Sunday, 8 December 2019

Sunday 8th December - Her First Place

I hope everyone has a nice quiet Sunday and can re-hydrate from all the sobbing we've been doing so far this week. Talking of which...

The First Place (1860) Arthur Elwood

Ah, bless her!  It was actually my daughter's 14th birthday a couple of days ago, at which point my father joyfully announced 'Oh, I started work at 14!'  Miss Walker was less than impressed by this, especially as I asked her what job she'd be starting on Monday.  As the roles of 'kitten tickler' and Chief Taster for Cadbury are currently unavailable, I suspect she'll not be quitting school quite yet.  Not like the good old days when she would have been straight into service as soon as she was able to hold a feather duster.  The poor little moppet in this picture is having a bit of a moment in her first job.  She's probably about the age of my daughter, sent away from home and now expected to do a pretty rigorous day's work for not much reward.  Granted, she will get a roof over her head and her meals, which is not to be sniffed at as before the welfare state, there was no protection for the poor, so compared to starving in a gutter, domestic service isn't that bad, I guess.

Arthur Erwood was a bit of a mystery.  Just known as 'A Erwood' in the records of this picture, a bit of digging revealed Arthur, born in 1840 in Newington, Surrey to John and Caroline Erwood.  He was the third child after Edward (1834-1894) and Rosalind (1835-c.1910), and both John and eldest son Edward were bank clerks.  Arthur had other ideas and in the 1861 census he is listed as 'artist painter'.  Impressively, at the 92nd exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1860, Arthur was responsible for seven pictures - Writing to Mother, The Rejected Picture, The First Place, Er Kommt Nicht, Das Brod Holen, Minding the House and The Signal.  As recorded in the 1862 Art Journal, Das Brod Holen was a picture selected by the prize holders of the current year from the Royal Academy.  So far, so very promising, but then that was it.  It might have been his father's death in 1864 that prompted a very sudden change in career, as Lord knows Jonathan did not leave Caroline any money.  When next we catch up with the Elwoods in 1871, Arthur is still living at home with his mum, but he is now a clerk in the Bank of England, like his father before him.  At the death of Caroline, in 1878, Arthur goes to live with his older brother, Edward.  Arthur finally moves to his own house after Edward's death in 1894 and lives quietly on his own in North Brixton with his housekeeper Alice Ward, until his death  in 1921.

I was intrigued by the pictures which had German titles, including Er Kommt Nicht (He is not coming?).  Possibly this is connected to Arthur's sister Rosalind married Johann Carl Julius Forster (1837-1916), fresh from Prussia, in 1861.  Rosalind and Johann (or the somewhat more Anglo-cized 'Charles Julius Forster' as he became) had a decent life.  He worked as a colonial magistrate and their children did very well for themselves.  After her death before the 1911 census, Johann went to live with their son in Haywards Heath, where he was the doctor in the local asylum.  

I love to end on an asylum, and so I will see you tomorrow...

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx