The Pilgrimage to Canterbury, Thomas Stothard (1755-1834)
Oil on panel, English School, late 18th / early 19th century. Thomas Stothard was born in London and was apprenticed to a draughtsman of silk pattern designs in Spitalfields. When his master died, he attended the Royal Academy in 1778, was elected a Royal Academician in 1794 and, having been taken under the wing of Sir Joshua Reynolds, devoted much of his skill to engravings and illustrations. Stothard worked prodigiously, his family portraits funding much of his art schooling. He admired Rubens and although his paintings are often small in size, they reflect Rubens' colours and composition. This painting shows just one small part of The Pilgrimage to Canterbury. The finished painting (Tate N01163) includes around thirty characters and is almost a metre in length. The engraver and publisher Robert Cromek commissioned this painting from Stothard. He then put it on display and charged visitors a shilling to see it. He also collected subscriptions for the forthcoming print of the painting. William Blake, then a close friend of Stothard, claimed that Cromek had commissioned a painting of the Canterbury Pilgrims from him first, but that Cromek had not liked his design and so took the commission to Stothard. Blake then accused Cromek and, through him, Stothard of copying his long, frieze-like composition. Blake was furious when Stothard's resulting work spring boarded his career and brought about numerous important commissions. It is unlikely that Blake's accusations were well-founded, but the dispute effectively ended Blake and Stothard's friendship.
Royal British Legion, Lostwithiel, Cornwall. November 1992
The Royal British Legion Women's section of the Mid-Cornwall Group commemorated their diamond jubilee in Lostwithiel. Formed on the evening of November 2nd 1932 by 34 women who got together in the Working Men's Institute in Fore Street, Lostwithiel. From left to right: Pat Miners, secretary and standard bearer; Helen Nichols, Lostwithiel Mayoress; Kathleen Yelland, British Legion county treasurer; Betty Strong, Lostwithiel chair and treasurer. Photographer: Jonathan Barker .
© RIC, photographer Jonathan Barker
Knill Monument, St Ives, Cornwall. About 1920.
The "Knill Ceremony", showing little girls standing at the base of the monument together with an old lady. John Knill was born in Callington on 1st January 1733 and worked as a collector of Customs in St Ives between 1762 and 1782, where he also became mayor in 1767. He was regarded as being slightly eccentric. In that same year, 1767, he decided to build a 50 foot, three sided, pyramid style granite structure on Worvas Hill just to the south of St Ives, to be known as Knill's Steeple. It was erected as his intended burial place. The monument bears on one side the painted coat of arms of Knill, with the Latin "Resurgam" (I shall arise) and, in English, "I know that my redeemer liveth". In his will he left detailed instructions for ceremonies to be carried out in his memory every five years on St James Day, July 25th at the Steeple, including dancing for fifteen minutes to the tune of "All people that on earth due dwell" by ten young girls under the age of 10, and who traditionally have to be daughters of either fishermen, tinners or seamen. They are accompanied by two widows, the Mayor, the Customs Officer and a Master of Ceremonies. In his will John left money for the upkeep of the monument and for celebrations to take place. The first ceremony, in which John Knill participated, took place in 1801. He died in his chambers on 29th July 1811 in Gray's Inn Square London and is buried in St Andrew's Church, Holborn. Photographer: Arthur William Jordan.
© From the collection of the RIC