London: Artists and Subjects, Portraits: British 19th C 32 Who painted this portrait of Sir Robert Carden?

Topic: Artist

This newspaper report suggests that 'Barker Harrison' painted this work:

From the other details in the piece (i.e. that 'Adeline Cooper' married him) their 1873 marriage record is here:

The artist's full name is John Barker Harrison.

Further records on Ancestry seem to show him with dates of 1819–1880:

I think this is him in the 1871 census (occupation artist):

I can't find him on Art UK, and 'John Harrison' is such a common name that it's difficult to know which is which. There's another mayoral portrait by 'Harrison' that could be by him:

It would be good to confirm if it's by John Barker Harrison, what his dates were, and if we can find any more about him.

I looked up some other portraits of Carden around this time and he doesn’t look quite so fully bearded:

The caricature in Vanity Fair of 1880 looks more like this painting, but I understand that the regalia might suggest a different date.

Andrew Shore, Entry reviewed by Art UK


The City of London Corporation replied:

Thank you very much for the enquiry. A brief search of our records does not bring up any connection with Harrison. The link to a ‘Council parlour at John-street’ does not suggest a City connection.

A Gallery volunteer checked the RA exhibitions and found a painting of R. W. Carden in 1851 (no.1075):

This date would correspond to when he was sheriff of Middlesex/London, not in 1857 as Lord Mayor as the date currently implies. Furthermore, the chain of office worn in this portrait confirms this was a painting of a sheriff, not a mayor.

The artist is recorded as H. L. Smith. Perhaps this is Herbert Luther Smith (1809–1870), but hopefully someone will be able to help us with this.

Jacinto Regalado,

A painter named J. B. Harrison exhibited portraits at the RA from 1867 to 1872, but not our portrait.

Jacinto Regalado,

If this is by John Barker Harrison (d. 1880), then a date of c. 1870(s) seems reasonable.

Jacinto Regalado,

That 1867 newspaper clipping says the artist was a Mr. Harrison, which goes with John Barker Harrison and a date of 1867.

Jacinto Regalado,

The 1867 article found by Marcie refers to the sitter as an Alderman, so presumably he is wearing an Alderman's regalia.

Marcie Doran,

I’m not able to access the UK version of Ancestry. I've attached the marriage record and the 1871 Census record that shows John Barker Harrison at the residence ‘Mabledon’ (owner: John Deacon).

The FindaGrave website has records for John Barker Harrison (d. 17 January 1880) and his wife Adeline Maxwell Barker Harrison (d. 27 August 1888).

Jacinto Regalado,

This is not the 1851 portrait by H.L. Smith, made when the sitter was 50, as he is clearly older here. Also, in the 1857 the engraving of him linked by Andrew above, he looked clearly younger.

Bill Ellson,

As set out in the City of London Corporation's reply posted by Marion Richards, above:
"the chain of office worn in this portrait confirms this was a painting of a sheriff"
It is the triple chain that signifies a sheriff.

Robert Carden served as a Sheriff 1850-1851, and was knighted in 1851.

Andrew Shore,

I reliase it's difficult to see on the image, but the chain he's wearing says 'FIDE ET AMORE' which was his personal motto (according to this list on Surrey County Council's website, which you can search using Ctrl+F: Can someone who knows about these things let us know if that would have come into effect when he was created a baronet (1887) or just knighted (1851)? That might help date it to earlier or later.

Jacinto Regalado,

There are a number of portraits of aldermen on Art UK wearing a triple chain, though there are others wearing different regalia. Just enter "alderman" the Art UK search engine.

Bill Ellson,

Andrew, by tradition those becoming Sheriffs of the City of London seek a grant of arms before taking up office. (Not the two who have just become Sheriffs, but that is another story.)

Jacinto, the two qualifications for the office of Lord Mayor of London are to be an Alderman and to have been a sheriff. Given that some Alderman who have been sheriff die / retire / resign without becoming Lord Mayor there have been on average slightly more than one Alderman a year as a sheriff. (The City of London has two sheriffs a year.) The present Lord Mayor Nicholas Lyons is Alderman for Tower Ward. His Aldermanic predecessor was Sir Paul Judge who was a sheriff in 2013/2014, but who died in 2017 without having become Lord Mayor.

Jacinto Regalado,

What regalia does an alderman wear and how is that different from the regalia of a sheriff?

Osmund Bullock,

Yes, exactly the same style of chain is seen in another portrait under discussion here, of Sir Robert's immediate predecessor as Sheriff of London & Middlesex, William Lawrence:

This leaves us with a puzzle. The portrait by H[erbert] L[uther] Smith exhibited at the RA in 1851 was in fact a drawing or miniature, not an oil, and is in any case not feasible on the grounds of our sitter's younger and less hirsute appearance in the 1850s. The 1867 portrait by Barker Harrison (whose second wife Adeline Cooper had before their marriage been instrumental in the 1860 founding of the Westminster Working Men's Club) is certainly a possibility, though I'd have thought that even 1867 was a bit early - it's only a decade after the two illustrations after photographs by Mayall were published in both the Illustrated Times & the ILN in Nov 1857 - see attached comparison.

But Carden was only Sheriff in 1850-1, so why is he wearing the Sheriff's chain in a much later portrait? I think the answer must be that while the Lord Mayoral chain was specific to the office and passed from Mayor to Mayor, the Sheriff's chain was, like that of William Lawrence, specific to the person. They both have coats of arms on them that relate to the bearer himself (though not necessarily newly granted): this one bears on the LHS the ancient arms of Carden or Cawarden - Sable, a staff-sling between two pheons argent - impaling (i.e. married to) on the right those of Andrews, Bt, of Berks - Gules, a saltire argent surmounted by another azure, charged in the centre with a bezant.

The arms borne by the Cardens later as baronets (created 1887) are more complex, but based on the same elements and retaining the same motto.

It may be that either a new Sheriff was expected to have his own chain of offfice made, or that he was given a personal one by the Corporation. In either case I imagine it was retained, and a later portrait might well include it.

Bill Ellson,

Aldermen as such do not have regalia.

As set out in the City of London Corporation's reply posted by Marion Richards, above:
"the chain of office worn in this portrait confirms this was a painting of a sheriff"
It is the triple chain that signifies a sheriff.

If you are so certain that the City of London Corporation have got it wrong then I suggest that you take the matter up with the Town Clerk, Mr Ian Thomas CBE.
The address is:
PO Box 270 London

Jacinto Regalado,

I am not certain of anything regarding the regalia, Bill, which is why I have been raising questions, as well as trying to make sense of why Carden would be wearing the regalia of an office he held for one year long before this portrait was painted.

Jacinto Regalado,

Marcie, the photo is at the NPG and I linked to it above.

Jacinto Regalado,

I can find nothing by Harrison for comparison, but this portrait does not really look like the work of Collins to me.

Osmund Bullock,

Those posthumously-published images of Carden are of little use, I'm afraid - when someone dies, publications use whatever photographs are available, and these can sometimes be quite old (though in times past they generally showed the subject more or less as he looked in recent years). In fact the ILN one is probably 1880s, but how does that help? - we already knew he looked like this in 1880 from the Spy cartoon. Even the NPG version of the photo engraved by The Graphic is so vaguely dated ('1870s or 1880s') that it leaves us no further on - the date is clearly a pure guess, probably based on his appearance in the cartoon.

What we need to know is (a) when he grew the (very) full beard, having previously just had bushy sideburns, and (b) when his hair turned white. If, as seems likely, the Collins portrait is the one at the Cutlers' Company, it will be very valuable if they do know the date. I hope you asked for a bigger image, too, Marcie - I think he may be wearing the Lord Mayor's robes and chain of office, though at this resolution it's hard to be sure (I'm attaching an enlarged but blurred image). That would likely make it 1857-58 (or perhaps a little later); that was also just after his first term as Master of the Company (1855), and the same time as he first won a parliamentary seat (1857), so a triply-appropriate time for the honour of a portrait.

1 attachment
Osmund Bullock,

I'm afraid it doesn't help, Marcie, as the LSCo is listed in Post Office directories at that address for many decades - from the mid-1850s until well after Carden's death. The Woodburytype process mentioned narrows things down, but unfortunately in the wrong direction - it became widespread from the 1870s, and in a very quick search I've found examples of the LSCo using it from 1880 and later. So there's nothing there to suggest that the NPG's date estimate of 1870s/80s is too late.

What we still badly need to see are reliably dated images from the 1860s, and/or very late 50s.

Jacinto Regalado,

Has Carden's ODNB entry been looked at for likenesses?

Marcie Doran,

Thanks, Osmund. I wondered if the name of the company printed on the NPG image might be important since that first link shows the version of the name used by the company at 54 Cheapside was the “London Stereoscopic Company” from “January 1856 - May 1859”.

Osmund Bullock,

No, although the full name of the firm was 'The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company', there are many examples online, easily found, of post-1859 photos/reproductions by them that are marked with the abbreviated 'London Stereoscopic Company', e.g. this Woodburytype one, published in 1880:

As I say, there is nothing to suggest that the NPG's date estimate of 1870s/80s for that image is too late.

Jacinto, yes it has - and no, there's nothing really new there. I am about to write a post relating to the first one on their list (attached), but it will have to wait as I need to get some sleep.

1 attachment
Osmund Bullock,

The BM has a better image of one of the two photographs by Mayall that were reproduced in the ILN and the Illustrated Times in early Nov 1857. Those woodcut versions were published to mark his recent election as Lord Mayor (29 Sep), but before he had officially taken up office (mid-Nov) - photographs of him in the Mayor’s robes and regalia are thus unlikely to have been available. This is confirmed by the new, clearer image (also pub. 1857), which shows that he is in fact wearing his chain and robes as Sheriff. It also reveals him as looking (arguably) somewhat older than in the woodcuts – the eyes are certainly baggier, the sideburns more distinctly greying…and perhaps some white in his head hair as well? See attached.

This means that what I took to be rather worryingly young-looking images from 1857, are more likely to date from c.1850-51 or just after, and are not quite so youthful. And since as much as 17 years (and probably at least 15) may have passed between the Mayall photographs and the Barker Harrison portrait, my concerns that our portrait was unlikely to be as early as 1867 have been largely allayed.

This is reinforced by Carden’s appearance in the Cutlers' Company portrait, which even at the low resolution so far available seems to show him older again, with a lot of white in both head hair and sideburns (see 06/10/2023 03:32). If a higher-res image is forthcoming, and confirms my belief that this is his portrait as Lord Mayor with a date of c.1858, then I think it eminently likely that our portrait is indeed the Harrison work of 1867.

Kieran Owens,

A long biographical obituary notice on John Barker Harrison (1819-1880), which mentions his 1867 portrait of Carden, appeared in the June 1880 edition of the The Ragged School Union Quarterly Record:

On the 13th March 1873, the by-then-widowed Harrison married, at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Bournemouth, the former opera singer, composer and teacher, Adeline Maxwell Cooper (1820-1888):

Adeline Maxwell Cooper had been baptised on the 3rd May 1820, in St Giles in the Fields, Holborn, the daughter of the "reputed father" William Maxwell Cooper, of High Holborn, an officer in the army.

John Barker Harrison died at 78, Coleshill Street, Eaton Square, on the 10th January 1880, aged 61, and was buried in Brompton cemetery on the following 17th January.

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