Georgian Stipple Engraving Pair Religious Ministers Missionary Circa 1815
We are very excited, if not a little sad - as we love them, to offer this very rare pair of Regency period stipple engravings. They are of a gorgeous decorative nature being all untouched and original and of a delicious small size. They each have the Reverend's name printed in gold within each eglomise mount. However, it is their stories that are the fascination here. The background story has enraptured our imaginations and given us a firsthand insight into the last decade of the 18th century when the conscience of most ordinary citizens was in turmoil over the continued existence of slavery. The Reverend Munn's story in particular would make an outstanding novel or film.................
Having eglomise glass mount with gilt name plates for each gentleman. The glass eglomise mount is original with its air bubbles and waves to the old glass. The Rev Richard is a colored stipple engraving within, the Rev Nathaniel stipple engraving is in monochrome. To the reverse of the Rev Richard is a hand written note stating
" He was the first minister of the Church of England that went to the Island of Jamaica to convert the slaves on plantations. A few weeks after his arrival at Kingston, Jamaica he died of the Yellow Fever and was ?????? London March 26th 1796".
To the reverse of the Rev Nathaniel the original backing paper is loose and you can see the original frame maker's label for Benjamin Elliott, carver, gilder and looking glass manufacturer of No 200 St John's Street, Clerkenwell, London. Just to confirm that B Elliott was active 1808 to 1829 and operated from this address prior to 1816 when he was listed as trading from No 19 St John's Street.
Size: Each gilded Gesso frame measures approx 8 1/8" by 7 1/8".The gilt framed oval aperture measures approx 2.5" by 3.25"
Condition: There is wear and flaking to the gilded frames. There is a small area of oxidization to the Rev Munn's eglomise at 12 o'clock. We will tape the old paper edges on the reverse for transit.
Details that we can confirm from ancestral research, Historical periodical chronicles and on line obituaries and Biographical Anecdotes are as follows for each minister;
The Reverend Richard Munn DD (Doctor of Divinity) was born at Eyton, Hereford on 27th September 1767 to Richard and Mary. He was a tall chap at nearly 6ft 2" and of a stout build. From an early age he was a clever, well read child who showed an interest in joining a holy order. Unfortunately his parents could not afford the expense of University educating young Richard. Instead he researched smaller religious sects and impressed by her ideals, attended The Countess of Huntingdons Theological Trefecca College at Talbarth. Here he was trained to be a Methodist preacher. In 1788 he was appointed preacher at Handsworth, Birmingham and at this period married his first wife, the eldest daughter of Dr Beardmore. Very sadly she died four years later leaving Richard to bring up two young children. Richard was then moved to The Countess of Huntingdon's Mulberry Chapel Gardens, Wapping, London. Richard applied to the Bishop of Landaff to be ordained but was refused due to his non University education. Richard a widower with two young mouths to feed married for a second time in 1792 a Miss Frances Partridge ( born 1764) St George in the East, London. They had a further two children, making four in total. Richard applied to Beiby Porteus (well known reformer and abolitionist) and Bishop of London for a missionary appointment at one of plantations in the West Indies. The Bishop was impressed by the young minister and recommended him immediately to the Honourable Society For The Conversion, Religious Instruction, and Education, of The Slaves in the West Indies. In November 1796 he boarded the Merchant Ship Duckingfield and set sail for Jamaica but was driven back to port by a severe storm that wrecked several other Merchant ships with significant loss of life. A second attempt to leave port was tried again in December but after again encountering severe gales, some of the storm damaged fleet had to limp back to port. These gales of 1796 were referred to as 'Christian Gales' after Hugh Clobbery Christian the admiral of the accompanying British Fleet. Luckily the Rev Richard Munn's ship pulled through the storm and arrived at Kingston, Jamaica on February 9th 1797. He was received with great enthusiasm but tragically only completed five sermons before being gripped by Yellow Fever and passed away on March 28th 1797 aged around 28 years. We are told in an obituary that in his last breath he reflected on the good fortune that his dear wife never came with him, as if she had, she would have been left a stranger in this land. We are also told in this same obituary that his countenance was manly and expressive with a strong voice but uncommonly sweet and melodious. He was very amiable and one immediately liked this fellow. He was solid and instructive in the pulpit, commanding attention and informing the judgement. Before his travelling to Jamaica the Rev Richard Munn published two sermons which uncommonly passed through two editions. Eventually he was awarded a Degree by the University of Edinburgh at the instance of the Earl of Leven. Also see a letter written by Rev Richard Munn upon his arrival in Jamaica that was published in The Rise and Progress of Wesleyan-Methodist In Jamaica by Henry Blaine Foster, Wesleyan Missionary.
In conclusion, we cannot imagine how much strife, adventure, loss and hardship the Rev Richard Munn packed into his brief 28 years of life. Thanks to this portrait (possibly painted by Peat and engraved by Lovelace) and also the E Caves Obituary in the 1796 Gentleman's Magazine, we feel a great warmth and respect towards this English gentleman who had wished to help those poor souls enchained by the shackles of slavery. Alas, we cannot find out what happened to his surviving wife and four children. One assumes that out of sheer need, that she would have remarried.
The Reverend Nathaniel Jennings life from the limited on line accounts that we can find; in comparison seems a little easier. Born to a professional gentleman it appears likely that he would have received a good education. This Independent Protestant Dissenter ( those who separate from the Christian Church) was born on July 3rd 1748 at Bishop Stortford, Hertfordshire. Son of a surgeon Doctor Nathaniel Jennings and Elizabeth Rankin. In October 1777 the Rev Nathaniel married Rebecca Wilkinson (1752 1781) at St Mary's parish church, Hackney, Middlesex. They had two daughters Rebecca (1778-1825) and Eliza (1782-1864). The Reverend Nathaniel Jennings was a minister at the Islington Independent Meeting House, Lower Street Chapel until his death in 1814.
These are a fine pair or original Georgian engravings with a fascinating history. Please note that they will ship for FREE Worldwide but that they will ship individually by Royal Mail.
"We can no longer plead ignorance. We cannot evade it. We may spurn it. We may kick it out of the way. But we cannot turn aside so as to avoid seeing it." William Wilberforce 1789.
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