Photo credit: Dartmouth Museum
Dartmouth Museum would be grateful for any information that can be found about Miss C. B. Hunt, who painted this picture of the Dartmouth ‘Shambles’ – the area of town where meat was slaughtered and sold.
The museum owns 22 watercolours by Miss Hunt, in addition to this oil painting. The 23 paintings cover many locations round Dartmouth and date from circa 1839 – the watercolours, which are not on Art UK, are in good condition if a little faded towards the brown end of the spectrum. The collection knows almost nothing about Miss Hunt, not even her first names, beyond the fact that she was trained by an artist in Torquay. She does not appear in any references that they have yet found, but it is possible that others may have come across her work and know more about her.
Few women named C Hunt in Devon appear in General Registration records at that time, and no C.B.
However, there is a marriage of one Catherine Hunt registered in July-Sep 1843 at Newton Abbot (vol 10 p223). This was the registration district for both Torquay and Dartmouth. The place where she was tutored is likely to be very near her home parish, in view of the travel habits of the time.
The GR indexes don't list the exact spouse, only those on the same register page. He is one of BURGE Thomas, STONE William, WALLER John or WHIPHAM Arthur. Perhaps she paints later under that name, or perhaps you know him as her tutor!
In the 1841 census of Devon, there is a Catharine (note the "a") Hunt born 1821, living in Dawlish, also in Newton Abbot registration district.
The year of birth in the 1841 census is estimated, and could be out by up to 5 years.
One birth on FindMyPast, in the parish register as Catharine, in 1821 in Kingsteignton, immediately north of Newton Abbot and halfway between Dawlish and Torquay.
Would the collection say that a tutored 18-20 year old could produce this oil and the watercolours?
And to round this off, searching the 1851 census in FindMyPast for the spouses' names above, only Catherine Stone appears. She is in Dawlish. Her birth year is given as 1823 (but people often lied to the census enumerator).
I don't have a subscription to look up what it says about her. This matters because you can often tell from the census data (location and family work) what the person's circumstances are. 1841 hopefully reveals a family that could afford tuition for a daughter, and 1851 might reveal that she had the wherewithal to paint and exhibit under the name of Stone.
Best of luck.
I expect she was never a professional artist except perhaps at a very local level, so there is probably little to be gained from searching beyond the Devon area (including, of course, relevant census data).
Do the circumstances surrounding the museum's acquisition of these works hold no element that could be explored?
According to Eric Hemery's "Historic Dart" Miss C.B. Hunt was a pupil of Samuel Prout.
What are the chances that she used a pseudonym - a fairly common practice for female artists at that time?
There's a Catherine Burdwood Hunt baptised in the Baptist church in Devonport in 1797:
Name: Catherine Burdwood Hunt
Birth Date: 3 May 1797
Birth Place: Morice Square Baptist, Devonport, Devon, England
Father: Henry Hunt
FHL Film Number: 0917110 (RG4 960)
(This is from a search on Ancestry, but the data is from familysearch.org)
Prout was born in Pymouth and his eary career was in Devon and Cornwall
Catherine Burdwood Hunt feels right.
The GR index has a marriage that I overlooked because it was not in the Torquay-Dartmouth area.
Jul-Sep 1839; HUNT Catherine; East Stonehouse registration district, vol 9 p 355. The potential spouses are FORD Robert Eden; HANCOCK John; HARVEY Joseph; and HUSSEY William Thomas Hunt. She may paint later under her married name.
East Stonehouse parish is about 500 metres from Morice Square in Devonport. It used to have its own registration district.
Having researched my own ancestry, a well-off family in a Non-Conformist church would not be at all surprising. The marriage certificate would tell the collection more about Catherine, her father and husband.
Willian Thomas Hunt Hussey may indicate a 'cousinage' marriage, which was not uncommon when social circles were narrower and smaller (i.e in 'suitable class' and number terms). 'Pupil of Prout' might be more at second-hand through his published work (much of a self-help sort), since he was out of Plymouth from 1802 and only back there for the period 1805-08 in terms of local residence, rather than any social and family visits.
When a name appears twice on the same or adjacent register pages, an alternative to a marriage between distant relatives is a double wedding, not uncommon generally.
I would like to ask the collection what is their precise evidence for the tutor; and, more significantly, the evidence for dating, and whether there is a date range hiding behind that "circa 1839". If C.B.Hunt signs a picture after the 1839 wedding, this lady becomes less likely.
William Thos Hunt Hussey did not marry Catherine Hunt - in later records his wife is given as Caroline Aylmer Hussey, so clearly she is the Caroline Aylmer Giles also on the page.
Attached (with acknowledgements to Free BMD) are all the relevant marriage partners, male & female, to assist with finding the right couple in subsequent censuses, etc. It should be noted, though, that while an 1839 marriage is perfectly possible, in probability terms it is unusually late for someone born in 1797.
Also a small correction to something Malcolm wrote at the top. Though Torquay (or the parishes that it later covered) does seem to have been part of Newton Abbot registration district until 1924, Dartmouth was only in it between 1968 & 1998. Before that (i.e. from 1837) Dartmouth was part of Totnes RD.
I was wondering if anyone else would find Catherine Burdwood Hunt! I, too, feel she is a very likely candidate. Attached is her (original) baptism entry from 1797. In it her father Henry, is stated to be a shipwright of the parish of Stoke Damerel - a large one that covered Devonport (and more), and became its registration district from 1837-1898. I wish, though, I could tie him in with a more central/east part of Plymouth (either St Andrew or Charles parish), where I have made some interesting discoveries in the late C18th/19th Plymouth rate books that may link the Hunts with the Prouts. More of that later - I'm still sifting through and collating a mound of raw data.
We may not find a Catherine Ford in later censuses, because of this death record: Jan-Mar 1844; Ford Catherine; East Stoneham vol 9 page 244.
East Stoneham does not exist. A number of records were wrongly transcribed as such for the printed GR index. The volume and page number matches that of East Stonehouse Deaths in Q1 1844.
We may only know if CBH married Robert Eden Ford from the marriage certificate.