Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Adopt a piece of Haslemere's Peasant Art collection

The Haslemere Educational Museum holds many works by the Peasant Arts movement, and also the peasant artifacts collected by them from across Europe that formed the Peasant Arts Museum.  The staff at the museum could not have been more helpful in assisting me in researching Haslemere's Peasant Arts movement.  The museum now have a scheme called 'Adopt an Object' which looks like a really fun idea to help support the museum which is responsible for raising all of its own funds.

Dutch Footwarmer c.1700
Haslemere Educational Museum
On the list of objects you can adopt is this Dutch Footwarmer c.1700, part of the original Peasant Arts Collection, up for adoption for £50.  The promotional material says that you can contact the museum to discuss supporting an object that is not on their list.

Not Peasant Arts related I am afraid, but my favourite object on their list is Arthur the bear.

Arthur the bear,
Haslemere Educational Museum


Saturday, 27 October 2012

New Charles Spooner book by Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton joined us on one of the Peasant Arts walks in Haslemere earlier this year.  He is an expert on the architect Charles Spooner, who designed St Christopher's Church in Haslemere, but he also is very well read on the Arts and Crafts movement as a whole.  Alec has provided me with some interesting insights into the Haslemere movement for which I am very grateful.

cover of forthcoming book: Charles Spooner, Arts and Crafts Architect
from Shaun Tyas publishers

Alec's book on Charles Spooner is due to be published in November and should be a fascinating read.   The promotional material reads:

"Charles Spooner was one of the four great names most identified with the Arts and Crafts by no less an observer than C. R. Ashbee: the other three were Sidney Barnsley, Ernest Gimson and W. R. Lethaby. Yet, while they are still revered, Spooner has effectively disappeared. In this new, large-format architectural biography, Alec Hamilton brings Spooner’s work and life back into the light: his churches and church fittings; his houses; his furniture design; his writings and ideas; his friendships and partnerships. And reveals why this shy, diffident, saintly architect, unjustly neglected now, was so loved and admired in his lifetime. Foreword by Alan Crawford 


"Charles Sydney Spooner (1862-1938) taught furniture design at Central School for more than thirty years. He was a member of SPAB’s committee for nearly as long. He was a friend of William Morris, Emery Walker, Christopher Whall, Walter Crane, Heywood Sumner – yet he figures hardly at all in any of their records, archives, memoirs or letters. 

He made a rather dazzling start: elected to the Art Workers Guild in January 1887 while still a student. (He played Jerrybuiltus in Beauty’s Awakening, the Guild’s 1899 pageant - left). He was elected to the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in 1890: he exhibited with them at every exhibition until 1928. 

He built seven churches – a modest tally compared to the High Victorians, but, among ‘Arts and Crafts architects’, almost a high number. For he was a religious man: “On most Sundays he was in his place at the 10 o’clock Mass.” He was related to two Archbishops of Canterbury – and Warden ‘Spoonerisms’ Spooner was his cousin. Yet Spooner was also a Modern: his church of St Paul, East Ham, which he thought his best, looks forward with optimism. And he was a lively designer of small country houses (below). In his church furnishings his skills and ability shine most – the muscular altarpiece at St Leonard, Bridgnorth; the checker-board baptistery at St Bartholomew, Ipswich; and the emotionally charged rood screen at St Anselm, Hatch End (above). 

This, the first ever study of Spooner, considers all of his work - churches, church furnishings, houses, furniture - and his partnerships, in particular with a yet more shadowy figure, his wife, Minnie Dibdin Spooner, whose illustrations, paintings and glass design are also now considered here for the first time."

Copies of the forthcoming book can be obtained direct from the publisher (just like in olden times!) Shaun Tyas.  

details of Charles Spooner, Arts and Crafts Architect
(Hamilton, Alec, Shaun Tyas, 2012)

James Archibald Campbell - the connection, case closed

With some excellent research by duncmacg I feel confident that the James Archibald Campbell has been identified as much as possible without access to a time machine.

As I had guessed in my previous post, James Archibald Campbell and Godfrey Blount were at Cambridge University together.  They both attended Pembroke College.  The Cambridge University alumni has James Archibald Campbell as entering Pembroke College in 1874, and being awarded a Bachelor of Arts in 1880.  At six years, this seems to be a longer than an average degree, I wonder why?  The alumni entry gives Campbell the title of "7th of Achandiun and 5th of Barbreck" and also "J.P." presumably standing for Justice of the Peace.  The entry also says "died unmarried Feb. 5, 1926".  Godfrey Blount is at Pembroke College in the 1881 census.

The puzzle of "who was" James Archibald Campbell was emphasized recently when I acquired a copy of George MacDonald and His Wife (MacDonald, Greville, Unwin Brothers, London, 1924) which has the inscription "James A. Campbell with love & gratitude from the writer".

I wonder whether Greville knew Campbell before Campbell met Godfrey Blount?  Either MacDonald and Campbell were old friends through MacDonald's Scottish connections, or MacDonald and Campbell met through Blount.  Whilst the other four main members of the Peasant Arts movement were related (Maude Egerton King and Ethel Blount being sisters, and Greville MacDonald and Joseph King being cousins), Godfrey Blount was the 'outsider' so it is interesting to consider whether it was James A. Campbell's connections with Greville MacDonald that may have brought the most prominent artist of the movement into the fold.  In his book, Greville refers to Campbell's thoughts on his father, George MacDonald, which suggests that Campbell was a family friend, and therefore probably of longer standing than Blount and MacDonald's relationship.

dedication inside a copy of George MacDonald and His Wife
(MacDonald, Greville, Unwin Brothers, London, 1924)


Greville makes a number of references to James Archibald Campbell in this book, although these do not shed much light on Campbell's activities, but they do demonstrate that Greville admired Campbell's explanations of human nature:

"Retribution, according to my friend James A. Campbell of Barbreck, was rather a law of Nature than called for by any instinct of hatred; and he illustrates it by an incident occurring in his family at the beginning of the seventeenth century.  The perpetrator of an accidental death was sought by a rival sept of Campbells to extort the inevitable penalty.  His foster brother, Donald MacCallum, donned his clothes while the fugitive slept and got himself shot in his stead.  The avenging sept showed every honour to the hero and settled a croft upon his family for all time." (p. 40, ibid)

MacDonald writes that "My father might have found an old tartan coat at home and worn it partly for economy, and yet because he liked it", and then expands upon this point "My friend, James A. Campbell of Barbreck, a first authority on such points, writes me that "the tartan coat was often worn in old days, but driven out by tourists and strangers." (p.75, ibid)

Later MacDonald in a chapter upon John Ruskin writes that "Ruskin, like my father, had discarded all Calvinistic doctrine, though the latter was in Ruskin's eyes still orthodox.  My father's unqualified optimism kept strong within him the faith that, when all is revealed, the ignominies of man's industrial progress may yet prove to be comprehended within the creative Will: that man may yet become a greater being than if the forbidden fruit had never been tasted."  MacDonald notes this observation with "A propos of this, James A. Campbell of Barbreck writes thus: "Is this so ?  Does not George MacDonald rather feel that 'Industrialism' may be valuable because, like other oppressions, it may lead to repetance?  And does he believe there is any 'Progress' for the soul through 'Evolution' or indeed in any way, except through repentance?"  I believe my friend is right and that his questions are not in disagreement with the observation expressed above, yet their implicit answers express better what my father would wish to be said.  "Everything," my friend again asks, "assuredly for your father was safe in God's hands; but did he consider that man could grow and go forward at all until he 'came to the Father'?" (p.330, ibid)

Campbell's final appearance in MacDonald's book places Campbell in Italy "In the winter of 1896-7 an incident occurred that stirred the best and deepest feelings of the English colony at Bordighera.  Dr John A. Goodchild, the family's medical adviser and much beloved by my father as a man of unusual poetical gift and strange mystical mind, was infamously attacked in an Italian court of law on the false charge of libelling a practitioner of other nationality, who was scarcely a rival.  One after another of my people were subpoenaed, one as witness for the prosecution.  My father was deeply moved, and spoke in court with such fiery indignation in defence of his friend that his evidence probably had much to do with the withdrawal of the case.  James A. Campbell of Barbreck, also beloved of my father , was watching it with keen interest.  He writes of it to myself: " Endowed with a keenly sensitive temperament, pitiful of all sorrow, he did not perhaps recognize the Fire of Charity in his own soul when it flamed forth in defence of others.  On the occasion when he was summoned as a witness before the court, he spoke in chivalrous and strong defence of his friend.  But afterwards he was much troubled that he should have spoken "inadvisedly"; while to those who heard him it seemed that he has only obeyed the orders of his Master, in reference to such occurrences, by taking no anxious thought, and saying what was given him to say." (p.557, ibid)



Friday, 12 October 2012

Trying to understand the James Archibald Campbell connection

I have wanted to learn more about James Archibald Campbell, so I have collected some information together.

I am not clear exactly who James Archibald Campbell was, but I do know that he played an important role in Godfrey Blount's life.  Blount dedicated his book Arbor Vitae to James Archibald Campbell, his dedication is quite touching "To all lovers of handicraft, and especially to my friend James Archibald Campbell of Barbreck, who first taught me to feel the wider life of art, I dedicate this book".

extract from Arbor Vitae (Blount, Fifield, 1910)

In The Heraldry of the Campbells (G. Harvey Johnston, 1921) there is no reference to the Campbells of Barbreck.  However online I can see some Campbells of Barbreck, including what is referred to as the crest and motto of the Campbells of Barbreck, "I bear in mind".

Motto and crest of the Campbells of Barbreck,
from Leopard Antiques

I have found in an ebook "JAMES ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL of Barbreck, Esquire, J. P. for CO. Argyll; B.A. [Cantab.). Born 1854, being the second son of Admiral Colin Yorke Campbell of
Barbreck, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of James Hyde of Aplcy, near Ryde."


Using these details I then found James Archibald Campbell's father, in the Edinburgh Gazette (23 March 1869) where Colin Yorke Campbell is noted with a few other names as a Retired Captain "to be Retired Rear-Admirals, under the provisions of Her Majesty's Orders in Council 1st August, 1860, 9th July 1864, and 24th March 1866."  The Family Search website has details of the family on it that have enabled me to find their entries on some censuses.  This has Colin Yorke Campbell and his younger son, James Archibald Campbell, both described as Laird of Achanduin.  James is said to have "died unmarried" on 5 February 1926.  The History of the Campbells (Lee, R. L. Polk and Company, New York, 1920) reports that "the Campbells of Achanduin are a branch of the family of Lochnell.  Archibald Campbell, first of Achanduin, was third son of Colin Campbell, fifth of Lochnell...James Archibald Campbell is now the representative of the branches of Achanduin and Barbreck.  He was born in 1854.  Family seat, Barbreck House, Lochgilphead, Argyll."


Barbreck House, Argyll
from geograph.org

Elsewhere I have found a write up on the house which suggests that the house is still in the Archibald Campbell family "Barbreck House, the most prominent mansion house in this part of Argyll, was built by Major General John Campbell of Barbreck and completed in 1789. Some 20 years before building his new house General Campbell, or Colonel Campbell as he then was, raised a regiment known as the Barbreck Highlanders to fight in North America. The Campbells of Barbreck were the custodians of Barbreck’s Bone, a plate of ivory reputed to be a cure for madness. The house is a private residence. "

In the 1861 census Colin Yorke Campbell is living in 117 George Street, Midlothian, Edinburgh with his wife Elizabeth Campbell (nee Hyde) born in Belize, Honduras, about 1821, and children:

  • Donald C. D. Campbell born about 1849 in Edinburgh
  • James A. Campbell born about 1855 on Ryde, Isle of Wight
  • Susan H. Campbell born 1856 on Ryde, Isle of Wight
with also:
  • a visitor, Donald Campbell, nephew born 1851in India
  • a tutor Edward Luckman 
  • mother-in-law, Susan Hyde
  • sister-in-law, Helen G Hyde
  • two nurses, Jane McKenzie and Louise Marstiller
  • a house maid, Sarah Mc Karty
  • a lable? maid, Sarah Brook
  • a cook, Anne J Martin
In 1871 Colin Yorke Campbell, Rear Admiral is living in Barbreck House, Craignish, Argyll.  There is only Colin Yorke Campbell living at that address on the transcribed census, but I wonder whether there were other people, living there such as his wife, children and servants but that they have not been transcribed (yet), Barbreck House appears to be too large to live in by yourself.   I then found James Archibald Campbell, then 16, at school in Brenchley, Kent.  The school appears to be St Andrews Parsonage, run by the vicar of Paddock Wood.  Around that time, up to 8,000 people would arrive every season to work on the hop farms around Paddock Wood (Wikipedia).

In 1881 James Archibald Campbell is living with his parents, sister and a visitor Robert J. Handcock at 12 Norfolk Square, Paddington, London.  James' profession is stated as "B.A. Cambridge" and the visitor as an undergraduate at Cambridge.  I cannot find James Archibald Campbell on any subsequent censuses.  However the 1881 census reveals that Blount was at Cambridge at the same time as Campbell.  Blount was recorded in Pembroke College, Cambridge in the 1881 census.  

I wonder what James Archibald Campbell did after 1881?



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