Photo credit: Warrington Museum & Art Gallery
In 2006, I made enquiries to Warrington Library for any information on the artist of this painting. I received a reply from the librarian that little was known, except ‘Daniel Donbavand’ had produced the first map of Warrington in 1772 along with a Mr Wallworth. A clipping in the Warrington Guardian, November 1936, refers to this map (Classification RWA Wp24145).
The collection comments: 'The painting itself is unsigned, but there are three undated engravings of the picture in Warrington Library, all of which record that "D. Donbavand" was the artist. We know that the scene can be dated to c.1772 because the scene matches a map in the archives made by Daniel Donbavand and Mr Wallworth, which originates from this period.
Given the correlation between the dates and surname it is reasonable to posit that the mapmaker and the artist are the same person, although it would be difficult to be certain.'
This discussion is now closed. The painting has been attributed to Daniel Donbavand (1751–c.1797) and dated c.1772. The Art UK record has been updated accordingly and the new information will be visible on the website in due course.
Thank you to all for participating in this discussion. To those viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all comments that led to this conclusion.
According to a Donbavand family website, this varient of the Dunbabin family originated in the Warrington area. There is a Daniel Donbavend who was born or christened in the year(s) 1737/38, son of Daniel Donbavend and Catherine Taylor. He was married to Elizabeth Strange and later Winifred Leathbarrow.
Having just found the parish records for these Daniel Donbavends, I see one is recorded as a 'webster', another is an illiterate captain in the militia, and another or 'weber', which I understand is a weavining trade. Therefore non of these are likely to be our Daniel.
It would be interesting to know a bit more about the Donbavend/ Wallworth map. Is there an inscription that clarifies their roles in its production?
I've found another Daniel Donbavend from around that time: a factory superintendant in Flintshire, but with possible links to Warrington:
There is a copy of the map in George III’s collection at the BL (with an incredibly long link, so I won’t – just search the catalogue), as well as the one at Cheshire Record Office**: http://archive.cheshire.gov.uk/calmview/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=D+5544/1
(I am having problems making this link work – if it won’t, copy and paste it into the address bar)
[**Warrington was moved from Lancashire to Cheshire in 1974, which has complicated a lot of the searching process.]
The map was engraved by the prolific and well-known Thomas Kitchin, and published in Sept 1773 – the full title is: “A Plan of the Town of Warrington in the County Palatine of Lancaster from an Accurate Survey taken in the Year 1772 by J. Wallworth D. Donbavand, Engraved by Thos. Kitchin, Hydrographer to His Majesty”. The only involvement of Donbavand & Wallworth of which we know was thus in taking the original survey, and the extreme rarity of the map suggests it may have been privately published. The National Archives version of the Cheshire Archives record says their copy of the map came from the office papers of a Warrington solicitor (Henry Greenall & Co) with links back to 1750, while Cheshire Archives own version suggests it came from a long-standing local estate agent, John White and Co. The links between Cheshire Archives and their NA records simply don’t make sense (and don’t work), but either way – solicitor or estate agent – it could support the hypothesis of an essentially private map. There seem to be three copies (one partial) in the Warrington Library Local Studies Collection, too, though the unclear cataloguing perhaps implies they are not originals: http://warc.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/client/en_GB/libonline/search/results?qu=Donbavand,+D&te=ILS
(If that link doesn’t work, to a search for “Donbavand, D”)
I am trying to get to the bottom this, as I’m now beginning to wonder if the ‘...three undated engravings of the picture in Warrington Library, all of which record that "D. Donbavand" was the artist’ mentioned in the Collection’s comments are in fact an error for these map copies. There seems to be no other evidence that the picture is by Donvaband.
I am now pretty certain that the Daniel Donvaband in Flintshire is the right man for the map surveyor – before moving to Wales at the end of the 1780s he was a merchant in Warrington, married there in 1781, and from details in his 1797 will, which is online, I’ve finally managed (I think) to pin down his parentage and year of birth, which was 1751. I’ve also found a good candidate for his fellow surveyor, James Wallworth, a schoolmaster of Warrington 1750s-80s and parish sub-clerk, who has suitable connections. I will write more of them anon, since I’ve already done the work; but in truth at the moment I am far from convinced that Donvaband painted the picture under discussion.
Sorry, I keep writing 'Donvaband' instead of 'Donbavand'. The latter is correct, though often found as 'Dunbavand'...and indeed as Dunbabin (a genuine variant), Donbewand, Dunbarren, Dunbasand, Dumbobbin, Doubavant, and many other variations and mis-readings - over three dozen at the last count!
As well as the map, the British Library also has a copy of the engraved views that Osmund appears to have cast doubt on. It is entitled: "A View of the TOWN of Warrington from a HOUSE near Atherton's Quay / D. Donbavand delt. ; T,, Kitchin Sculpt,," From the BL's description, "View of the town perched on a hill, with the tower of the Holy Trinity Church prominent above the houses. In the foreground the River Mersey turns sharply; on its banks a man follows his horse, fashionably-dressed gentlemen converse, and labourers gather hay.", it appears to be the same view as the painting.
The print, at sheet size 32.1 x 55.9 cms, is much smaller than the painting. It looks as if the painting may well be the original of the print, and thus by Donbavand, or, perhaps less likely, after the print.
Fantastic research on Daniel Dunbavand. I originally requested any information available on the painting and artist, and appreciate all comments and findings and time spent on this project. I will follow through with the Donbavands listed. I thank everyone concerned.
Doreen Cook Western Australia.
Thank you to everyone for your comments. The painting was a very early donation to the museum from local antiquarian Dr James Kendrick on the 26th October 1857 and has always been listed as the work of a D. Donbavand - this attribution supported by the contemporary print of the painting which cite the artist as a D. Donbavand. It is an important painting in terms of local history in that it is the earliest view of the town and one that captures it at its 18th century height - featuring as it does the glass cones of the Bank Quay glass works, the then newly-built Bank Hall (now our Town Hall) and the dissenting Warrington Academy which was, albeit briefly, one of the foremost educational establishments in the Northwest.
We'd be interested in hearing Osmund Bullock's research into Daniel Donbavand of Flintshire and James Wallworth. Both sound likely candidates to be the people behind the map and Daniel Donbavand may additionally be the artist of the picture.
The closeness of date and the fact that printmaker Thomas Kitchin made a print of both the Donbavand/Wallworth map and the Donbavand painting indicate (albeit not conclusively) that the D. Donbavand of the map and of the painting are the same person (The undated engravings of the picture referenced earlier are not - I should point out - erroneous references to copies of the map but copies of the engraving of the painting similar to that held in the British Library).
As Osmund Bullock correctly asserts Donbavand, Dunbavand, Dunbabin, Donbewand, Dunbarren, Dunbasand, Dumbobbin, Doubavant and more are all North Cheshire/South Lancashire variants of the same surname and obviously this complicates matters! There are, for instance, a number of wills under the name of Donbavand (and variants) at the record office in Chester.
Unfortunately given the 18th century date and the lack of documentary evidence it may be that we are unable to conclusively identify the artist and the mapmaker as the same individual.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this discussion and furthered knowledge about Daniel Donbavand and the context of this topographical scene of Warrington. There have been no further posts for almost a year so it seems appropriate to close the discussion and make a recommendation to Art UK.
The painting in the collection of Warrington Museum and Art Gallery is unsigned, but engravings of the same scene held by both the British Library and Warrington Library are after a painting by a 'D. Donbavand'. It is therefore highly probable that WMAG's painting is Donbavand's original rendition of the scene, although there is always a possibility that it is a later copy taken from the print.
Osmund's research indicates that the artist is likley to be Daniel Donbavand, a local merchant with links to Flintshire, who, along with schoolmaster James Wallworth, undertook surveys for the first map of Warrington in 1772.
It is therefore recommended that the painting is attributed to Daniel Donbavand (1751 - c.1797) and is dated c.1772.