Recorded Works of John Ponsford R.A. - 4

Rev William Winterbotham (1763 - 1829) (Summer 1828) – oil on canvas – 50" x 40"

There were, or are, discussions to purchase, restore and display this portrait at the Plymouth Art Gallery.

William Winterbotham was born in Little Minories, Aldgate, London on 15 December 1763.

Because he expressed too liberal views in his sermons, Winterbotham was put into jail in Newgate Prison in 1793 and released in 1797. When he was in prison, he wrote An Historical, Geographical and Philosophical View of the Chinese Empire (1795), which provides general information about China, and An Historical, Geographical, Commericial, and Philosophical View of the American United States.

In 26th November 1797, he married Mary Brend and had children. (4 sons and 3 daughters) and died in 31st March 1829 in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Mrs. Rachel Bowditch of Taunton (1756-1827) Oil on canvas 31" x 24" - 1821.

This image kindly supplied courtesy of John Madin, Curator of Art, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Queen Street, Exeter.

Edward Goldsworthy, the chemist, druggist and historian, published his Recollections of Old Taunton in 1883. In his account of the town he describes the premises of the Bowditch family in Paul Street, as he recalled them in the 1820's.

Rachel Bowditch was born Rachel Pile, the third child of Robert and Mary Pile of Cheddon Fitzpaine, Somerset. Her baptism was recorded there for 12th November, 1756. In 1779 she married Samuel Bowditch of Taunton, by whom she had four children, Rachel, Hannah, James and Betty.

After she became widowed, Rachel Bowditch continued the family business as a drapery and a pawnbroker in Taunton.

Rachel Bowditch continued her business at North Street until 1823, when she announced her retirement after forty years in business. She is an example of the enterprising middle class female trader, whose work has been highlighted recently by a number of social historians. Mrs. Bowditch died in 1827 at the age of seventy-one. According to Edward Goldsworthy, who once owned this portrait, John Ponsford painted Mrs. Bowditch in 1821, when she would have been sixty-five years old and still trading.

Provenance

With Edward Goldsworthy, 1883. Presented by C. Tite of Taunton, 1927. Now in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter.

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