Featured 26 Mar 2019 Print
Richard Arthur (Dicky Nine Lives), Edwyn Vincent (1858–1919)
Oil on canvas, English School, 1887. Primitive style full length portrait of man in mining clothes with Pednandrea Mine in the background of the painting. Richard Arthur was known as 'Dicky Nine Lives', after falling down the inside of Pednandrea mine stack and surviving. He died in Penzance in June 1893, at the age of around 70. A report from Redruth in the Royal Cornwall Gazette on Thursday 15th June 1893 states: 'News has reached here from Penzance of the death of the well known character, Richard Arthur, generally known as "Dickey Nine Lives" by reason of numerous hairbreadth escapes, chief among which was a fall down the inside of Pednandrea stack. This wonderful man was well known to almost every person within a radius of 15 miles, and his marvellous exploits have formed the topic of many a Cornish yarn. With no settled residence or means of sustenance, he managed to exist with the occasional comfort of a "bit of bacca." When sometime ago it was rumoured that Dicky had suddenly inherited a large fortune, he was immediately addressed as Mr. Arthur, and for some reason consented to have his "picture taken" by a local photographer. This photo when exhibited caused considerable amusement, Dickey being taken in his usual attire. The fortune eventually turned out to be a hoax. It would hardly be possible to find in Cornwall a person whose life has to abounded in comical incidents, and a sharp literary aspirant would win immediate popularity by publishing a life of Dickey Nine Lives. Edwyn Vincent was publisher and printer of 'The Eagle' at the Printing Works Redruth. This painting may have been intended to illustrate an article in 'The Eagle'
Featured 26 Mar 2019 Print
Gwennap Pit, Cornwall. Whit Monday 1925
A service at Gwennap Pit on Whit Monday 1925 with a full congregation and the minister in the centre. Gwennap Pit is an open air amphitheatre near Redruth made famous by John Wesley the founder of Methodism. John Wesley first visited Gwennap Pit on the 5th September 1762. At this time it was described as a relic of mining activities in the area, with a rock face covered in vegetation. In 1766 Wesley described it as "a round green hollow gently shelving down" and as "a natural amphitheatre". In November 1806 a mining engineer Richard Michell of Gwennap and four mine Captains: John Martin, John Dennis, W. Davey and T. Trestrail met at Busveal and agreed to repair Gwennap Pit or rather reconstruct the amphitheatre in respect to and in memory of John Wesley who had died in 1791. Between 1762 and 1789 John Wesley preached at Gwennap Pit eighteen times. The amphitheatre has twelve staged rings top to bottom. It is claimed that walking around all twelve levels top to bottom is equal to one mile and that it can hold 1,500 people. Photographer: Arthur William Jordan
© From the collection of the RIC