Title: IGI Family search
Title: Monumental Inscriptions Little Paxron (St James) M22
Title: National Burial Index England & Wales
Title: Monumental Inscriptions Little Paxron (St James) M22
Page: Plot 77
Page: Proven 6 Jul 1847
Note: John B. Papworth Architect To The King Of Wurtemburg: A Record Of His Life And Works By Wyatt Papworth INTRODUCTION During the years that my brother was confined to the house during his last illness he contrived to amuse himself by sorting an accumulation of family papers, with the intent to fulfil a pleasurable duty and a long standing promise to ourselves of putting into print an account of the life of our late Father during the fifty years of his professional practice, extended as it did, over the greater part of the first half of the present century, an eventful period in the history of the Arts in England. We had many times during his later years suggested his writing the story of his own life, but ever ready as he was to employ his pen in the service of others, he could not be induced to relate the very active part he had himself taken in originating, or assisting in, the many changes of Style and Taste, not only in Architecture, but in the other kindred Arts, and in Manufactures, as well as in upholding the dignity of the Profession. Whilst so engaged, my brother happily found some pages in Mr. Papworth's handwriting, recording events in a part of his life of which we could have no knowledge; and on one of the many visits made to my brother by our esteemed friend Mr. James Thompson, he, interested in the papers around, consented to contribute the reminiscences of his pupilage in Mr Papworth's office, and of his subsequent stay therein, extending from 1811 to near the end of 1830. This, being before our knowledge of such matters, assists most efficiently in recording events in those earlier years in which but few papers, diaries, and other books have been preserved whereby the train of events could be ascertained for our purpose. These two papers are now printed, with their necessary introduction: to them I have added (with some diffidence) a relation of my father's Professional and Artistic works, and other engagements; together with portions of such of the Correspondence relating to the subjects as appears to afford interest generally. It may be almost needless to state that the surname of Papworth is traceable to two villages in Cambridgeshire, situated close to the western borders of Huntingdonshire: one, Papworth Saint Agnes, the other Papworth Saint Everard. The name is not an unusual one in the two counties mentioned. The marriage of William, the first member of the family whom it may be needful hereinto mention, with a resident at or near the small village, Little Paxton, situated near Saint Neot's, in Huntingdonshire, accounts for the locality from whence the family came to London. Many of the uncles, aunts, and sisters of John B. Papworth are buried in the churchyard of the village, and there he himself was also buried on the north side, a site spoken of by himself many years before there was any probability of his again visiting, and for the last time, the scenes of his early life. Of William Papworth, little more need be here said than that he lived in the parish of Saint Margaret, Westminster, and married Sarah, one of the twelve children of William and Elizabeth Hedding, a farmer of good repute and property at or near Little Paxton. John, one of their six children, and born in 1750, was apprenticed to learn the trade of plasterer and stuccoist, in the house of _____ Rose, at that time one of the leading men in London in that artistic and then flourishing trade, one in which the Italian have been such great adepts. Among his many works, the ornamentation to the ceiling and walls of Doncaster Mansion House, designed 1745-48 by James Paine, can be mentioned. Rose was probably a pupil of the "Signori Artari and Bagutti, the best fret workers that ever came to England", and who were employed by James Gibbs to execute such work at the church of St. Martin's- in-the-Fields, 1721-26; at Marylebone Chapel; the Public Building at Cambridge; the Octagon room (at the now Orleans House) at Twickenham; etc., as stated by Gibbs in his Work published 1728. I have learnt that these artificers shut themselves up on the scaffolding, not to permit the English plasterers see them at work, it being done in plaster, whereas the ornament had been executed in papier mache previous thereto. There was a fight on the attempt of the English to force their way into the box, and they were beaten back. John Papworth became almost the only man of his day in this art, having five hundred men at work under him, as "architect, plasterer, and builder", as he styled himself in 1795. He made many of the designs of ornament for Sir William Chambers, and executed many works for His Majesty's Board of Works; as at Greenwich Hospital Chapel; at Buckingham House; at Kew; at St. James's Palace; at Somerset House, as in the rooms formed for the Royal Academy of Arts; and for other architects, as at Paddinggton Church, and elsewhere. As a man he was very proud; he was also remembered as being ambidexter, his son Collins inherited this facility. Soon after the expiration of his articles he married Charlotte (a daughter of Robert Searle, engaged in one of the then existing potteries at Mortlake, and Charlotte his wife), and had twelve children of whom six were sons, Thomas, John, George, Collins, Charles and Robert. At his death, in 1799, the business was continued by his eldest son Thomas, who had assisted him from a very early age, was "plasterer to H. M. Board of Works", and died in 1814. The second son sought an entrance into the architectural profession, and it is this son John, afterwards better known as John Buonarotti, and by the signature I. B. P. to his later writings, who is the subject of the following pages. Another son, George, established himself in Dublin in 1806, and had an extensive practice as an architect throughout Ireland.
It may be here stated that Mr Papworth, in his youth, proved to have so weak a state of health, and was so thin, that even Dr. Barrow, the master of the school in Soho Square, feared that his pupil would not be reared. It has been often declared that this is not uncommon with men who are destined to reach a good age. However, a moral and steady behaviour in his younger days enabled him to carry on the fatigues of a very active life, rendered necessary by an early dependence on his own exertions, to which was added the care of nearly all his brothers and sisters, followed by that of the sisters of his first wife, and later, of his second wife and family, The advantage, too, or fresh air during his large country practice at starting, may have assisted in his gaining good health, which tended to a stoutness, that even with his somewhat short stature, gave him an appearance of dignity that he retained until a few years before his death. The papers which are contributed by Mr. Thompson and Mr. Henry Burton by no means overstate Mr, Papworth's personal qualities, and are better expressed by them than by myself. It is a curious trait of this artist's life, that an architect so accomplished as Mr. Papworth, was the pupal of so undistinguished an architect as John Plaw; yet he was pleased with him on the recommendation of no less an authority than Sir William Chambers. Mr. Plaw's executed works are little known, perhaps deservedly so; Paddington Church is one of them. He published three books on Design for Villas etc., 1795 and later. A friend of Mr. Papworth's in a letter from a town in county Down, in Ireland, dated Feb. 1796, writes, "Plaw's publications are the only Books on Architecture consulted here. If he knew it he would be a vain as his Old Clerk. You have no idea how satisfied a man of 400 pounds or 500 pounds per annum is in his mud cabin of one floor. Buildings of any taste are very rarely studied or adopted here" It will be desirable to notice that few architectural publications were at that time at the command of the student. Mr. Papworth took advantage (as he always says) of the library at the Royal Academy, and became possessed of the two first volumes of Stuart and Revett's Antiquities of Athens; the three volumes of Nicholson's Architecture; Alberti's Architecture; Nicholson's Carpenter's New Guide: Chamber's Decorative Part of Civil Architecture; a few small abridgements of Palladio ect.; Brook Taylor's Perspective; and Batty Langley's Gothic Architecture Improved; these were the chief works in his library early in the present century. What immense advantages in there respect has the student at the present day! These volumes of Chambers and Stuart bear traces of the use made of them by Mr. Papworth's pupils and friends. Thrown on his own resources in 1799, Mr. Papworth lived for a short time at No. 30 Great Portland Street, the residence of his late father; then took a house No. 11, George Street, Adelphi; married Jane, a daughter of his former master, Thomas Wapshott, and with increase of business removed 1806 to No. 6 Bath place, fronting the (then) New Road, even then a place known for the business of statuaries, with which it is still crowded. There he became a widower at the end of the same year; and in 1817 married Mary Ann, eldest daughter of William Say. Mezzotinto engraver, herself a skilful musician and artist, having gained four silver medals at the Society of Arts. On a large increase of business, he removed 1821, to No. 10, Caroline Street, Bedford Square, where he remained for over twenty-five years, until his retirement.
That is the end of that chapter but I would like to add a letter from further on in the book which shows the qualifications required to become a Architect in those days. On many occasions Mr. Papworth was consulated as to the necessary qualifications in a youth, and the studies to be undertaken to render him efficient for the profession. The following letter was written by him to a lady on the subject; it may deserve to be recorded as the opinion of one who had made himself qualified to act, and was practised, in the profession. "Dear Madam,--- Perhaps the observations which follow may not be useful to Mr. P***, yet as the choice of a Profession is of great importance to a young man, I venture to offer them for his service. I understand that he has turned his thoughts to the Profession of a Architect---- but as what the term implies is not generally understood, it is possible, in the way of explanation, they may assist him in his decision". "Architecture as a profession and in the true meaning of the term, besides a competent knowledge of general business, requires that the professor shall be an artist, well skilled in Drawing, and having a perfect knowledge of Design in Architecture------ that he shall be master of the Science of Building (sufficient to qualify him for a Builder), and be a good Mathematician and Accountant. Without consideration if he be likely to acquire eminence in the pursuit short of so much of Imagination and sound Judgement as would entitle him to the reputation and sound Judgment as would entitle him to the reputation of taste, it is quite evident that to have a reasonable ground of success, he must at least have a predisposing aptitude for Art, as well as for the qualifications, and to the want of this may be attributed the circumstance of there being so few persons who follow the profession----when within these thirty years there has been so many educated to it---- I mean, so few who follow it in the proper meaning of the term 'Architecture". Some relinquish it although----and of those who do not, if the party possesses one of the qualifications in a superior degree, he is often found to cultivate that to prejudice of the other, and instead of a Architect, properly so called, he becomes a Draughtsman------or a surveyor and Valuer of Property-------- or perhaps turn Builder. Thus it happens (and the public does not distinguish between them), there are four schools (if they may be so called) of Architecture not sufficiently identified for the casual observer--- and a young man finds himself very much disappointed when he adopts the one for the other". " From what I observed of Mr. P***, it seems to me that Mathematics had chiefly engaged his attention, and that Drawing, so far as it includes the Art of Design, was not familiar to him. In this case, and considering the desire he has for a Profession suited to the evident aptitude which he possesses, would it not be well to reflect how far the corresponding Profession of a Engineer would be suitable to his wishes? I mean the Profession of Mr. Renni----- it ranks high, and has an open and still opening field for employment. Perhaps I am scarcely warranted in not giving Mr. P*** credit for possessing the aptitude necessary to become a distinguished Artist, but knowing as I do, from the failure of many young men (studying as Architects), that it is vain to attempt the higher walk of the Profession without it, I prefer, you will perceive, to be more honest than polite, trusting that my intention will be my excuse and my justification also.
8 Oct 1827 (signed) John B. Papworth
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