Edward Heath Rodd, England. Around 1879
Upper body studio portrait photograph of Edward Hearle Rodd (1810-1880), seated and reading a book. Rodd was born in St Just in Roseland, and, after qualifying as a solicitor, settled in Penzance. He was a keen ornithologist and wrote a large number of papers for The Zoologist and the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall. He is credited with rescuing many rare birds in Cornwall from oblivion and adding several bird species to the List of British Birds. Photographer: Unknown.
© From the collection of the RIC
Newquay Old Cornwall Society / Federation of Old Cornwall Societies dinner, Newquay, Cornwall. 1978 or possibly 1977
Charles Woolf (1907-1984), photographer and President of Newquay Old Cornwall Society in 1977, is pictured (left) shaking hands with a gentleman wearing a chain of office. The gentleman is perhaps Newquay Old Cornwall Society's chairman, Stuart Beard. The identity of the lady in the centre is unknown. The photograph was taken on the occasion of a society dinner. This may have been the annual dinner in 1978 or a dinner held following the Annual General Meeting in April 1978. Although the negatives are dated 1978, it has been suggested that the occasion may have been the official opening of the Gallery of Old Cornwall on 6th April 1977. Photographer: Charles Woolf / Joyce Greenham.
© RIC, photographer Charles Woolf
John Vivian of Pencalenick, John Opie (1761-1807)
Oil on canvas, English School, around 1780. A portrait of a young John Vivian of Pencalenick (1772-1817). Vivian later became a Barrister and was High Sheriff of Cornwall in 1812. John Opie was born in Harmony Cottage, Trevellas, between St Agnes and Perranporth in Cornwall. He was the youngest of the five children of Edward Opie, a master carpenter, and his wife Mary (nee Tonkin). He showed a precocious talent for drawing and mathematics, and by the age of twelve he had mastered the teachings of Greek mathematician Euclid and opened an evening school for poor children where he taught reading, writing and arithmetic. His father, however, did not encourage his abilities, and apprenticed him to his own trade of carpentry. Opie's artistic abilities eventually came to the attention of local physician and satirist, Dr John Wolcot (who used the pen name Peter Pindar), who visited him at the sawmill where he was working in 1775. Recognising a great talent, Wolcot became Opie's mentor, buying him out of his apprenticeship and insisting that he come to live at his home in Truro. Wolcot provided invaluable encouragement, advice, tuition and practical help in the advancement of his early career, including obtaining many commissions for work. In 1781, having gained considerable experience as a portraitist travelling around Cornwall, Opie moved to London with Wolcot. There they lived together, having entered into a formal profit-sharing agreement. Although Opie had received a considerable artistic education from Wolcot, the doctor chose to present him as a self-taught prodigy; a portrait of a boy shown at the Society of Artists the previous year, had been described in the catalogue as "an instance of Genius, not having ever seen a picture." Wolcot introduced the "Cornish wonder" to leading artists, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was to compare him to Caravaggio and Velazquez.