“Among the Huguenots he learned to be gentle”*

*G A Henty: St Bartholomew’s Eve (1894)

Photograph: 1, The Orchard, Bedford Park (with distinctive crow-stepped gable end) attributed to Norman Shaw.

Clerkenwell St James was an ancient parish in the Finsbury division of the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. Part of the parish of St James was split off as the parish of St John in 1723. However, for civil matters they remained a single parish. The parish Vestry became a nominating authority to the Metropolitan Board of Works in 1855. A reform of local government in 1900 abolished the Clerkenwell Vestry and the parish became part of the Metropolitan Borough of Finsbury.

Robert Paget married Martha Clarke, a music teacher, in 1853. They moved to London with their sons, Ernest and William, in 1856 so that Robert could take up a position with Clerkenwell Vestry. By 1870, he was Vestry Clerk, and his eldest son (Robert) Ernest was, as First Assistant Clerk, his immediate deputy. Robert was still in post when he died in 1892.

In London, the Pagets had a further eight children. Three of their daughters were musicians; three of their sons became artists, the eldest of whom was Henry Marriott. His artist brothers were Sidney Edward and Walter Stanley. Henry studied (alongside Samuel Butler) at Heatherley’s School of Art. It was here that he met the woman he would marry, fellow student Henrietta Farr. Henry went on to train at the Royal Academy Schools from 1874-79.

Henry became best known for his work with illustrated papers such as The Graphic and The Sphere between c1880 and the outbreak of the First World War. He exhibited widely and regularly in oils and watercolours, and was also a versatile book illustrator. He is particularly remembered for his illustrations for five of G A Henty’s novels. He also designed and made stage scenery and costumes. Henry’s experience in set design led to his being called up to do War work, in 1916, as part of a special design unit.

Henry Paget’s oil painting of 1884, Circé, is held at Hall Place by Bexley Heritage Trust under the title of Girl at a Loom. You can view the image on the Art UK site.

Henry married Henrietta Farr on 4th September, 1879, at Holy Trinity Church, Bromley.

The couple moved from Acton to Bedford Park, in time for the birth of their first child, Gladys, in early 1881. By the time their younger daughter, Dorothy, was born in the spring of 1882, they had moved into No 1, The Orchard, Bedford Park, a house which had a north facing artist’s studio built into it. 1888 and 1890 saw the respective births of the Pagets’ sons, Ferrand and Geoffrey. The family left the house at the end of 1895.

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