census, Scotland
  8. Scotland`s People, Birth Certificate
  9. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  10. Scotland’s People, Wills and Inventories
  11. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1890-91
  12. Bettany, George Thomas. Edward Richard Alston, in Dictionary of National Biography, , Vol 1,1885-1900
  13. Scotland’s People, 1891 Census
  14. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1900-1901
  15. Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1911-1912
  16. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  17. Scotland’s People, 1911 Census
  20. Scotland’s People, Valuation Roll, 1925, Largs, Ayrshire
  21. Scotland’s People, Valuation Roll, 1930, Largs, Ayrshire
  22. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  23. Scotland’s People, Valuation Roll, 1935, Largs, Ayrshire
  25. Ibid
  26. Scotsman, 26 May 1934
  27. Scotsman, 7 April 1934
  28. Scotsman, 2 March 1935
  29. Carluke and Lanark Gazette, 28 April 1938
  30. Carluke and Lanark Gazette, 17 November 1939
  31. Carluke and Lanark Gazette, 26 October 1945
  32. Scotland’s People, Death Certificate
  33. Glasgow Herald, 23 April 1947
  34. Carluke and Lanark Gazette, 22 August 1947
  35. Carluke and Lanark Gazette, 21 November 1947
  36. Ibid
  37. Carluke and Lanark Gazette, 22 August 1947

Mrs Alice Clara Grahame (1864-1954)

Although Mrs Grahame (known as Clara) bequeathed these paintings on her death in 1954 the portraits were in fact of members of her husband’s family. Clara’s husband was Lt Colonel John Crum Grahame (1870-1952).

Figure 1. Humphrey Ewing Maclae of Cathkin (1773-1860) By John Graham Gilbert. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. Acc 3017.

Humphrey Ewing Maclae was born Humphrey Ewing .His father Walter Ewing had inherited Cathkin Estate near Rutherglen in 1790 through Walter Maclae an uncle of his mother Margaret Maclae and had added Maclae to his name at that point.Humphrey Ewing did the same on inheriting Cathkin in 1814.Walter Ewing Maclae had built Cathkin House in 1799 funded in the main through the fortune he had made in the West India Trade. By the 1790s  the family owned several sugar plantations in Jamaica and 449 slaves. According to the slavery compensation claims in 1836 Humphrey Ewing Maclae owned at least three plantations which were Dallas Castle Port Royal with 161 slaves; Southfield in St Ann with 195 slaves and Lilyfield in St Ann with 93 slaves.1 John Crum Grahame was Humphrey Ewing Maclae’s great-great-nephew through his mother Agnes Crum. See Figure 4 below.

Figure 2. Thomas Grahame of Whitehill (1792-1870) by Chester Harding c1825. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. Acc 3018.

Thomas Grahame was the son of Robert Grahame of  Whitehill, advocate and former Lord Provost of Glasgow and brother of James Grahame.2 He was born in Glasgow in 1792. There is no information on his early life. Although he used the title of major there is no information at this point of his military service which may have been in a militia regiment. He married Hannah Finlay of Castle Toward in 1823 with whom he had three daughters.   Hannah died in 1834.3 Thomas moved to England sometime in the late 1830s at about the same time as his father Robert Grahame.  In 1847 Thomas married Elizabeth Campbell in London.4 They had no children. The 1851 and 1861 census records his occupation as ‘landed proprietor,stocks and shares’ so he was of independent means. Thomas spent the rest of his life in England . In 1851 he was living in Rickmansworth  in  Hertfordshire   with his wife, three daughters and his ninety-one year old father Robert 5 and in 18616  the family were living in  Broadwater  in  Sussex where  Thomas  died in 1870.7 Thomas Grahame was the great-uncle of our donor through his father’s family. See Figure 5 below.

Figure 3. Hannah Finlay Of Castle Toward by Chester Harding 1825-25. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. Acc 3019.

Hannah Finlay (1803-1834) was the eldest daughter of Kirkman Finlay (1773-1842). After the death of his father in 1790 Kirkman Finlay took over the running of his father’s business  James Finlay & Co,Glasgow Merchants.   He  moved into the new business of cotton spinning and owned mills in Ayrshire,  Stirlingshire and Perthshire. By 1810 he was the largest exporter of cotton yarn to Europe and managed to evade Napoleon’s wartime blockade.  He was Lord Provost of Glasgow 1812-15 and 1818 and MP for Clyde Burghs 1812-1819.As well as Castle Toward in Argyll the Finlays had a town House in Queen Street Glasgow.8     Hannah was the first wife of Thomas Grahame of Whitehill and died at the age of 31.

Figure 4. Link between John Crum Grahame and Humphrey Ewing Maclae. © J.M Macaulay.

Figure 5. Link between John Crum Grahame and Major Thomas Grahame of Whitehill. © J.M Macaulay.

Figure 4. John Crum Grahame © R.Purvis.

John Crum Grahame (1870-1952)

John Crum Grahame, known as Jack was born in Auldhouse ,  Renfrewshire on 2  February 1870. He was the son of James Grahame and Agnes Crum. His mother was the daughter of John Crum of Thornliebank and his great -great -grandfather was Archibald Grahame of Drumquassie  Drymen  in  Stirlingshire. Jack was educated at Harrow. He joined the 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry in 1892 as a 2nd Lieutenant after serving with the Militia and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1894. He served on the Northwest Frontier in India. In 1900 he was attached to the 1st Battalion West African Frontier Force and took part in the Ashanti Campaign and was Mentioned in Despatches and awarded the Ashanti Medal in 1901. During this period he was promoted Local Captain.

During 1901-2 he saw service with the 3rd Battalion as Local Major on the West African Frontier in Southern Nigeria and  was once again Mentioned in Dispatches after the capture of Aro Chuko. He was slightly wounded during this campaign. He was awarded the DSO, the entry in the London Gazette of 12 September  1902 reported:

John Crum Grahame,Captain Highland Light Infantry. For services during the  Aro  Campaign in Southern Nigeria.

 Between 1904 and 1907 Jack served with the Egyptian army and The Sudan Administration.9 It was during this period that Jack married Clara. 

Donor. Mrs A. C Grahame  1864-1954 

Our donor was born Alice Clara Purvis on 28  July 1864 at Kinaldy House on the Kinaldy Estate near St Andrews in Fife. She was the daughter of John Purvis of Kinaldy  (JP) (1820-1909)  and Wilhelmina(Mina) Berry of Newport-on-Tay(1827-1905). 10 She was known as Clara. Clara was the youngest of two surviving daughters.  Her sister Ethel was born in 186011 and there were four brothers who lived to adulthood-Alex, Herbert, Harry and Robert.12 John Purvis’s father Alexander Purvis (1766-1844) originated from Northumberland. He emigrated to South Carolina after the American War of Independence and set up a store and cotton broking business with his eldest brother John at Charleston, Sumter and Columbia. In Columbia the site of the Purvis premises on the corner of Gervais and Main Street was known as Purvis Corner as late as 1900.The business was very successful and Alexander became an American citizen in 1795. He retired in 1809 and returned to Scotland. He purchased the Kinaldy estate near St Andrews in 1829. His only child John was born in 1820.13

Figure 5. Dining Room Kinaldy House © R.Purvis.

Figure 6. Kinaldy House near St. Andrews Fife. © R.Purvis.

Figure 7. Wilhelmina Purvis (or Berry) of Newport on Tay. By William Clark Wontner 1897. © R.Purvis.

Figure 8. John Purvis of Kinaldy by C. Goldsborough R.A. 1897. © R.Purvis.

John  Purvis(1820-1909) was a landowner and astute businessman. He was a Justice of the Peace, and a director of the Anstruther and Fife Railway. He also had many business interests abroad.For example he invested in The Pacific Sugar Mill Company and a plantation at Kukuihaele in Hawaii (see Appendix) which was later managed by son Herbert14 and investments in New Zealand. According to Aylwin Clark:

JP was always ready to seize the opportunity to invest in something promising well but then his caution would weigh in reproachfully, reminding him how infrequently there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.15

JP’s investments were worldwide. In the 1870s for example he invested in the Imperial Ottoman Bank, the Natal Colonization Company,  the Central Railway Uruguay, the Tay Bridge and Leuchars  Extension,the East London Railway,the Kansas and Pacific Railway,  the Lanberg and Czarovitz Railway in  Rumania and many more.16

1870s. Schooldays at home  and abroad.

According to the 1871 Census the Purvis Family were staying at a house in Newport -on -Tay  from where  Clara’s mother Wilhelmina Berry originated. According to Clark John Purvis was not overly impressed with the way his children were turning out. At one point he wrote in is diary of his  depression at the melancholy spectacle of Ethel, Clara and Harry on a Sunday evening as ,devoid of sense as of sensibility’. His main grumble seemed to be that they were not enough like their mother.17

Figure 9. Ethel, Clara and Robert Purvis. c.1871. © R.Purvis.

Ethel and Clara appear to have inherited their father’s love of sport and the outdoors rather than the more ladylike pursuits of their mother.

In order to improve the education of his family John took them to Dresden in 1872 for an extended stay presumably to widen their horizons. Clara would have been about ten at this point.18 At this time Dresden was a very popular city with the British and other European visitors and known as ‘Florence on the Elbe’.19 John Purvis was very keen on education both for boys and girls and he was one of the founders of St Leonards School for Girls in 1877. John Purvis was keen that girls,

should be taught matters of substance at school and be challenged to use their minds.20

The staff at St Leonards, headed by Louisa Lumsden, formerly of Cheltenham Ladies College were mostly graduates and encouraged the ideas of plain living and high thinking.

John Purvis was on the School Council for many years and acted as Chairman for the bulk of that time. Clara was a pupil at St Leonards from April 1878 to July 1879 during which time she was in the Upper Third Form.21 One of the teachers at the school, Constance Maynard, kept a diary in which Clara is mentioned several times and not to her credit. Such diary entries as ‘Clara’s ill-concealed smile’ andwhose influence was the worst possible’ and ‘rude, loud and on the look-out for fun22 leads us to believe that Clara, aged about thirteen, was not the best behaved of pupils. In fact according to Clark Clara hated school.23

Perhaps part of the reason for this was that  from about 1878 to 1880 the rest of the Purvis family was living in Bruges,  Belgium or was it simply that she did not respond to being taught matters of substance and to use her mind. It appears that John Purvis’s affairs were undergoing financial difficulties as a result of a series of bad harvests, bad weather and a fall in the price of corn following the repeal of the Corn Laws.  Kinaldy was rented out for the shooting while the family moved to Bruges where they could live more cheaply and where John Purvis had family connections.24

Clara joined the family in Bruges for the Christmas holidays in 1878 where she put pressure on her mother to let her leave St Leonards. According to Clark Clara could always persuade her mother to do as she wished and Mina could always influence her husband.  As Mina did not approve of the ethos of the school either she was probably won over quite easily. This episode is an early indication of  Clara’s character in that she was very strong minded and liked her own way and was often described as ‘difficult’.  Clara did not return to St Leonards after July 1879 but was sent to a convent school in Bruges. How she performed there we do not know.25 The family underwent tragedy in Bruges in 1879 when Clara’s younger sister Mona died of pleurisy. This affected John Purvis for the rest of his life as Mona had been a favourite child.26

 1880s. The Social Whirl 

By the time of the 1881 census the Purvis Family was back at Kinaldy without Clara. She had been sent to The Beehive School in Windsor at the urging of her mother even though the family finances were rather stretched at this time. Correspondence between John Purvis and his wife early in 1880 gives us further indication that Clara was ‘difficult’.

Mina writes in February 1880:

 I wish to send Clara to school and this cannot be delayed until we have the money as she will be sixteen in July and she should be at school till she is eighteen. We must borrow what is necessary as I think it is the only chance of making her a girl we can have any comfort in. 

John Purvis replied:

 As for Clara, though you do not say so I see she is giving you trouble. To spend £500 on sending her to a fashionable boarding school is, in my opinion, just so much money thrown away- she appears to delight in living in a spirit of antagonism to anyone  she should be subject to and until she is …less insolent in manner and speech need not care where you send her.27

The Beehive School had been set up by Mariana Alice Browning in 1876 for the education of girls whose brothers were attending Eton College which is also in Windsor. The Beehive School was relocated to Bexhill-on-Sea in 1900.28 According to the 1881 census Clara was one of 27 girls at the school ranging in age from eleven to seventeen. There were four female teachers all in their twenties as well as the headmistress and nine servants at The Beehive.29 There is no information as to how long she stayed there. There is no mention of her in her father’s diaries for quite some time so perhaps   Clara did not cause her parents any problems whilst at the school.30

After leaving school Clara lived the social life typical of a young lady of her ‘class’. She loved the outdoors and was a keen tennis player, golfer and foxhunter. She was an excellent horsewoman and a member of the Fife Hunt. Clara excelled at all sports 31 and was a member of the St Andrews Ladies Golf Club and the Fifeshire Lawn Tennis Association. There are many newspaper reports of Miss C. Purvis being successful in the Fifeshire Lawn Tennis Annual Championships.32 She also took part in the social whirl of St Andrews  attending,  along with other members of her family, the annual Fife Hunt Ball and the Annual Ball of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of which her father was a member.33

Clara benefited from her father’s enthusiasm for travel and in 1885 she accompanied her parents,brother Aleck  and sister Ethel on a trip to the Rhineland.  They visited Heidelberg, Treves, Spa, Brussels and Bruges. Unfortunately Mina developed bronchitis while the family were in Stuttgart causing great worry to her husband.34

Figure 10. Clara in her twenties. © R.Purvis.

In March 1886 Clara was bridesmaid at her sister Ethel’s wedding to Thomas Jeffrey of Edinburgh.35 There is a family story that Clara was presented at court -presumably when she was about eighteen and possibly in Edinburgh but as yet there is no documentary evidence to back this up.
For an unmarried woman of the time Clara had a lot of freedom visiting her friends on her own and joining her parents on their travels. According to Alwyn Clark,’ she could usually get her own way with her mother and as her mother could usually get JP to do what she wanted then Clara was not being frustrated as may women in her position would have been’.

Clara was now twenty- two  but there is little information regarding any romance in her life.  However while her father was on his second business trip to Hawaii in 1886-7 Mina took Clara to Cannes about which her mother wrote:

As far as I am concerned I could leave without regret but K(Clara) likes the life greatly. There are a number of pleasant young men, lots of tennis and a dance every week, and she usually meets with a good deal of attention and, as I came for her I shall stay until nearly the end of the month.

According to Clark one of the ‘pleasant young men’ was a Mr Glover whom Clara got to like. When Mina discovered that Mr Glover’s father’s name was over a shop called ‘Tailor and Clothier’ she put an end to the friendship, presumably as being unsuitable. Mina wrote to her husband on 27th December 1886 that Clara felt it very much but that she had given him up and her mother was sorry for her.36

Figure 11. Clara’s brothers Alex, Harry, Robin and Herbert. © R.Purvis.

Another trip took place in December 1889 this time to Egypt spending a few days in Malta on the way arriving in Alexandria on Christmas Day37 and then to Shepherd’s Hotel in Cairo where once again Mina was ill.38

Figure 12. Clara’s elder sister Ethel. © R.Purvis.

  1890s.   Travel and More Travel

Clara’s diary for the first half of 1890 records lots of socialising in Cairo and Alexandria, numerous mentions of army officers and going to the races. She appears to be having a ball. The Purvises visited Pireaus and Athens, Trieste on April 6,Venice on April 7 followed by a tour round Italy. In May they were in Mainz on the Rhine and were back in London by 21 June where they dined at Hampton Court at whose invitation is not known.39

The Purvis family are nowhere to be found in the 1891 Census. Where were they?  According to Clara’s diary for 1891 the family were off again on an extended voyage back to Egypt via the Mediterranean . One of the ships they were on was the SS Agia Sophia which called in at several North African ports. On February 2 the Purvises, lunched with the Rempsters ,intro to Colonel Kitchener presumably the Kitchener who later became famous for his service in the Sudan, Boer War and First World War. Clara visited Luxor and ‘Karnak on a donkey’ and on March 30 visited the Bey’s Palace in Tunis. She was back in England in time to attend Ascot on June 11. 40

She was off again in 1893 leaving London on the SS Victoria this time to Gibraltar, Tangiers then to Spain where she spent time in Malaga, Seville, Cordoba and Granada.41 In 1894 she went on a trip to India with a Miss Price where  they travelled widely and were treated royally and did not return until 1896.’42

It is in 1896 that the first references to ‘Mr Grahame ‘appear in Clara’s diary for that year. There are also references to quite a few letters to Mr Grahame who is given the initial “J”.43   Lieutenant John Crum Grahame (Jack)of the 2nd Battalion Highland Light Infantry was to be Clara’s future husband.

By 1898 Jack appears to have become a fixture in Clara’s life. He accompanied Clara and her mother on a trip to Dieppe on 3 June 3 and there are numerous references to her watching Jack fishing at Gilmerton (her brother Robert’s home) and dining at Kinaldy.  In 1898 Clara had her portrait painted.  A letter written to her brother Herbert in that year illustrates the rather cold relationship she appears to have with her father. She writes:

My portrait which I think your father rather depreciated (sic) is thought a very good likeness. No doubt it is a well-painted picture and will therefore do credit to the family gallery. Your father is obdurate about having his done so there is no use fighting him. 44 It seems sad she could not just call him ‘Father’.

Figure 13. Clara’s portrait 1898. © R.Purvis.

 1900-1905. A Difficult Time 

Clara was back at Kinaldy by the time of the 1901 census along with her parents and youngest brother Robert who was at home possibly recovering from wounds he had received in 1900 fighting in the Boer War. Clara was thirty -seven by this time. These years were not happy ones as in 1900 Clara’s mother had a severe stroke which affected her speech. A trained nurse, Margaret McKenzie, was also living at Kinaldy presumably to take care of Mina.45 John Purvis had become very deaf by this time and

was unable to discuss matters with Mina because he could not understand her slurred speech. This was a very unhappy time for him as on top of Mina’s illness he and Clara did not enjoy a good relationship.

Part of the problem appears to have been the worry over the financial provision her father would make for her after her parent’s death. This issue was made more pressing when The Amicable Life Insurance Company refused to insure John Purvis’s life in Clara’s favour after he had undergone a medical examination in Edinburgh. J P wrote in the spring of 1901:

I was kept in hot water with respect to Clara’s provision,giving rise to much acrimony and unpleasantness and in order to avoid matters coming to an impasse I yielded…much against my better judgement.

This appears to mean Clara was put in charge of running the household.46

No other members of the family were living at Kinaldy at that time and Clara seems to have used her new authority to its utmost. Although Clara’s brothers Aleck and Herbert recognised the misery Clara was causing their father they did not confront her even though Aleck admitted that ‘Father leads a dog’s life in his own house’.

  She behaved rather strangely in several ways according to the family papers. For example she accused her brother Herbert’s children, Arthur and Inez, of stealing when they were visiting their grandparents at Kinaldy which angered Herbert’s wife greatly. Apparently the butler had complained that Arthur had taken food from the press. When questioned by Herbert the butler denied making any such complaint. Clara forbade the children to be given anything without her orders. Even more strange was a short note in the family archives from Clara’s youngest brother Robert to Herbert telling him:

Mother asks me to tell you she hopes you come out today and that when you come you will lock your bicycle up in the School Room. This is because Clara puts pins in the tyres when it is left in the lobby.

Clara also read her father’s letters and diaries and treated the servants very unfairly. So bad was the situation that in November 1904 the butler, gardener and coachman had gone before JP knew they had been given notice. By 11th July 1905 JP had been more or less driven from his own house. He wrote to his son Herbert from the Monifeith House Hotel,

I have thought it expedient to evacuate the house …. Your Mother is now so much under the evil influence of Clara that I thought more prudent on the fifty-third anniversary of our wedding to clear out.47

Of course there are always two sides to every family dispute but Clara’s behaviour does seem rather inexplicable.

As we have seen Clara had met John Crum Grahame(Jack) around 1896 when he began to appear in her diaries.  Jack is recorded in various newspapers as attending social functions with the Kinaldy Party from that time.48 He also accompanied Clara and her parents on a visit to Harrogate in 1902. It is unclear how they met but Clara’s brother Harry was also in the Highland Light Infantry so perhaps they met through him. It appears to have been a long courtship. Perhaps the Boer War and other military offences postponed thoughts of marriage or there may have been another reason. Correspondence between brothers Harry and Herbert tells us:

The Mother told me yesterday that it is her belief that Clara is waiting for the Father’s death in order to marry Grahame ,intending  thereby to profit by the clause in Father’s will, which gives  a larger allowance if she is unmarried at her death.49 

 1905-1914 Married at Last

The marriage between Clara and Jack Grahame took place in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh on 27 July 1905.  Any friction between Clara and her father appears to have been put aside and the bride was given away by her father.  As there is no mention of Mina in the press report of the wedding we can presume she was too ill to attend. The reception was held at the Roxburgh Hotel in Edinburgh after which the couple left for a honeymoon in the Austrian Tyrol.50 At this time Jack was attached to the Egyptian Army serving in the Sudan and  Clara returned to Kinaldy after the honeymoon, presumably to take care of her mother. Relations between father and daughter do not appear to have improved as in his diary for 30 September  1905 JP wrote:

Do not see how I can continue to live here while Clara is at the head of affairs-setting everyone by the ears and making mischief continually.51

It is difficult to account for this state of affairs but everything was about to change.  On October 14th 1905 Mina lapsed into a coma and died at midnight.  Clara wrote in her diary on Sunday  15 October :

My Mother died just at midnight with her hand in mine. She looked up just before death and gave me a sad loving look and I think recognised the others.52

JP was eighty-six two days later. Clara moved to Gilmerton the home of her youngest brother Robert but not before dismissing all the servants without consulting her father. She also took with her items which did not belong to her according to her father.53This matter was eventually sorted out only with the intervention of William Kirk an Edinburgh lawyer who was also a relative and this seemed to put an end to the battle between Clara and her father.54                                                                                                                     

Kinaldy House was rented to JP’s eldest daughter Ethel and her husband Tom Jeffreys and JP moved to the Imperial Hotel St Andrews and then to a house in Queens Gardens St Andrews. JP’s eldest son Aleck took over the running of the Kinaldy Estate.56

 The couple returned to Kinaldy after the honeymoon and on 7 September Jack left for the Sudan.56 It was not until January 1906 that Clara set off to join him. She was in Cairo by February where she sees the local sights and socialises with other army types. She arrived in Khartoum in Sudan on Thursday 15 March via Luxor and sees Jack who looks ill.57

In 1908 Jack was posted to India and Clara went with him. Entries in her diary record the journey thus:

January 16th passed Malta, January 24th passed Aden,30th January arrived in Bombay,3rd February arrived Dinapore after which Jack left for Barrackpore.

Clara joined him on  10 March  and they enjoyed some socialising in Calcutta. They were still in Calcutta in November 1908 and appear to have stayed there for a further year.58 By this time Jack had been promoted to Major.59

John Purvis died on 21 June 1909 in a nursing home in Edinburgh60 and Clara inherited Lingo Estate which her father had purchased in 1852. Lingo Estate adjoins the Kinaldy Estate to the south west.61 This was to be the home of Clara and Jack until 1952.62

Figure14. Jack 1910. © R.Purvis.

In 1910 Jack was with the Second Battalion HLI in Cork.63 He also took part in the Coronation Ceremony of King George Vth in 1910 after which he was awarded the Coronation Medal.64 In 1911 he was appointed Superintendent of the Military Prison in Cork. 65 There is no information regarding Clara’s whereabouts during this period and she does not appear to be in the Census records for England, Scotland or Ireland. By 1913 and with war looming Jack was commanding the Third Battalion HLI, a Special Reserve Battalion based in Hamilton.66 Jack was in command of the troops during the visit of George Vth and Queen Mary to Hamilton in July 1914.67

An advertisement had appeared in the Situations Vacant section of the Scotsman on 30  May 1914  asking for  a house sewing maid  from early June for a small house in Lanarkshire  to serve a lady and gentleman. Particulars were to be sent to Mrs J C Grahame at 31 Dover Street, London. This suggests that Clara and Jack would be living near to the Hamilton Depot and also that they had a base in London. The advertisement also tells us that a cook and butler were also employed.,

War Years 1914-18 

On 19  August 1914 Jack was promoted Temporary Lieutenant Colonel of the 10th (Service) Battalion HLI which he had raised organised and trained. In May 1915 he and his battalion were sent to France.68 Clara appears to have spent at least some time in London as on June 5 1915 an advertisement appears in the Hamilton Advertiser asking for donations for comforts for the 10th Battalion HLI  and that donations be sent to Mrs J C Grahame wife of Lt Colonel Grahame  at  the  Dover Street address.

An entry in Clara’s diary for 25  September 1915 tells us that Jack was badly gassed at the Battle of Loos.  In January 1916 he was Mentioned in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished conduct in the field’.69 He continued to command the 10th battalion until March 1916 when he was invalided home presumably because of the cumulative effects of front line service. Later entries in Clara’s diary inform us that she went to visit him in hospital in Dublin and brought him back to England on the night boat.70 What Clara does not mention, perhaps because she was preoccupied with Jack, was that her nephew John,son of Clara’s brother Herbert, was killed on 25 September71  and her brother Harry was wounded while commanding the 15th Battalion HLI and for which he won the DSO.72

Jack returned to the front in December 1916 in command of the 10th/11th HLI, then the 12th Battalion, later the 9th Battalion (The Glasgow Highlanders). Finally he assumed field command of his old battalion the 2nd HLI. Also in December 1916 he was promoted to full Lt Colonel.73 In  April 1917 at the Battle of Arras Jack was severely wounded and  this put an end to his front line service until the end of the war.74 There is no information at this point as to Clara’s activities during the war.

From 1918                                                                    

In October 1919 Jack attended the funeral of Major General  Scrase- Dickinson who had been invalided out of the HLI after the Battle of Loos in October 1917 and never recovered. Scrase -Dickinson had been best man at Jack and Clara’s wedding in July 1905.75

Jack retired from the army in 192176 as a result of his wounds and he and Clara lived at Lingo House until 1951.There are few snippets of information about Jack and Clara during the 1920s.  On 1 January 1927 The Scotsman reported a break-in at Lingo House on 18/19 November  when James Taylor of no fixed abode stole an Indian tweed overcoat, scarf, lady’s coat, three postage stamps and two message bags. Taylor was sent to prison for six months.

Figure 15. Clara in later life. © R.Purvis.

There is little information about Jack and Clara in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.  Clara’s brother Robert owned the nearby Gilmerton and Brigton Estates while her brother Harry lived at Kinaldy which he had bought from his elder brother Alexander in 1921.77 One presumes there would be contact between the siblings. Clara’s great nephew John Purvis  remembers cycling over to Lingo to visit Clara and despite her fearsome reputation does not remember having any problem with his great-aunt and describes Jack as  ‘quite delightfully easy going‘.78 There are numerous mentions in the local press about Jack’s salmon fishing on the River Tay. One day in February 1935 he caught a 20lb salmon79, in January 1937 a 22lb fish80 and in January 1939 a 27lb salmon.81

In November 1940, 551 acres of the Lingo Estate was requisitioned for war use.82 According to his obituary Jack played his part in the Home Guard from 1940 until 1944.83

According to family legend Clara continued to be a force to be reckoned with. One story relates how a visitor to Lingo during the war found the local post lady sitting in the hall. When asked why she replied that she had been ordered by Mrs Grahame to wait until she had finished her correspondence so the post lady could take it with her to the post office.84                                                                  

In 1949 Jack made a claim to the General Claims Tribunal for damage done during the requisition period. He was awarded £1500.   At a  different tribunal, the Land Court  in 1951, the Secretary of State put in a claim for £3430 for improvements done during the requisition period. This was reduced to £2150 and was upheld by the Land Court. A case of two tribunals looking at an issue from different points of view as the judges commented. The final outcome of the matter is unknown.85

Jack and Clara sold Lingo in October 1951 and moved to an apartment in Cameron House Arden Dunbartonshire86 where they lived until Jack’s death on 19 August 1952.He was buried in Dunino Churchyard with representatives of the Highland Light Infantry honouring him.87

Clara moved back to Fife and lived in a flat at Strathvithie House, Dunino. She died two years later on 17th August 1954 and was buried in Dunino Churchyard alongside Jack.88

As well as the three paintings she donated to Glasgow Museums Clara donated  to the 2nd Battalion  HLI a  silver bowl which Jack had won in Jersey riding his horse Sir James. To the regimental depot she left a testimonial for valor  signed by King George V after the 1914-18 war along with an oak display table and a French cabinet containing Jack’s  manuscripts with maps and portraits of the history of the 74th Highland Regiment. After several bequests the residue of her estate   which was £24,714  was used to  set up the John Grahame of Lingo Memorial Trust  which is still used to help the families of former HLI soldiers especially for education purposes.89 

Appendix.   The Hawaii Connection

Archibald Scott Cleghorn whose family came from   Anstruther in Fife,  had gone out to Honolulu with his father in 1851 to set up a dry goods business. He stayed on after his father’s death and expanded the business. He married Miriam K Likelike, his second wife, whose brother David became the King of Hawaii in 1874. As David had no children the Cleghorn’s daughter Victoria Kaiulani (Princess Kaiulani) became heir presumptive to the throne of Hawaii. Hers is an interesting but sad story. She returned to Hawaii after a British education only to see her country annexed by the USA in 1893 and died in 1899 at the age of twenty-three.90

Clara’ brother Herbert had gone out to Hawaii in the late 1870s to join his father’s cousin Robert Purvis who had invested in a sugar plantation in Hawaii, John Purvis having given Herbert £1000 to start him off.  The investment at Kukuihaele was extended to include a sugar mill.91

The Cleghorn family were related to the Sprots of Strathnivie, the estate which bordered Kinaldy and so were neighbours of the Purvises.92  Nancy Sprot was a bridesmaid at Jack and Clara’s wedding.93Through that connection the Purvis family became close to Princess Kaiulane . She was godmother to Herbert’s daughter Inez and gave her a napkin ring made of silver Hawaiian coins as a christening gift. This gift is still in the  possession of the Purvis Family. Clara must have known her, as she signed Kauilane’s autograph book sometime in the 1880s, probably during the time the princess was at school in Britain.94


  2. Felicia Pepys Cockerell
  4. Parish Records
  5. Census Records 1851
  6. ibid 1861
  7. Statutory Deaths
  10. Purvis,John Purvis Family History(PFH) unpublished. p.1178
  11. PFH p.1198
  12. PFH pp.1179,1180,1203,1218
  13. PFH pp.1175-1177
  14. Clark, Aylwin John Purvis of Kinaldy 1820-1909. 1995 unpublished. p6. Based on Purvis family papers. University of St Andrews Special Collections.MS 38684/1.Misc Box 1 No 57 (Clark)
  15. ibid p 54
  16. Clark pp. 54-62
  17. ibid p.13
  18. ibid p.18
  20. op cit Clark p.14
  21. ibid pp. 50-51
  22. Maynard, Constance. Green Book Diaries 1878/1879/1880 cit Clark p.51
  1. ibid p.38
  2. ibid p.14
  3. ibid p.11
  4. ibid p.14
  5. Census Records 1881
  7. op cit Clark p.14
  8. ibid p.15
  9. Dundee Courier 21/08/1885 p.8
  10. ibid 26/09/1884
  11. op cit Clark p.34
  12. East of Fife Record 12/03/1886 p.3
  13. op cit Clark p.16
  14. Diary of Alice Clara Purvis. Family Papers. Unpublished. December 1889 (Diary ACP)
  15. Clark p.16
  16. op cit Diary  ACP  1890
  1. ibid 1891
  2. ibid 1893
  3. op cit Clark p.16
  4. op cit Diary ACP 1896
  5. op cit Clark p.16
  6. Census Records 1901
  7. op cit Clark p.16
  8. ibid p.17-18
  9. Dundee Evening Telegraph 30/10/1903 p.5
  10. op cit Clark p.17
  11. Fife Record 04/08/1905 p.5
  12. op cit Clark p.18
  13. Diary of Alice Clara Grahame (Diary ACG )15/10/1905. Purvis Family Papers unpublished
  14. op cit Clark p.18
  15. ibid p.19
  16. ibid p.18
  17. op cit Diary ACG 07/09/1905
  18. ibid January -March 1906
  19. ibid January-November 1908
  20. CrumGrahameDSO.html
  21. op cit PFH p.1177
  22. 61 ibid p.1178
  23. ibid p.1202
  24. Army Lists 1910
  25. op cit ref 59
  26. Army and Navy Gazette 14/01/1911 p.29
  27. Army Lists 1913
  28. Daily Record 10/07/1914 p.6
  29. op cit ref 59
  30. ibid
  31. op cit Diary ACG post March 1916
  32. op cit PFH p.1197
  33. ibid p.1203
  34. op cit ref 59
  35. Dundee  Courier  20/08/1952 p.4. Obituary for John Crum Grahame DSO
  36. West Sussex Gazette 30/10/1919 p.10
  37. Army and Navy Gazette 10/09/1921 p.452
  38. op cit PFH p.1204
  39.  Interview with John Purvis 28/10/20
  40. Dundee Courier 05/02/1935 p.9
  41. Perthshire Advertiser 20/01/1937 p.14
  42. Scotsman 31/01/1939 p.16
  43. St Andrews Citizen 17/03/1951 p.6
  44. op cit ref 74
  45. op cit ref 79
  46. op.cit ref 82
  47. Dundee Courier 10/10/1951 p.2
  48. St Andrews Citizen 30/08/1952 p.6
  49. op cit PFH p.1202
  50. St  Andrews Citizen  6/11/1954 p.6
  52. op cit Clark pp6-7; 28-32
  53. Information from John Purvis e-mail 30/10/2019
  54. op.cit ref 90
  55. op.cit PFH pp.1196-7



My grateful thanks to Clara’s great -nephew John Purvis and his wife Louisa for welcoming me into their home and sharing information about the history of Purvis Family which John has been researching for many years. I am particularly grateful for his discovery of Aylwin Clarks biography of Clara’s father John Purvis of Kinaldy. Thanks also to their son Rob who also welcomed me into his home and gave me permission to use wonderful family photographs and portraits. Rob was also responsible for extracting invaluable information from Clara’s diaries which I used in Clara’s story. Last but not least I must thank Angela Tawse, Librarian of St Leonard’s School, St Andrews for confirming Clara’s attendance at the school and for putting me in touch with the Purvis family. JMM


Miss Christina Russell 1877-1939

Miss Christina Russell left four paintings to Glasgow in 1927. (1) They were Lochranza Castle by William Beattie Brown; Arcady by Cecil Ray; Glenn Affric by Horatio McCulloch and Kirkcudbright by James G Laing.


Lochranza Castle by William Beattie Brown © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection
Figure 1. Lochranza Castle by William Beattie Brown. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Figure 2. McCulloch, Horatio, 1805-1867; Glen Affric
Figure 2. McCulloch, Horatio; Glen Affric. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Rea, Cecil William, 1860-1935; In Arcady
Figure 3. Rea, Cecil William; In Arcady. © CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Christina Russell can be seen as a not atypical female donor to Glasgow Museums at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is much easier to define her by the details of male relatives’ lives and by the houses in which she lived than to find anything about her own interests and pursuits. She was born on 24 July 1877 in Glasgow (2) to Thomas Russell and his wife Jessie, née McGregor, then living in Bute Terrace, Queens Park, Glasgow. Her father was a retail fruit merchant who sold from the Old Fruit Market in Glasgow in partnership with William Turnbull and their names may be seen on the balcony in the Old Fruit Market. (3)

Figure 3. © Culture and Sport Glasgow (Arts and Music)

The business was dissolved in 1923 on the retirement of three of the Turnbull brothers and continued by Thomas Russell, the son, as sole owner(4). There were three other children, Catherine ((1876 to 8 June 1961)(5), Thomas (1879 to 8 February 1927)(6) and Alexander (1883 to 19 January 1915).(7) Christine lived in the family home all her life moving from Kinning Park to Govan, 29 Princess Square,(8) and then finally to Newark Drive in Pollokshields. (9)  In the next 10 years family members died and she was left alone.Her brother Alexander had married Margaret Ritchie in London in 1912(10) and moved back to Glasgow to Fotheringay Road where he died in 1915. (11)   Her father, Thomas, died in April 19, 1915. (12) His obituary said that he had been a Justice of the  Peace and one time Chairman of the Agricultural Society.(13) Her mother, Jessie, died in July 1925 (14) and her brother, Thomas, died in July 1927.(15) Her sister-in-law, Margaret Russell lived in Terregles Avenue.(16)


The Wills of Thomas senior ((17) and of his son Thomas (18) show that both were successful businessmen. It was after the death of her brother Thomas that she gave these four paintings to Glasgow. Was this the reason for the donation? There is no information about the purchase of these paintings and who was the art lover.

Christine Russell died on 1 November 1939(19) and her ashes are buried in the family lair in Cathcart Cemetery. Unfortunately the gravestone is face down but details were available from East Renfrewshire Council(20).


  1. Glasgow City Council Minutes.
  2. National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1877
  3. © Culture and Sport Glasgow (Arts and Music)
  4. Edinburgh Gazette: May1, 1923. Page649
  5. National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1876
  6. National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1879
  7. National Records of Scotland Statutory Births 1883
  8. National Records of Scotland Census 1901
  9. National Records of Scotland Census 1911
  10. London, England. Church of England Marriages and Banns.1754.1932
  11. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1915
  12. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1915
  13. Glasgow Herald,1915. Obituary
  14. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1925
  15. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1927
  16. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1939
  17. National Records of Scotland Statutory Wills and Testaments 1917
  18. National Records of Scotland Statutory Wills and Testaments 1927
  19. National Records of Scotland Statutory Deaths 1939
  20. Cathcart Cemetery Records. East Renfrewshire Council

Amy Esther Coultate (1852 – 1930)

How does it come about that an English spinster lady, of no note whatsoever as was typical of most of her class at the time, donates a painting to Glasgow? The answer lies not with her father William Miller Coultate who was born in England but with her maternal great uncle James whose life, friendships and achievements were typical of the men who made the Industrial Revolution.

Figure 1 Letter to James Paton © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

On the 13th November 1912 Miss Amy Esther Coultate of Colwyn Bay wrote to James Paton the Superintendent of Glasgow Corporation Art Galleries offering to Glasgow a portrait of the Scottish poet Thomas Campbell by the artist James Lonsdale.[1] In a second letter to James Paton Miss Coultate stated that she had always understood the portrait had been painted at the request of her maternal great uncle James Thomson who paid the artist 500 guineas, and had been done at Primrose House, Clitheroe, the home of her great uncle, where the poet sometime stayed.[2]

Figure 2 Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), Poet by Jamesonsdale (1777-1839). © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (

Miss Coultate was the middle child of three and was born in 1852 to William Miller Coultate and Eliza Jane Thomson, James Thomson’s niece, and was baptized at Holy Trinity Church in Habergham Eaves, a suburb of Burnley in Lancashire.[3] Her elder sister Marion Elizabeth and younger brother Arthur William were born in 1850[4] and 1856 respectively.[5]

Her father, born in Clitheroe, Lancashire in 1813, was a surgeon and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England. He had been in practice in Burnley since 1836 after completing his studies in Dublin. He was also vice president of the British Medical Association in Lancashire and Cheshire and had at one time been surgeon of the Fifth Royal Lancashire Militia.[6]

His wife Eliza Jane Thomson was born in 1821[7], the daughter of William Thomson, the brother of James, both of whom were calico printers. They married in 1849[8] and lived at 1 to 3 Yorke Street in Burnley for most of their married life and where William also had his practice.[9]

Amy’s mother died at a relatively young age in 1871.[10] As was typical for wives of the time perhaps she left very little, her ‘effects’ being valued at less than £20.

The family continued to live in Yorke Street and in the 1881 census, no occupation for any of the children is given despite them being well into their twenties.[11] In subsequent censuses the sisters are recorded as living on private means, and Arthur is described as a gentleman when he marries in 1883.[12]

Amy’s father died in 1882 from an apoplectic seizure. He left an estate valued at £4583 11s 11d, probate being granted to a fellow surgeon, Joseph Anningson, and Amy’s sister Marion Elizabeth.[13]

The two sisters, who never married, by 1901 were living together at Cae Gwyn,[14] Colwyn Bay. Marion died in 1902, leaving an estate valued at £3757 17s 2d, probate being granted to Amy.[15]

Both sisters clearly led very uneventful, unremarkable lives essentially living on their inheritances from their father. Amy’s one departure from the ordinary appears to have been a trip she made on the SS Hildebrand in 1920. Its departure port was Manaos, Brazil. Her port of embarkation was Lisbon, arriving in Liverpool on 25th March. At this time she was living in Southport.[16] She died on 29th October 1930 at the Barna Private Hotel, Hindhead, Surrey. She left an estate valued at £4155 0s 6d.[17]

If Amy’s life was that of a typical Victorian spinster, her great uncle James’s life was that of an educated, entrepreneurial, enlightened male of the Industrial Revolution. He was born in 1779 in Blackburn to John Thomson, (a “Scotch” gentleman), and his wife Elizabeth. His father was an iron-liquor merchant, a fixing chemical used in the calico dyeing industry.

In 1793 he attended Glasgow University befriending Gregory Watt, the son of James Watt and the poet Thomas Campbell. At the age of sixteen he joined the calico printing company of Joseph Peel & Co in London remaining there for six years developing his knowledge and understanding of the chemical technology involved in the industry through study and friendships with scientists including Sir Humphrey Davy and William Hyde Wollaston.

Joseph Peel was an uncle of Sir Robert Peel, 1st Baronet, and there is a suggestion, not proven, that James Thomson’s mother Elizabeth was a sister of Sir Robert. If true, that plus the fact of his father’s involvement in the calico industry would certainly have aided his employment with Joseph Peel.

He subsequently managed the company’s works near Accrington until 1810 at which time he set up his own calico printing company in partnership with John Chippendale of Blackburn, the new company eventually being established at Primrose near Clitheroe. He travelled extensively in Europe to further his business, his fundamental drive being to identify and implement scientific improvement to his printing processes. In 1821 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He supported schools of design and the extension of copyright periods for dress patterns as he believed this would establish and enhance standards for the industry as a whole. His skill as a chemist and his process improvements in design and printing led to him being referred to as the ‘Duke of Wellington’ of calico printing.[18]

Figure 3 James Thomson, FRS (1779-1850) by JamesLonsdale © Salford Museum and Art Gallery; (

He married Cecilia Starkie in 1806[19] and had four sons and three daughters[20], which raises the question of how the painting came into Miss Coultate’s possession. With so many children the expectation would have been that one of his offspring would inherit. Unfortunately, this research has not established how it came to her; via her mother seeming the most likely route.

James was mayor of Clitheroe in 1836-1837 and became a JP in 1840. He died at home on 17 September 1850 whilst preparing for the Great Exhibition of 1851. He is buried in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Clitheroe.[21]

The artist James Lonsdale was a friend of Thomson’s and was a frequent visitor to his home. He was a popular portrait painter of the day and painted many eminent individuals including British and foreign royalty. His portrait of Thomson is in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery.[22]




[1] Object Files at Glasgow Museum Resource Centre (GMRC), Nitshill.

[2] Ibid

[3] Baptisms (PR) England. Habergham Eaves, Burnley, Lancashire. 25 May 1852. COULTATE, Amy Esther. Register; Baptisms 1837-1863, Page 139, Entry 1108. LDS Film 1526142. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project.

[4] Baptisms (PR) England. Habergham Eaves, Burnley, Lancashire. 29 March 1850. COULTATE, Marion Elizabeth. Register; Baptisms 1837-1863, Page 114, Entry 911. LDS Film 1526142. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project.

[5] Baptisms (PR) England. Habergham Eaves, Burnley, Lancashire. 27 September 1856. COULTATE, Arthur William. Register; Baptisms 1837-1863, Page 202, Entry 1613. LDS Film 1526142. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project.

[6] 1882 ‘The British Medical Journal’. Obituaries. 18 March 1882, p. 407.

[7] Baptisms (PR) England. Clitheroe, Lancashire. 8 August 1821. THOMSON, Eliza Jane. Register; Baptisms 1813-1829, Page 93, Entry 741. LDS Film 1278857. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project.

[8] Marriages (PR) England. Habergham Eaves, Burnley, Lancashire. 20 February 1849. COULTATE, William Miller and THOMSON, Eliza Jane. Collection: Lancashire, England Marriages and Banns 1754-1936. Reference Pr 3098/1/13.

[9] Census. 1861. England. Burnley, Lancashire. RG9, Piece: 3065; Folio: 12; Page: 18; GSU roll: 543073.

[10] Testamentary records. England. 8 February 1872. COULTATE, Eliza Jane. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 293. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966.

[11] Census. 1881. England. Burnley, Lancashire. RG11; Piece: 4146; Page: 11; GSU roll: 1341993.

[12] Marriages (PR) England. Burnley, Lancashire. 6 January 1883. COULTATE, Arthur William and BRIDGES, Mary Jane. Lancashire, England Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936  

[13] Testamentary records. England. 20 May 1882. COULTATE, William Miller. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 338. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966.

[14] Census. 1901. Wales. Llandrillo yn Rhos, Colwyn Bay, Caernarvonshire. RG13, Piece:5290; Folio:10; Page:11.

[15] Testamentary records. England. 19 December 1902. COULTATE, Marian, Elizabeth. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p. 169. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966.

[16] Passenger List for S.S. Hildebrand arriving Liverpool. COULTATE, Amy Esther. 25 March 1920. Collection: UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1870-1960.

[17] Testamentary records. England. 3 January 1931. COULTATE, Amy Esther. Principal Probate Registry, Calendar of the Grants of Probate. p.791. Collection: England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1966.

[18] Aspin, Christopher. (2004) Thomson, James (1779-1850). In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[19] Marriages (PR) England. Blackburn, Lancashire. 18 March 1806. THOMSON, James and STARKIE, Cecilia. Register; Marriages 1801-1809, Page 357, Entry 1419. LDS Film 1278807. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project.

[20] Thomson baptisms Lancashire 1808 to 1820, parishes of Church Bridge and Clitheroe. Lancashire Online Parish Clerk Project.

[21] Aspin, Christopher. (2004) Thomson, James (1779-1850). In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[22] Cust, L.H. (2008) Lonsdale, James (1778-1839) In Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Miss Catherine Spence Howden

A Spring Roundelay by E.A. Hornel. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (

In May1914, Miss Catherine S. Howden and her brother gave A Spring Roundelay by E.A. Hornel to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  The painting now hangs in the City Chambers in the Satinwood Room.

Catherine Spence Howden was born in 1875in Helensburgh, (1) though her birth certificate cannot be sourced. She was the daughter of James Howden and his first wife, Helen Burgess Adams (2). She had two younger brothers James and William born to his second wife, Allison Hay. In the 1891 census the family were living at 66 Berkeley Street in Glasgow.

In 1892, she matriculated at the Queen Margaret College in Glasgow (3) in the Faculty of Arts where she studied for three years. Then in 1895, she enrolled in the Medical School there. In Glasgow University Archives there are records of her enrolment in classes until 1900 and she progressed through the years to her final year. There is no record that she graduated. Since the archives do not keep records of class tickets there is no reason given for this. In July 1899(5), her stepmother died of a cerebral tumour, having been ill for ten months, leaving two sons who were teenagers. Her family commitments may have meant she had to change her plans. In 1901(6), she is living with her father and two teenage brothers at 2 Princes Terrace, Dowanhill, Glasgow. It is possible to keep track of her through the census and valuation rolls. Her brother James died on 16th January 1908 in Montreux, Switzerland (7). Her father died in 1913 (8), leaving her a substantial legacy (9) so that she could live on private means. In 1915, she was living as proprietor (10) at 15 Mirrilees Drive and was proprietor of Lodge Cottage in Cove.

An Article in the Glasgow Herald after her death states that “During her lifetime, Miss Howden was a generous patron of art and music in Glasgow”.

The City Council minutes(11) of 1914 acknowledge the gift of A Spring Roundelay by E A Hornel presented by Miss C S Howden, 2 Princes Terrace, Dowanhill, on behalf of her brother and herself.  In the City Council minutes of February 1919(12), Miss Howden’s donation of 17 etchings and prints by Whistler, Legres, Beuer, Gordon Craig, Zorn, Haddon, Maryon and Muirhead Bone to the recently established Print Room in Kelvingrove is acknowledged. It has not been possible to trace her membership of societies in Glasgow related to Art or Music.

She died on the3rd May 1925 (13) and her death certificate is signed by Dr Marion Gilchrist, the first female graduate in Medicine from Glasgow University, who was her contemporary. Soon after her death, articles appeared in the Glasgow Herald (14) because of a further bequest to the City of Glasgow. “In all Miss Howden’s bequest consists of 117 etchings and prints, a portfolio of 21 etchings by Charles Keene-one of a set of 150-and Muirhead Bone’s 50 lithographs of Glasgow, with notes on Glasgow by A.H. Charteris, published in 1911 in a limited edition of 900 copies by Messrs James Macclehose and Sons. The collection contains such valuables as an etching by Van Dyck, one by Van Oestede, one by Durer and four by the master etcher, Rembrandt.” These were seen as a valuable addition to the print room of the Art Galleries which was then in the early stages of development. Full details of the bequest are detailed in the Council minute of June 19th, 1925(15). In her will (16) she left £5,000 to endow a scholarship at Edinburgh University in the name of her nephew Dr Andrew Adams Rutherford and a painting by Stuart Park to an aunt and uncle.

James Howden (1832-1913)

James Howden (17)(18) was an engineer and business man who displayed great talent for innovation and an enterprising business flair. He was born in East Lothian and moved to Glasgow in 1847. His apprenticeship was with engine builders James Gray and Company. He set up his own business as a consulting engineer in 1854. In 1862, he established the firm of James Howden and Company to manufacture engines and boilers specialising especially in boilers for ships. The invention for which he is remembered is the Forced Draught Engine. This enabled ships to go twice as fast on half the amount of coal and greatly contributed to trade around the world.

He married twice. He was married to Helen Burgess Adams and they had a daughter, Catherine. His second marriage, in 1872, was to Alison Moffat Hay (19) and there were 2 sons. His son James, who studied engineering at Glasgow University, predeceased him in 1908 and William was a director of the company but died childless in 1943 (20). In 1882, a nephew, James Howden Hume, joined the company and a limited company was established in 1907. Howden Hume succeeded as company chairman on his uncle’s death. Howden (21) is still based in Renfrewshire providing air and gas handling products in over 20 countries world wide.

In his will (22), James Howden left £388,251, leaving his daughter well provided.


  1. National Records of Scotland Census 1891
  2. Ancestry
  3. Queen Margaret College
  4. Glasgow University Archives
  5. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1899
  6. National Records of Scotland Census 1901
  7. The Scotsman. 17th January 1908
  8. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1913
  9. National Records of Scotland Wills and Testaments 1913
  10. National Records of Scotland Valuation Rolls 1915
  11. Glasgow City Council Minutes 1914. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  12. Glasgow City Council Minutes 1919. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  13. National Records of Scotland Statutory Register of Deaths 1925
  14. The Glasgow Herald. June 20th 1925
  15. Glasgow City Council Minutes 1925. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  16. National Records of Scotland Wills and Testaments 1925
  17. The Bailie 3rd April 1895. Mitchell Library, Glasgow
  18. Munro C.W. “James Howden” in Slaven A. A Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography Aberdeen. Aberdeen University Press, 1986. pp165-167
  19. Ancestry
  20. Hume D.H. Douglas Hume : A Personal Story: the Howden Heritage. Belfast,2009
  22. National Records of Scotland Wills and Testaments 1913


Felicia Pepys Cockerell 1890-1970

Felicia Pepys Cockerell 1890-1970


Harding, Chester, 1792-1866; Robert Grahame (1759-1851), Lord Provost of Glasgow (1833-1834)
Fig.1. Robert Grahame of Whitehill (1759-1851) Lord Provost of Glasgow 1833-4 by Chester Harding (1792-1866 )© CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection. (

Artist  : Harding was an American portrait painter. He was born in Massachusets of humble origins. He was largely self-taught but became very successful. He spent time in Europe between 1823 and 1826 and was very popular. Even members of the royal family commissioned him. This portrait was probably painted around 1825 as another portrait by Harding of Thomas Grahame, Robert’s son, has a date of 1825. Our portrait was exhibited in Glasgow in 1868 in an Exhibition of Portraits held at ‘The New Galleries of Art’,Sauchiehall Street (McLellan Galleries).  It was loaned by Thomas Grahame of Leamington Spa – son of Robert Grahame(1) .


The portrait was presented to Glasgow Museums on 26th November 1947 by  Felicia Pepys Cockerell (FPC) of Brook House Aldermasten,  Berkshire2. The first question one must ask is how a lady living in Berkshire in 1947 came to possess a portrait of a former Lord Provost of Glasgow? In fact  FPC was the great-great granddaughter of Robert Grahame and the portrait was probably handed down through the generations of the family. The diagram below shows the link between  FPC and Robert Grahame.

Grahame Family Tree

Fig. 2. Jackie Macaulay

Robert Grahame (1759-1851)

Robert Grahame was born on 28th December 1759 in Stockwell Street, the son of Thomas Grahame, Writer to the Signet, (Solicitor) and from 1751 a member of the Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow. Robert followed his father into the legal profession and went into partnership with his father as the firm of  “Thomas and Robert Grahame”. He joined the Faculty of Procurators in 1792. On the death of Thomas Grahame in 1791 Robert carried on the practice alone until 1802 when he went into partnership with Andrew Mitchell and the practice became “Grahame and Mitchell”. ‘No firm ever stood higher in Glasgow’.

Robert married Helen Geddes(1751-1824) of Cupar, Fife, in 1786.They had four surviving children (see above diagram),one of whom was James Grahame, our donor’s great grandfather.

In 1797 Robert bought Whitehill House and Estate in what is now the east end of Glasgow in   the suburb of Denniston. The original house(the centre part) was  built by John Glassford , one of the Glasgow Tobacco Lords. Glassford sold the estate in 1759 to John Wallace of Neilstonside who in turn sold it to a retired London merchant, Nathaniel Gordon. Robert Grahame bought it from John Gordon, son of Nathaniel. The house remained in the Grahame family until the 1840s. It was eventually sold to the Denniston family3.

thumb_Whitehill House
Fig. 3. Whitehill House from The old country houses of the old Glasgow gentry. John Guthrie Smith and John Oswald Mitchell, 1878. Glasgow: James Maclehose & Sons.

Robert was one of the most respected  men of his time in Glasgow.   He was well-known for his liberal and democratic views . He was an ardent supporter of the emancipation of slaves, a friend and correspondent of William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson. He was against oppression throughout the world. He was President of the Glasgow Emancipation Society for many years. He was known to support the American War of Independence and be not entirely unsympathetic to the aims of the French Revolution. In 1793 the British Government was in something of a panic regarding the holding of liberal views and feared that the ideals of the French revolution might spread to Britain. As a result of this Robert was watched by the government. The Lord Provost of Glasgow received instructions from the Lord Advocate to activate an arrest warrant drawn up for Robert Grahame. The Lord Provost wrote to the Lord Advocate saying that such was the esteem in which Robert Grahame was held in the town that he could not guarantee civic order if Robert Grahame were to be arrested.  As the Lord Provost was Grahame’s political opponent it says a lot for the reputation and standing of Robert Grahame at the time. He was not bothered again.

This fracas did not prevent Grahame from acting as an agent in the defence of Thomas Muir and the political martyrs of 1793 or in trying to get a reprieve in 1819-20 for Hardy and Baird and James Wilson for their part in the Radical Insurrection of that year.

Grahame campaigned long and hard for Parliamentary Reform and was the first Lord Provost of Glasgow (1833-4) to be elected after the passing of the Reform Act. However by 1834 his health and his age was beginning to take its toll and he only served a year as Lord Provost. He left Glasgow for warmer climes and went to live  on the south coast of England. The 1841 Census finds him living with his daughter, Ann Donald, in Clifton, near Bristol. In 1851 he was staying with his son Thomas in Chorley Wood near Watford in Hertfordshire. He died on December 28th 1851 at Hatton Hall Northamptonshire, aged 91. Whether or not this was his home is not known  at this time4.

James Grahame (1790-1842)

The next name in the story is Robert Grahame’s eldest son James who was born in Glasgow on 21st December 1790. James was educated at the Grammar School of Glasgow in George Street. This became the High School of Glasgow in 1834. He then attended classes at Glasgow University where he heard lectures from Professor Playfair. Around 1810 he became a student at St John’s College Cambridge, it is thought to study literature as he had literary ambitions. Even though James’s time at Cambridge was short, while there he became great friends with a fellow student, John Herschel, who is to play a pivotal role in our story . John Herschel, later Sir John Herschel, became known as an astronomer and chemist.

During one university vacation James met and fell in love with a woman called Matilda Robley. As he wanted to marry Matilda  James went back to Scotland to study for the Scottish Bar in Edinburgh, presumably to be able to support a wife. He was called to the Scottish Bar as an advocate in June1812 and married Matilda in Stoke Newington in October 1813.

Unfortunately he found the practising of law not to his taste. He wrote to a friend,   (possibly John Herschel), ”Until now I have been my own master and I now resign my independence for a service I dislike”. However he does seem to have carried on a satisfactory practice, no doubt spurred on by his love for his wife, as he further wrote,  “Love and ambition unite to incite my industry.”

Who was this woman who captured James’s heart? According to one of her teachers, a Mrs Barbauld, she was “…young, beautiful, amiable and accomplished…. with a fine fortune”5. Ironically much of Matilda’s fine fortune came from the profits of plantations owned by her uncle , Joseph Robley, in Tobago. Sugar and  cotton were the crops grown on the plantations. Joseph owned several plantations and thousands of slaves. Matilda’s father, John Robley, managed the business from the London end. The Robleys lived at Fleetwood House, Stoke Newington6. How this all sat with James who had been brought up by a father who abhorred slavery in all its forms can only be guessed at. According to Eleanor M Harris, James was,” so moved at the privilege of gaining her that it brought about a religious conversion which lasted the rest of his life.” It must have been a case of love conquering all!

James and Matilda had three children: Anne(b1814), Robert (b. 1816) and Matilda (b.1817). Tragically daughter Anne died in 1817,followed by  much loved  wife Matilda in 1818. James was said to never really recover from these events.” He was left with his religion, his children, and the wealth”. After Matilda’s death the children, Robert and Matilda were left with a ninth share of the Tobago estate with James inheriting a life rent of it. In 1827  wrote that,”My conscience was quite laid to sleep.Like many others, Idi not do what  I could, because I could not do what I wished. For years past something more than a fifth part of my income has been derived from the labour of slaves. God forgive me for having tainted my store!…Never more shall the price of blood enter my pocket!…Till we can legally divest ourselves of every share, every shilling…is to be devoted to the use of some part of the unhappy race from whose suffering it is derived”. When his children were of age they gave up their shares.7

James Grahame was not of robust health. The death of Anne in 1817 and then of his wife the following year brought on illness which threatened his life (though it is not known  what the illness  was). However he slowly began to take up his literary pursuits again. He had previously written pamphlets on various subjects such as   Inquiry into the Principle of Population’  in 1816 and  in 1817 a spirited defence of Scottish Presbyterianism in opposition to Walter Scott’s ‘ The Tales of my Landlord ‘ which Grahame said subjected them to contempt. In 1823 he went to the Low Countries for his health. Also in that year he was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. About the same  time,influenced by his father , he began to think about what was to prove the main work of his life, writing a history of the United States of America. One of his chief interests was American history. Washington and Franklin were his great heroes.

In 1825 his mother, Helen Geddes, died at Whitehill. In London in 1825 and early 1826  James was again suffering illness and depression. He was still working at his law practice in Edinburgh when his doctors prescribed moving to a warmer climate. In March 1826 he wrote,”I am now preparing to strike my tent…I quit my profession without regret, having little liked it and greatly neglected it.”

In 1827 the first two volumes of his history of the United States was published– ‘The History of the Rise and progress of the United States of  North America ‘till the British Revolution in 1688. During 1827 and 1828 he spent time in Madeira, Paris and Nantes, travelling for his health. He stayed in Nantes until May 1828. By December 1829 the 3rd and 4th Volumes of his history of the USA had been published-‘ The History of the United States of North America from the Plantation of the Colonies ‘Till their Revolt and Declaration of Independence. It has to be said that the works did not arouse much interest on either side of the Atlantic.

James suffered another bout of ill health and returned to Nantes where he spent much of his time, especially the winters, until his death. In 1830 he married  Jane A. Wilson, daughter of the Reverend Mr Wilson ,Protestant pastor in Nantes. Apparently this was a very happy marriage. Matilda, James’s daughter by his first marriage, lived with them in Nantes. She was of fragile health also and the new Mrs Grahame looked after them both very well. The family stayed at the Chateau L’Eperonniere. They took a central role in Nantes society and became warmly attached to the French people of Nantes.

About this time James began revising the four volumes of his history of the USA. Perhaps this was because in 1831 a favourable review of the first two volumes appeared in the North  American Review. He was urged by writer Washington Irving himself to write a history of the Revolutionary Wars.The first real evidence of public respect for his works in the United States came in August 1839 when he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Harvard University.  This was in recognition of his writings after the four volumes were republished in 1837 and in 1839 an American edition was published in Philadelphia.

Although James himself was backwards and forwards between London and Nantes, having to oversee his publications, his family remained mostly in Nantes. This was mainly because his daughter Matilda had several life-threatening periods of illness during the early 1830s. Much to everyone’s surprise she made a full recovery and went on to marry the next player in our story, John Stewart (1814-1887). They married in Nantes in 1839. (See below- Fig 4 Stewart Family).

James Grahame spent much of the remainder of his life in Nantes along with his wife and his daughter and son-in law who split their time between London and Nantes. His final publication was, ‘ Who is to Blame? Or a Cursory View of the American Apology for American Accession to Negro Slavery which was published in 1841/42. There is some evidence that James intended to return to live in Britain.  He died in London on 3rd July 18428.

The Stewart  Family

As we have seen, Matilda Grahame became Matilda Stewart on 2nd October 1839. Who was John Stewart and what was his family background?

Alexander Stewart (1764-1821)

From the family tree below9, John Stewart was the son of Alexander Stewart, a Scottish Presbyterian minister. At the time of John’s birth  his father was  parish minister in Dingwall, Ross-shire . Alexander Stewart was of the Evangelical wing of the Church of Scotland, having undergone a ‘conversion ‘ about 1796. He supported the abolition of slavery and the non-consumption of sugar, rum and tobacco as part of that support. His work  ‘Elements of Gaelic Grammar’ first published in 1801 , went into 12 editions between 1807 and 1823.

John Stewart’s mother was Alexander’s second wife, Emilia Calder, eldest daughter of Charles Calder, Minister of Urquart, Ross-shire. She and Alexander  had eight children. John, born in 1814, was the youngest. His sister, Margaret Brodie, born in 1810, plays an important part in our story. Alexander’s first wife was Louisa who died around 1799, having had two children, Alexander, who went on to be one of the Disruption Worthies of the 1843 Disruption of the Church of Scotland , and Catherine who married a local minister in Ross-shire.

Alexander had been plagued with ill health for several years, an unspecified internal complaint which caused him much pain. He decided, on the advice of his doctors, to take his family to Edinburgh where better medical facilities were available. Around 1819 the Stewart family moved to Edinburgh, living at some point, according to the Edinburgh Post Office Directory,at 5,Hermitage Place. Alexander’s health improved somewhat and when the minister in charge of Canongate Parish died suddenly, Alexander was given the post, thanks to the influence of one of his wife’s family. Unfortunately the illness returned with a vengeance in the winter of 1820 and although he valiantly carried out his duties as parish minister, he died on May 27th 182110. John was only about seven years old when his father died. The family appeared to have stayed in Edinburgh until about 1830 when they moved to London.

Stewart Family Tree

Fig. 4. Copyright Robert Haley

Why the family moved to London is unclear. John’s father’s financial position is not known,though he is referred to as a landowner in one source.  John Stewart’s financial position as the youngest son when he started out is not known either.  On 3rd March 1829 Margaret Brodie Stewart married John later Sir John Herschel, in Marylebone , London , a prestigious address. Herschel was the only son of William Herschel , the distinguished astronomer  who discovered the planet Uranus. His son John also became a distinguished astronomer , mathematician and photographic pioneer.  He appears to have become friends with his young brother -in – law. In the summer of 1829, while in the Pyrenees, John Herschel drawing with a’ camera lucida’ wrote in a letter to his mother,”  Johnny and I are running a race which shall sketch most-he draws very nicely …).They went on to develop a close relationship11.

In London John Stewart entered the printing business with his brothers. Between 1838 and 1841 he was in  partnership with Alexander Elder Murray as Stewart and Murray  printers , London. John Stewart’s brother Patrick (b.1808) was a partner in the publishing firm of Smith, Elder and Co. , so perhaps the world of publishing and printing became known to John through him. The printers did a great deal of work for Smith and Elder in which John Herschel had invested. Smith and Elder took over the printing company in 1855.

As we have seen, in 1839 John Stewart married Matilda Grahame, who was said to be ‘an old childhood friend’.  As the Stewart family lived in Edinburgh from about 1819 to 1830 and we know that Matilda’s father, James Grahame, was an advocate in Edinburgh from c 1813 to 1826, one presumes they became known to one another in Edinburgh. Also John Herschel and James Grahame had been friends since they were at Cambridge together which may also have brought John and Matilda together. John Herschel certainly went to Nantes to attend the wedding12 .  The newly- weds set up home in Nantes. This was possibly to be near her father who had moved there for his health or perhaps because the climate was good for her health too. As we have seen she suffered several periods of ill-health.

About 1846 they moved to Pau in the Pyrenees, South-West France13. Perhaps  after the death of her father there was nothing to keep them in Nantes. John’s financial situation at this time is not known. Whether he had financial resources of his own or he made use of his wife’s money is not known either. There was presumably some financial settlement on the marriage.  Even before her father’s death Matilda was a wealthy woman, having inherited wealth from her mother. On her father’s death, after her step-mother had been taken care of financially, she and her brother inherited half each of her father’s wealth also14. Whatever the source John Stewart went on to become very successful financially as we shall see.

The couple had two children. Matilda Jane was born in 1841 and James Grahame, our donor’s father, was born in 1842 while they were still living in Nantes.

Pau was already an important British ‘colony’ when John and Matilda moved there. The city had first been discovered by the British when it was occupied in February 1814 by Wellington’s troops during the Napoleonic Peninsular Wars. The troops found the flat terrain perfect for training, for horse-racing, even fox- hunting and golf. Twenty years later more and more British travellers went to Pau, attracted by its mild climate and the beauty of the scenery. When Dr Alexander Taylor went to Pau in 1833 to recover from typhus and dysentery and recovered in a very few weeks he decided to set up a medical practice in Pau. Whether as a clever piece of advertising or genuine belief Taylor wrote his book,On the Curative Influence of the Climate of Pau’  which was published in 1842. Immediately it became a best seller amongst British Society. Perhaps that was what attracted the Stewarts there. Certainly there was a large influx of the British aristocracy who went to Pau with their families and friends. The British ‘invasion’ would start in mid-September each year. John and Matilda Stewart and their children spent every winter in Pau from about 1850, the rest of the time in London

The British influx led to an economic boom in Pau in construction, housing and in the demand for valets, domestic servants, gardeners etc. Living was cheaper than in London and many other British cities. Magnificent villas were built with beautiful gardens. Pau changed from the 1850s and became a modern, for the times, city with an up-to date theatre, a Winter Palace  and many parks and gardens. The ‘Boulevard des Pyrenees’ gave wonderful views of the snow-covered Pyrenees. In 1842 the race course was opened and this became the main sports activity in Pau and remains so today15.

John stewart -Memoires of the Pyrenees
Fig. 5. Etablissement des Eaux-Bonnes. Photograph by John Stewart 1852.© Paul Getty Museum Collection.

One of the main sources of information about John Stewart is ‘Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-196616.

According to the Who’s Who John Stewart was a man of many parts. He was a banker and a diplomat though there is no more information given  about his diplomatic life.  For forty years he and his family lived a large part of their lives in Pau  and played a large part in the life of the community. In 1847 John Stewart was awarded the Legion d’Honneur’ by the French Government for activities in French Indo China connected with the wrecking of a French Naval ship. Again here is tantalisingly little  information available about this incident.

Possibly as a result of his friendship with John Herschel,  John Stewart took up photography. Exactly when is not known. He joined a group of artists in Pau who became known as ‘L’Ecole de Pau’. Among these were well-known early photographers such as Henri-Victoire Regnault, Jean -Jacques Heilman and Maxwell Lyte. They established a studio and printing establishment. Stewart specialised in landscape photographs of the Pyrenees. In 1853 his photographs were published in an album, ‘ Souvenirs des Pyrenees by top photographic editor Blanquart- Evard. John Stewart exhibited in the London Exhibitions of the Society of Arts in 1852, the Photographic Institution  in 1854 and The Photographic Society in 1855. In that year also he became a member of the Societe Francaise Photographique.  His portrait of Sir John Herschel was exhibited  at the 1857 Manchester ‘ Art Treasures ‘ exhibition.

In 1856 , in London , the newly established Photographic Club produced an album of fifty photographs of views around Britain.  Fifty copies were produced to be distributed among the fifty photographers plus two more, one of which was presented to Queen Victoria and the other to the British Museum. To mark his contribution to photography, Stewart’s portrait of Sir John Herschel was included in the work.

Stewart’s photographs were much admired by his contemporaries. In a paper on photography’s relation to art, Sir William Newton in the Journal of the Photographic Society in 1853 commented that photographs should not only be chemically but also artistically beautiful, “The nearest approach in this respect…were the excellent Photographs exhibited by Mr Stewart.”17

John Stewart was a friend of George Smith, of Smith, Elder and Co., Charlotte Bronte’s publisher. Sometime during 1856-7 Smith arranged for Stewart to visit Haworth Parsonage to photograph the portrait of Charlotte Bronte by George Richmond to be used as the basis of an engraving for the frontispiece of Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Bronte. This enabled the public to see Charlotte Bronte for the first time. He appears to have visited Haworth three times, also taking photographs of the parsonage. In a letter to George Smith in November 1856, Mrs Gaskell wrote that “Mr Stewart is an excellent amateur photographer gone out to Iceland by the Danish government’s request to take photographs of the boiling springs and those sort of things … and has had to go and show his photographs to the Queen as the ‘crackest ‘things of the kind in the Kingdom”.18

Apart from photography as a hobby, John Stewart was a keen golfer. In 1856 he was one of the five founder members of Pau Golf Club, the oldest golf club on Continental Europe. He was President in 1885 and 1886. He was also keen on fox-hunting and a great supporter of the Pau Hunt. When the Hunt was going through bad times around 1879, Stewart is credited with engaging the help of the Mayor, Aristide de Montpera, to save fox-hunting in Pau. According to  Who’s Who,it was down to Stewart that fox-hunting was legally recognised .

Apparently his business dealings towards the end of the 1850s led to the lessening of his photographic activities. There is not a lot of information available on John Stewart’s business life. Again we must depend on   Who’s Who . In 1857 Stewart bought land on which to build a house which was called ,”Villa Stewart” later known as “ West Cottage “ in what is now Avenue Dufau in Pau. In 1862 , along with Pastor Brown of the “Scottish Church”, John Stewart was instrumental in establishing the Holy Trinity Church in Pau which today is the “Cinema D’Arte et D’Essais” showing art films. Before the building of  the Holy Trinity  Church Scottish Presbyterians in Pau would hold services at the Stewart’s first home in Pau,La Maison Labetoure.

In 1866 John Stewart, along with Dr Alexander Taylor, Musgrove-Clay, director of the English Bank in Pau, and Henry Alcock, a banker from Skipton North Yorkshire, founded La Societe des Anglais ‘. The aim of the English Society was to buy farmland on which to build an  estate of apartments. These apartments were rented out during ‘the season’ which was from about mid-September to the end of March when British visitors would flock to Pau to escape the winter at home. This became known as ‘Quartier des Anglais’.

Who’s Who also reported that John Stewart was one of the founder members, then a director, of the  Ottoman Bank. This bank was founded by Sultan Abulaziz to mitigate the economic crisis within the Ottoman Empire. There were French, English as well as Ottoman Government shareholders. In 1875 the bank became the State Bank of the Ottoman Empire. Its main function was to negotiate international loans for the Ottoman Government. In the 1870s, the time of the Franco- Prussian War, it is claimed that John Stewart secured loans for the French Government  for the defence of France.

John  Stewart certainly  died a wealthy man. At his death on 29th July 1887 his personal wealth stood at £295,000. Today this sum would have a purchasing power of around £36millon19. He died in London at 5 Cleveland Row, his London home20. Before his death he had put his wealth into a trust for his wife and children. Matilda lived on in Pau until her death there in January 1893. Her funeral as held at the Holy Trinity Church in Pau attended by a large crowd of both British and French inhabitants. According to Le Journal des Etranges of 22nd January  1893 (a local newspaper for the British Colony in Pau )Matilda was an ”esprit agreeable et cultive,  quel coeur bon et charitable”21.

James Grahame Stewart   (1842-1913)

As we know,our donor’s father, James Grahame Stewart  was born in Nantes in North West France but the family moved to Pau in South West France and by 1850 was spending every winter there while maintaining a house in London. James received most of his education in Pau at Le Lycee de Pau where he was a brilliant honours student. There is no indication that he went to university. He appears to have followed his parents’ habit of spending much of his time in Pau where he played a full part in the life of the community. He was a member of Pau Golf Club and was its President  in 1901 and 1904. He also helped to found the ‘Societe de Jeu des Paumes de Pau’ ( Pau Real Tennis Club). In May 1901 he made a speech on behalf of the British Colony in Pau on the  occasion of the visit of the President of France, Monsieur Carnot, in the presence of the delegation led by the UK Vice Consul of Pau Foster-Barnham.22

There is some evidence that he had similar business interests to his father. For example he was elected a Director of the Bank of Egypt in May 187823. There are reports of his presentation at Royal Levees in London in May 1880 and 188524.

James was 43 when he married Helen Louisa Georgina Ellis at the Holy Trinity Church in Pau on 16th April 1885. Helena was 20 years younger than her husband. She was the daughter of Major Charles David Cunynghame Ellis,  late of the 60th Rifles, and granddaughter of the 1st Baron Seaford of Seaford.  According to the Morning Post of 20th April 1885 Helen was also the niece of Colonel Arthur E Ellis, Equerry to the Prince of Wales  and of the Honourable Mrs A Harding, Lady in Waiting to the Princess of Wales, thus the bride was very well connected.  The best man was Prince Clermant Tonnerre and one of the six bridesmaids was also French, which shows how integrated the Stewarts were with the French population of Pau. The honeymoon was spent in Paris25.

James and Helen appear to have spent much of their life in Pau along with their children, Felicia who was born in 1890 and John Cecil who was born in 1897 as they are nowhere to be found in the UK Census of 1891 and 1901. Only in the 1911 Census does the family appear to have given up spending winters in Pau and were now living at Stonewall Park,  near Edenbridge, Kent. Stonewall Park was a 140 acre estate about 26 miles from London. They lived in a beautiful Georgian House there but also spent time in London for “The Season”.

According to the 1911 Census James was “of independent means”. This probably meant he was living off the trust fund set up by his father26. As we have seen he also had business interests of his own. In 1907 he also inherited   the estate of his uncle, Robert Grahame, who was his mother Matilda’s only sibling. He was Uncle Robert’s sole heir, inheriting £46,530 of personal wealth. This would have the purchasing power of roughly £5millon today.  Robert Grahame was living in Brighton at the time of his death27.

James Grahame Stewart appears to have been well thought of while living at Stonewall Park. When reporting his death in September 1913 The Kent and Sussex Courier stated,” There will be no doubt that his cheery presence will be missed in many a village function. He was a model employer and much respected by all who knew him here”28.

Our Donor.  Felicia Pepys Cockerell (1890-1900)

Felicia was born in London on 4th October 1890 at 19 Carlton House Terrace in London29.  She had one brother, John Cecil, born in 1897.

We  know that there was no trace of the family in either the 1891 or the 1901 census and that this   is possibly because, like her father’s parents, John and Matilda Stewart, Felicia’s mother and father spent a good part of each year living in Pau until about 1911,though still keeping a house in London.

From the 1911 Census we know that Felicia’s home at that time was  Stonewall Park, near Eden Bridge in Kent some 26 miles from London. The Stewarts also had the house in London and as we are aware were obviously wealthy.  Felicia’s father died in 1913 leaving a personal estate of £260,000-worth £26m of purchasing power today.  On her father’s death, by which time Felicia was 23, she had inherited a trust fund of £35,000 -over three and a half million pounds of purchasing power today – which provided her with a very comfortable income. She was a very rich woman30.

Stonewall park 2
Fig. 6 Stonewall Park copyright Matt Clayton for Locations >

Like most girls of her ‘class’ Felicia did the London Season. In fact she did five Seasons-1908-1913, attending on average four balls a week31. She was presented at court on 15th May 190832.  She also appeared to be interested in amateur dramatics. There is an account in   the Tatler  for Dec 8th and Dec 15th  1909 which shows a photograph of her among a group of other ‘debs ‘ taking part in “St Ursula’s Pilgrimage” a play put on at the Court Theatre in London by the Hon Mrs Edith Lyttleton – a well-known member of London Society  who supported all sorts of women’s and worker’s causes , for example women’s suffrage. This production was in aid of The Industrial Law Indemnity Fund. In 1911 Felicia attended the Shakespeare Memorial Ball at the Albert Hall dressed as Juliet (one of about 40 Juliets! ). Perhaps she wore the same costume she wore the previous year when she played the part of Juliet in, “The Masque of Shakespeare” a theatrical event organised again by Mrs Lyttleton in aid of The Shakespeare Memorial Theatre Fund33.  In 1913 she and her mother attended the wedding of Vita Sackville West to Harold Nicholson34. Weddings seemed to feature greatly in her life.

After her father’s death in 1913   Felicia, her mother and brother  moved to The Grove, Exton ,Hampshire. They were living there by 1914.

At the outbreak of WW1 now aged 23 Felicia was still single  – maybe she was a bit choosy-she could afford to be!

By 1915 Felicia was doing her bit for the war by working at the Bere Hill VAD hospital near Whitchurch in Hampshire, leaving her mother at home at The Grove. Her mother had written on the 1915 National Registration Form for Females that she had no skills, could not work in munitions and was very busy at home!35

John Cecil, Felicia’s brother had gone to Eton and aged only 17 joined  the army on 15th August 1914 -5th Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He was promoted lieutenant on 14th August 1915 and sent to France. He survived for just a month. He was killed at the Battle of Loos on 25th September 1915.Thus Felicia would inherit everything after her mother’s death36.

There was a notice in The Times on July 23rd 1918 of Felicia’s engagement to Major Walter Headforte Brooke of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. But the print was hardly dry when an announcement appeared in the same newspaper  the following month saying that the marriage would not take place-not usual in those days37. Had Walter been killed in action like so many young men? That was not the case. He  went on to marry someone else in 1920 and it is not known what went wrong between him and Felicia.

Fig 7 Felicia in 1918, age 28.T From ‘The Sketch’ 7th August 1918 . Copyright Mary Evans Picture Library

There is little information about Felicia during the years after her engagement was broken off. We know she drove a car as she managed to come up against the law in January 1918 by contravening the Gas Restriction Order of February of that year which forbade the use of gas for a private car. She managed to get off on a technicality and only had to pay two shillings costs. One can only presume that Felicia’s life carried  on during the years after the war as it had done before, attending weddings and balls. Her home during this period was 25 Edwardes Square, Kensington.38

At the age of 32 on St Valentine’s Day 1922 she married Frederick Pepys Cockerel MC OBE – he was 14 years older than she was. They married at St Margaret’s Westminster.  There is no information as to how they met. The wedding was reported in The Times the following day. ”Miss Stewart made a lovely Valentine’s Day bride in a crystal and georgette gown with a long silver tissue train”. The bride was given away by her cousin Sir Guy Campbell and the best man was Guy Ridley,a barrister friend of the groom.  Among the many guests The Times listed many titled people. The couple began their honeymoon at Greenwood Gate, Ashdown Forest, the home of The Earl and Countess of Norbury and then went on to the Riviera and Greece. After the honeymoon they lived in Palace Gate Kensington39.

Frederick was a barrister at the time of the marriage. He was a descendent of Samuel Pepys, the diarist, through Pepys’s sister Pauline. His father, also Frederick Pepys Cockerell, was a noted architect as was his grandfather . Frederick  had attended Winchester School and then New College, Oxford but left in 1896 to go out to South Africa where he served in the war against the Boers. He had been a distinguished soldier during the Boer War, after which he spent a couple of years in the Colonial service in South Rhodesia. He was called to the Bar (Lincolns Inn) in 190940. He stood twice, unsuccessfully, for Parliament in 1910 and 1912 as Unionist Candidate for Mansfield in Nottinghamshire41.

Frederick  was one of the Old Contemptibles, entering WW1 at the beginning as a  lieutenant.  He was captured after the battle of Loos, escaped, found his way back to the British lines and was arrested by a Colonel who did not know him and thought he was a German spy. He was a talented linguist and spoke several European Languages as well as several African dialects and served a large part of the war in the Intelligence Unit, ending up as Lt Colonel in the Middle East in charge of the policing of the largest oil depot in the world at that time at Baku. General Dunsterville said of him,”My chief of military police ,the then Captain Cockerell reaches the last degree of unsurpassed skills.” He continued to serve after the war, serving on the Upper Silesia Plebiscite Commission in 192142.

Frederick and Felicia had two children. John Lawrence, born in 1924 and Mary Georgina in 1926. The marriage did not last, however, and in 1928 there appeared a report in The Times of the granting of a decree nisi between Felicia and Frederick  on the grounds of his adultery at Palace Gate and the Park Lane Hotel. Felicia was given custody of the children44.

What does one  do to cheer oneself  up after a divorce? You buy yourself a castle! Holt Castle in Worcestershire to be exact. Felicia and the children, John Lawrence and Mary lived there from 1928 until 1947. In 1939 Felicia was living there with Mary and eight domestic servants45. It is not known how much contact the children had with their father.

Holt Castle, 11745-39
Fig 8 Holt Castle Worcestershire. ‘Country Life’ 20th July 1940. Copyright Country Life Picture Library

There was a notice in a local paper in 1937 saying that Holt Castle Gardens would be open to the public for a couple of afternoons to raise money for Birmingham hospital, so Felicia was obviously involved in local charities46. She also appears to have kept exotic pets as in 1939 she put a notice in The Times advertising a kookaburra for £5, cage included!47

Holt Castle, 11745-39
Fig. 9 The Hall, Holt Castle. ‘Country Life’ 27th July 1940. Copyright Country Life Picture Library

From 1940 to 1945 Holt was leased to Southover Manor School, a private Girls School which had been evacuated from Lewes, Sussex and at which Mary was a pupil48. Felicia also kept a house in London which in 1940 was 8 Westbourne Park Road W2. There is no information to date as to how Felicia spent the war49.

But what happened to Frederick, Felicia’s ex-husband? He married to Grace A. Corbett in 192850. He then attempted to go into show business putting on performances of Russian singers at various theatres52, then opened a book shop in London. He was apparently an expert on old coins and books. He seems then to have   got into financial difficulties after buying an old Tudor house , Ramsden  Bellhouse Hall near Wickford, spending a lot of money trying to get it back to its Tudor glory and throwing many parties. Sadly he committed suicide in April 1932. He was found by police in a garden in Wimbledon with a bottle of poison by his side. According to the inquest he committed suicide while temporarily mentally disturbed. His obituary in The Times described him as, “ a man of great ability and much personal charm”52. After this time Felicia always referred to herself as a widow.

Felicia’s mother died in 1934 and the contents of The Grove were sold53. We can guess that this was probably the time that Felicia inherited our portrait. There was an article in Country Life Magazine in July 1940 about Holt Castle  ( see above figs 8 and 9)  which has photographs of the interior showing many paintings on the walls and which refers in the text to family portraits of Pepys ancestors54. Perhaps we can guess that our portrait may also have been on a wall in Holt Castle and when Felicia downsized in 1947 to go and live in Brooke House in Aldermaston she had no room for this portrait and gave it to Glasgow Art Galleries.

There is little more information available about Felicia after this. Her son John Lawrence had joined the Colonial Service. Felicia sailed from Liverpool on June 19th1952 on MV Apapa, heading for South Africa. She returned on August 11th aboard MV Areol. We may presume she had  visited her son55. Her daughter Mary became an architect, following her grandfather and great grandfather Pepys Cockerell56. There is a reference in the local Aldermaston paper in the 1960s which refers to the local annual fete and lists the various cups and awards which have been presented over the years, one of which was the Pepys Cockerell Cup-so Felicia must have supported events in the local community57.

Felicia died at Brooke House on 10th June 1970 aged 80. The death certificate described her as  the widow of Frederick Pepys Cockerell , bookshop proprietor58. Perhaps she never really forgot him.


  1. Chester Harding; ‘Illustrated Catalogue of the Exhibition of Portraits on loan in the New Galleries of Art,Corporation Buildings,,Sauchiehall St.’(McLellan Galleries)
  2. GMRC Objects file. Acc 2683

   3.”Old Country Houses of the Old Glasgow Gentry” Published  1878 James Maclehose and Sons 2nd edition

4. Robert Grahame of Whitehill .Obituary Glasgow Herald 12/11/1852

  1. Quincey,Josiah “Memoir of James Grahame LLD. ”Charles C Little &James Brown Boston 1845(.Originally) written for the Collection of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
  2. Robley Genealogy
  3. Harris,Eleanor .’James Grahame’ in “The Episcopal Congregation of Charlotte Chapel”.Online-
  4. Quincey,Josiah “Memoir of James Grahame LLD.”Charles C Little and James Brown Boston 1845
  6. Memoirs of the Late Reverend Alexander Stewart DD .One of the Ministers of Canongate ,Edinburgh”.pub William Oliphant 1822.
  7. Luminous -Lint. Photography :History,Evolution and Analysis.

12. .

13. Rossoni,Raphael (ed) “Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-1966” 2016

  1. Will of John Stewart.GOV.UK.
  2. “Pau, it’s such a British City.”
  3. Rossoni, Raphael(ed) Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-1966. 2016
  4. Luminous- Lint.Photography:History,Evolutionand Analysis .
  6. Will of John Stewart.GOV.UK. probate
  7. Register of Statutory Deaths John Stewart.
  8. Rossoni,Raphael (ed) Pau Golf Club Who’s Who 1856-1966
  9. ibid
  10. Morning Post(MP) 07/07/1878
  11. MP 08/05/1880 ;MP 12/05/1885
  12. MP 20/04/1885
  13. Will of John Stewart. GOV.UK.

27. Sussex Agricultural Express   02/02/19

28. Obituary Kent and Sussex Courier 19/09/1913

  1. Register of Statutory Births. Felicia Stewart
  2. Will of James Grahame Stewart. GOV.UK Wills Probate and Inheritance.
  3. Times 06/02/1954
  4. Times 16/05/1908
  5. Daily Telegraph and Courier 24/06/1910 ; The Globe 21/6/1911
  6. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 25/7/1930
  7. National Registration Act 1915.Form for Females.92A02/A1/22/469/470.Hampshire Record Office
  8. Eton College Chronicle No 1737 8th July 1920
  9. Times 16/09/1918
  10. West London Observer 22/02/1918
  11. Times 15/02/1922; Sheffield Daily Telegraph 15/02/1922
  12. Obituary Times 31/03/1932
  13. Times 25/10/1910 ;Sheffield Evening Telegraph27/09/1913
  14. New York Times 08/01/193o ; Visions of Azerbaijan .Summer 2006. Vol 1.2.
  15. Register of Statutory Births . John Lawrence, Mary Georgina.
  16. Times 23/10/1928
  17. 1939 Register
  18. Birmingham Gazette 03/07/1937; Birmingham Mail. 29/7/1939
  19. Times 21/7/1939
  20. National Archives Discovery:East Sussex Record Office .Ref amsnn/AMS6799
  21. London Telephone Directory 1940
  22. Register of Statutory Marriages.
  23. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 25/7/1930
  24. Times 31/03/1932
  25. Hampshire Telegraph 10/08/1934; Portsmouth Evening News 25/09/1934
  26. Country Life 20/07/1934;27/07/1934
  27. Outgoing and Incoming Passenger Lists 1890-1960.
  28. The Tatler 09/02/1944
  29. Berkshire Record Office.
  30. General Register Office Death Certificate Felicia Marie Louise Pepys Cockerell








The Misses Kirsop

The painting below was donated by the Agnes and Jessie Kirsop to Glasgow Corporation in January, 1915


Figure 1 “Portrait of a Lady” by Sir John Watson-Gordon, PRSA. © CSG GIC Glasgow Museums Collection.

Agnes Wotherspoon Kirsop and Jessie Brown Kirsop were the youngest of seven children of John Kirsop and his wife Mary (nee Brown) who were married in Gorbals in 1846(1). The first four children were born there, but by the time that the other three came along the family had moved to 12, Corunna Street, off Argyle Street, which was then classed as Anderston but would now be classed as part of Finnieston. There in 1871, according to the census (2), the family consisted of the parents, three unmarried daughters, Elizabeth, Agnes and Jessie.

John Kirsop was a Master Hatter who had a hat and cap manufactory at 106, St. Vincent Street (3). Later, under the control  of their brother, the firm, now John Kirsop and Son(Ltd) moved to 49/51, Renfield Street in 1927-28. This firm was later, in 1956, taken over by the House of Fraser and wound up(4).

John Kirsop came of a long line of hatters. he was  related to the Kirsops who had premises in Argyll Street in the early 19th century and to their uncle, Richard Nixon, who had premises at the corner of the Argyll Arcade, and was appointed hatter to King George 4th (5).

The three principal wholesale hat manufacturers in Glasgow in the second half of the 19th century had been trained by the Nixon establishment.

The family moved further west to 3, Victoria Crescent, Partick, and then in 1891 to 15, Westbourne Terrace. Agnes was the only daughter at home then.

John died in 1898, when his estate was valued at over £21,000. Mary, his widow, died in 1908.

By 1911(6) Agnes, Jessie and Elizabeth were back at Westbourne Terrace, where, in the census of that year, they were  described as having independent means.

In 1915, Jessie was in rented accomodation in 9, York Drive (7), which was in 1929 renamed as Novar Drive(8). As far as I can find out, Agnes did not join her there until 1927(9).

The painting which the sisters donated, according to the minute of Friday, February 20th, 1914, of the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts, appeared on a list of works for sale(10). There was no  mention there of price sought or achieved, and the purchaser was not named in the minute.

The sisters donated the painting  to Glasgow Corporation in January, 1915 and the gift is recorded in a minute of the Corporation of 6th January, 1915 thus” Miss Agnes Kirsop, 9, York Drive is offering, on behalf of herself and her sister, to present to the Corporation the portrait of an old lady by Sir John Watson-Gordon, PRSA.”(11)

The sisters continued to live in various addresses around the West End until their deaths. Jessie died in Gartnavel Royal Asylum in 1930, and Agnes died at 28, Ashton Road in 1940 (12).



(2) Ibid

(3) Glasgow Street Directories – Mitchell Library


(5) (Index of Firms(1888) ).


(7) Voters Roll 1915 – Mitchell Library

(8) Post Office Directories – Mitchell Library


(10) Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts Minute Book 1914 – Mitchell Library

(11) Glasgow Corporation Minute Book 1915 – Mitchell Library