[ T. H. Watkins of Kensington, Victorian art collector. ] Manuscript 'Inventory' of the contents of Watkins' three-story Victorian house, compiled by E. Sainsbury, including a section describing his 44 'Pictures' and 'Contents of Laboratory'.

Thomas Henry Watkins (b.1831, fl.1895), of Kensington, Victorian art collector, educated at Christ's College, Cambridge [ E. Sainsbury of Bayswater, cataloguer ]
Publication details: 
Inventory of the contents of 90 Kensington Park Road, London, compiled by E. Sainsbury of 95 Westbourne Park Road, Bayswater. Undated, but late Victorian.
SKU: 20645

The proprietor, T. H. Watkins, was a private tutor in Kensington, west London, who over a number of years placed a series of advertisements in The Times, the last of which, 9 September 1895, boasted that his 'pupils during 25 years have taken the highest places for I.C.S., F.O., Interpreterships, Woolwich Staff Coll., Sandhurst, Coopers-hill, Woods and Forests, Militia, &c.' Watkins was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, and his entry in Peile's 'Biographical Register' of the college (1913) states that he was 'son of Thomas: born in London. Educated at Bonn University. Admitted from Sidney, where he kept four terms, a pensioner under Messrs Hays and Gunson 3 April 1857. Born 20 May 1831. B.A. (25th sen. opt.) 1860. Admitted scholar 8 June 1858. Master at Birmingham 1860; subsequently at Epsom College.' The present item is 25pp., 4to. On ruled paper in a notebook with waxed black card covers. Internally in good condition, lightly aged, in worn covers to the waxing of which fragments of paper adhere. Manuscript label on front cover: 'Mr. & Mrs. T. H. Watkins. | Inventory of Furniture | Instruments Works of Art &c.' Inside front cover: 'Inventory. | 90 Kenington [sic] Park Road. | of the | Household furniture | drawn by | E. Sainsbury | 95 Westbourne Park Road | Bayswater'. Sainsbury's is not a particularly professional effort and his spelling is shaky. Apart from the final two sections 'Pictures' and 'Contents of Laboratory', the inventory lists, over 18pp., the contents of the three-story house room by room: Entrance Hall; Landing; Dining Room; Study; Drawing Room; Small Drawing Room; Best Bedroom; Back Bedroom First Floor; Second Floor Front Bedroom; Small Front bedroom Second Floor; Second Floor Back bedroom; Third Floor Front room; Third Floor Back bedroom; Kitchen. The final page lists the 'Contents of Laboratory', including '20 Pieces Electrical Appuratus [sic]' and 'Chemical Chest. &c. 150 bottles'. (It may be significant that a later inhabitant of the house was the civil engineer Reginald Fairfax Middleton (c.1885-1948), a relation of whom appears, also living at the address, exhibited at the Royal Academy.] The main interest of the inventory consists of the six pages preceding the final page, which are devoted to the house's 44 'Pictures'. The first two entries indicate the cataloguer's method: 'Water colour drawing | Heidelberg | in Carved Guilt [sic] Frame | Reiner' and 'Oil painting | Christ led to Crucifixion | Jan Van Leyden | Black Frame'. The named artists are: Holt (four), Muller (two), Duval (two), Van Balem, Leyden (two), Rin, Duval, Williams, with copies from Turner, Gainsborough and Watteau. Together with the two pieces said to be by Jan Van Leyden (the second being 'Portrait […] gilt Frame'), of greatest interest is a work purported to be by Sir Peter Lely: 'Oil Portrait of girl by Lely | in Large gilt Frame | 5 feet by 3 ½'.