Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 41.djvu/31

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

ture, carpentry, masonry, perspective, projection, stereography, stereotomy, &c., for Rees's ‘Cyclopædia,’ and on carpentry for Brewster's ‘Edinburgh Encyclopædia.’ For both these works he prepared many of his own plates. He contributed to the ‘Philosophical Magazine’ in 1798 ‘Propositions respecting the Mechanical Power of the Wedge’ (pp. 316–319).

Michael Angelo Nicholson (d. 1842), architectural draughtsman, son of Peter, studied architectural drawing at the school of P. Brown in Wells Street. He engraved plates for his father's works and articles in cyclopædias, and lithographed in 1826 the folio plates for Inwood's ‘Erechtheion.’ Between 1812 and 1828 he exhibited architectural drawings at the Royal Academy. A plan and elevation for a house at Carstairs, Lanarkshire, designed by him, are given in his father's ‘New Practical Builder,’ 1823, p. 566. On the title-page of his ‘Five Orders’ he describes himself as professor of architecture and perspective. He kept a school for architectural drawing in Melton Place, Euston Square. He claims to have improved the centrolinead invented by his father, and to have invented the inverted trammel, an instrument for drawing ellipses. He died in 1842, leaving a large family. Besides ‘The Practical Cabinet Maker’ published with his father, his works include: 1. ‘The Carpenter and Joiner's Companion,’ London, 1826 (with Derby's portrait of his father). 2. ‘The Five Orders, Geometrical and in Perspective,’ London, 1834. 3. ‘The Carpenter's and Joiner's New Practical Work on Handrailing,’ London, 1836.

[Dict. of Architecture; Chambers's and Thomson's Biog. Dict. of Scotsmen; Civil Engineer, 1840 pp. 152–3, 1844 pp. 425–7; memoir supposed to have been written by his son-in-law, and prefixed to the Builder and Workman's New Director (reprinted in the Mechanics' Mag. 1825); Builder, 1846 p. 514, 1849 pp. 615–6; Philosophical Mag. 1837 pp. 74, 167; Report of the British Association … held in Cambridge in 1833, London, 1834 p. 342; Royal Academy Catalogues, 1812, 1817, 1823, 1826, 1828; bibliographies of Watt, Lowndes, and Allibone; library catalogues of Sir John Soane's Museum, Royal Institute of British Architects, Institution of Civil Engineers, Trin. Coll. Dublin, South Kensington Museum, the Advocates at Edinburgh, Bodleian, Brit. Mus.; information from the Rev. J. T. Suttie, of Christ Church, Carlisle.]

B. P.

NICHOLSON, RENTON (1809–1861), known as the Lord Chief Baron, was born in a house opposite to the Old Nag's Head tavern in the Hackney Road, London, 4 April 1809, and educated under Henry Butter, the author of the ‘Etymological Spelling Book.’ At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a pawnbroker, and was employed until 1830 by various pawnbrokers. About March 1830 he started in business as a jeweller at 99 Quadrant, Regent Street, but on 1 Dec. 1831 he became insolvent, and paid the first of many visits to the King's Bench and Whitecross Street prisons. On one occasion, after being released from the latter prison, he was in so destitute a condition that for several nights he slept on the doorstep of the Bishop of London's house in St. James's Square. He afterwards picked up a living by frequenting gambling-rooms or billiard-rooms, and in the summer months went speeling, i.e., playing roulette in a tent on racecourses. He afterwards kept a cigar shop, and subsequently became a wine merchant. Finally, a printer named Joseph Last of Edward Street, Hampstead Road, employed him to edit ‘The Town,’ a weekly paper, the first number of which appeared on Saturday, 3 June 1837. It was a society journal, dealing with flash life. The last issue, numbered 156, appeared on Saturday, 23 May 1840. In the meantime, in conjunction with Last and Charles Pitcher, a sporting character, he had started ‘The Crown,’ a weekly paper supporting the beer-sellers, which came to an untimely end with No. 42, 14 April 1839.

In partnership with Thomas Bartlett Simpson, in 1841 he opened the Garrick's Head and Town Hotel, 27 Bow Street, Covent Garden, and in a large room in this house, on Monday, 8 March 1841, established the well-known Judge and Jury Society, where he himself soon presided, under the title of ‘The Lord Chief Baron.’ Members of both houses of parliament, statesmen, poets, actors, and others visited the Garrick's Head, and it was not an uncommon occurrence to see the jury composed of peers and members of the lower house. The trials were humorous, and gave occasion for much real eloquence, brilliant repartee, fluent satire, and not unfrequently for indecent witticism. Nicholson's position as a mock judge was one of the sternest realities of eccentric history. Attorneys when suing him addressed him as ‘my lord.’ Sheriffs' officers, when executing a writ, apologised for the disagreeable duty they were compelled to perform ‘on the court.’ On 31 July and 1 and 2 Aug. 1843 he gave a three days' fête at Cremorne Gardens.

In 1844 the Judge and Jury Society was removed to the Coal Hole, Fountain Court, 103 Strand, and the entertainment was varied by the introduction of mock elections and mock parliamentary debates. At various times Nicholson ‘went circuit,’ and held his court in provincial towns. During the summer