I am researching the Kearsleys of Ripon because (a) I'd like to know more about the makers of the bed I have been sleeping in for the last 32 years, and (b) I'm looking for a worthy home for a large framed oil painting of a 19th century gentleman whom I believe to be a Kearsley.
The bed first of all: it was a wedding present (in Sep 1919) to my wife's grandparents. When it was given to us it still had the original mattresses - a feather one on top of a horsehair one. It is made of solid mahogany, or similar, and has massive turned spiral corner posts. My wife believes that it was made for her grandparents by coach builders from Ripon called Kearsley. They knew two of the Kearsleys: Arthur (second name William, we think) who was born in Yorkshire, lived latterly in Roydon, Hertfordshire, and died in the early 1970s; and Kitty, who didn't use her given name, which was something unusual beginning with 'A', probably Adeline. Kitty was a niece or great niece of Arthur. This brings me to . . .
. . . the oil painting: Kitty had this hanging in her house in St Annes, and gave it to my wife when she moved into a nursing home. Kitty died circa 1990. We believe the painting to be a portrait of Arthur's father or grandfather, and had it hanging in our hall until we moved into a house that was too small for a painting so large. It is now stored in our barn. If we understood its provenance better it might find a home in a museum or library in Ripon or nearby.
My research so far has revealed an Arthur William born in York in 1869/70, son of William Kearsley, coach builder, and his wife Mary Ann Hawker. William was a lot older than his wife, having been born in Ripon between 1810-1814. He began his working life in Ripon, presumably in partnership with his father (George?), and later moved to Little Stonegate, York, where he seems to have taken over the business run by another branch of the Kearsley family. It is presumably this William who in 1834 is listed, with George Kearsley, in Pigot's Directory for Ripon as Coach Builders and Harness Makers, Kirkgate. The 1861 and 1871 censuses refer to him as employer of 26 men and 12 apprentices, and of 30 men and 3 boys, respectively.
Please get in touch if you have any information that might help identify the man in the portrait. Now where did I put that photograph of it?
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