Stothard, Charles Alfred (DNB00)
|←Story, Thomas||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 54
Stothard, Charles Alfred
STOTHARD, CHARLES ALFRED (1786–1821), antiquarian draughtsman, born in London on 5 July 1786, was the second son of Thomas Stothard [q. v.] by his wife, Rebecca Watkins. He was educated in Latin by Robert Burnside [q. v.], and early showed talent for drawing. In 1807 he was admitted a student of the Royal Academy, and in 1811 he exhibited there a picture of the death of Richard II at Pontefract, in which the costumes were depicted with strict historical accuracy. In the same year he published the first number of the ‘Monumental Effigies of Great Britain,’ a work designed to portray the changes in English costume from the twelfth century to the reign of Henry VIII. The work was issued in twelve parts, of which the first ten were prepared by Stothard himself; but the last two issued after his death were the work of other artists. The letterpress was supplied by his brother-in-law, Alfred John Kempe [q. v.], and the last number appeared in 1832. A new edition, with considerable additions, edited by John Hewitt, was published in 1876.
In 1815 Stothard was employed by Daniel Lysons [q. v.] to make drawings for ‘Magna Britannia,’ and for this purpose he journeyed through northern England as far as the Picts' wall. During his absence in the north Lysons procured him the appointment of historical draughtsman to the Society of Antiquaries. In 1816 he was deputed by the society to make drawings of the Bayeux tapestry, and during his stay in Normandy discovered in a cellar at the abbey of Fontevrault effigies of several of the Plantagenet sovereigns. In 1818 the drawings of the tapestry were completed, and in the year following Stothard laid them before the Society of Antiquaries together with a valuable paper on the date of the tapestry (see Archæologia, xix. 184). In this essay Stothard for the first time pointed out that the tapestry might be contemporary with the events it depicted without being the work of Matilda [q. v.], queen of William of Normandy, with whom it was traditionally associated, and conclusively proved, from the accuracy of the costumes, that it could not be a work of twelfth-century date, as had been contended by the Abbé de la Rue (cf. Freeman, Norman Conquest, 1869, iii. 367). On 2 July of the same year Stothard was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and his drawings were published between 1821 and 1823 in the society's ‘Vetusta Monumenta’ (vol. vi. plates 1–17). Stothard was killed on 28 May 1821 by a fall from a ladder while he was making drawings of a stained-glass window in the church at Beerferris in Devonshire. He was buried at Beerferris. In February 1818 he married Anna Eliza, daughter of John Kempe, bullion-porter at the mint. She afterwards married Edward Atkyns Bray [q. v.], and was well known as a writer under her name of Anna Eliza Bray [q. v.]
Besides the works mentioned, Stothard illustrated his wife's ‘Letters written during a Tour through Normandy,’ London, 1820, 8vo. A portrait engraved from a miniature painted by Alfred Chalon is prefixed to Mrs. Stothard's ‘Memoirs’ of her husband.[Memoirs of C. A. Stothard, by Mrs. Stothard, 1823; Autobiography of Anna Eliza Bray, 1889; Memoir by A. J. Kempe in Gent. Mag. 1821, i. 643, reprinted in the Annual Biogr. and Obituary, 1822; Gent. Mag. 1830, ii. 497; Blackwood's Mag. xxxix. 764; Quarterly Review, xxv. 115; Redgrave's Dict. of English Artists; Bryan's Dict. of Painters and Engravers, ed. Graves; Encyclopædia Britannica, 9th edit.; Chambers's Encyclopædia, 1895.]