Painting signed 'BB'
Painting in water colours of Newgate Street in the City of London, with the Magpie & Stump pub on the left, and Newgate Prison on the right.
The painting dates from around 1815 – 1830.
On the back of the mount is written in Jim Herbert's handwriting: ‘This water colour was found behind another at Herbert & Sons Ltd. It is signed ‘BB'. Was it painted by Benjamin Brinkhurst'?
Benjamin Brinkhurst (1763 -1848) was a customs officer (tidewaiter) whose daughter Sarah (1809 – 1901) married Thomas Herbert (1811 – 1876).
The Magpie & Stump was a notorious spot for watching public executions being carried out outside the prison, the upstairs windows having an excellent vantage point away from the street itself. This Thomas Rowlandson print of 1806 shows an execution outside Newgate Prison, with three bodies hanging from the scaffold and the crowd gathered around. St Sepulchres church can be seen in the background.
Public hangings drew vast crowds and were discontinued in 1868 with the execution of Michael Barrett for the Clerkenwell Explosion, a crime which it was later shown he did not commit.
The current Magpie & Stump has moved across the road to 18 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7EP
www.magpieandstump.com, and the site is now occupied by The Viaduct Tavern, built in 1869.
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