Eunice Bagster the Illustrator📚

When we went to Shepton Fleamarket on the 5 March this was one of the items that I just had to have after I spotted it. I did see a name and dates and that was enough for me at the time. But when I got home I read Aunt Eunice Bagster. Taken 1867. Born 1804 April 29. Died May 7 1878. There is also very faint writing underneath saying ‘This belonged to E. …. (a descendant I would think) so entering Eunice Bagster and the birth and death dates into Ancestry the first item that came up was the Find A Grave record of Eunice and her family detailing parents and siblings, so after putting that all on a tree up popped so many hints I started to look through them all and that’s when I realised how famous the family of Bagster was and I was astonished to find the enormous wealth of information about them on the internet. So I shan’t repeat all of that, but just give you a brief family tree and a few links and some information about them that I thought was really interesting.

Find A Grave Biography details.

Daughter of Samuel Bagster and Eunice Denton (Birch) Bagster. She never married.

Buried 14 May 1878 with brother Samuel Bagster, brother John Bagster, father Samuel Bagster, Grace Bagster, brother Jonathan Bagster, mother Eunice Bagster, Eunice Bagster, niece Alice Bonner Trumper, sister-in-law Nancy Horsey Bagster, niece Eva Rosa Bagster, niece Cornelia Susanna Bagster, and grandniece-in law Hilda Marianne Trumper.

Then it also lists the family members above and their birth and death dates. Very helpful for starting my small tree of the family. Here’s the family group I have compiled:

Robert Louis Stevenson Review. The reason he wanted to write this review is that the publication in question, an 1845 illustrated edition of Pilgrim’s Progress published by Samuel Bagster, had clearly had a strong influence on Stevenson. He had received a copy from his parents in 1858, which, according to Swearingen, was inscribed “Robert L. Stevenson. From Pappa and Mamma, Jan. 1, 1858″…… ……Reviewing Bagster’s Pilgrim’s Progress afforded Stevenson the opportunity to find out who illustrated the text. Stevenson had thought that the artist was T. Condor, a map engraver and bookseller who had engraved the frontispiece of the edition. In fact, Henley was able to ascertain that it was Eunice Bagster, the eldest daughter of the publisher, who had done the illustrations.

Some of Eunice’s illustrations from the 1845 book published by her father Samuel Bagster

I wonder how many other books Eunice illustrated and did she have other talents?

During my research I came across a wonderful photo of Eunice Birch, who was Eunice Bagster’s mother, that is in the Royal Collection and was acquired by Queen Victoria, here’s the link here to the article dated 2016 from the Royal Historical Houses Blog: Bagster Family

This Blog mentions an auction where a number of objects were acquired and also mentions the Bagster Family…” that they had been passed down the generations by direct descent from Samuel Bagster the Elder. Samuel was the founder of the publishing firm Bagster & Sons and supplied bibles to King George IV, King William IV and Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was well acquainted with Samuel’s wife, Eunice Bagster, and it was through this connection that these objects found their way into the hands of the Bagster family”

Another more recent auction selling Bagster Family items was in April 2022 at Dominic Winter Auctioneers at Chippenham as I found this entry on their website. Presumably the items were sold by descendants of the family as in the case of the first auction I mentioned. The Album sold for £1,100 here’s one page that was on their website of Eunice with her Mother also Eunice:

EB is Eunice Bagster, wonderful they are dated too.

Bagster Family photograph albums. An album containing approximately 150 albumen prints and some salt prints of Eunice Bagster (1777-1877) and her family and home in Windsor, Berkshire, c. 1852-1854, mostly portrait shots of Eunice and other family members, plus members of the Birch, Lyall, Toms families, etc., a few photographs of the family home exteriors and interiors, images mostly 11 x 14 cm and smaller, pasted one or two to a page on rectos and versos with occasional blanks and a few photographs now loose or apparently missing, neatly captioned and often dated throughout, possibly annotated by Samuel and Eunice’s youngest son Cornelius, with a later note by Cornelius’s daughter Ada (1849-1941) stating that ‘This book contains amateur photographs of Old Windsor, the house and garden to which Samuel Bagster retired when leaving the Bible Publishing House… c. 1840’, dated 31 May 1936, contemporary morocco-backed cloth boards, heavily rubbed, 8vo, (230 x 150 mm), together with a second photographic scrap album compiled by Cornelius Birch Bagster (1815-1892), c. 1890, containing mounted albumen print photographs including cartes de visite and cabinet cards of Bagster family members, their Old Windsor home and other family friends and acquaintances, plus other letters and ephemera tipped in including In Memoriam cards, a lock of John Bagster’s hair with personal business card, sale particulars for Birch Cottage (1880), genealogical family tree material, chromo. scraps, etc., mostly pasted to rectos and versos of stiff card leaves with some blanks and additional material loosely inserted, leaves now sprung and some slightly chipped at edges, contemporary decorative cloth with crude leather reback and a cloth bag with fasteners, 4to, plus a partially completed third photograph album containing family photographs and holiday snapshots from c. 1860s to 1930, a total of 6 albumen or gelatin silver prints, some captioned, quarter morocco gilt, rubbed, 4t…..

Also sold were some very wonderful Daguerreotypes, this is one, a very rare photo of Samuel Bagster who died on 28 Mar 1851, Eunice’s father.

What a beautiful image, I love it! Very slightly coloured.

Bagster (Samuel, 1772-1851). A pair of half-plate daguerreotypes of Samuel Bagster and his wife. This one above also shows their daughter Eunice standing.
The Lot Sold for £2,200.

I have also found on Blackwell’s Rare Books for sale catalogue, more from the Bagster Family:

Archive of family letters. London, Old
Windsor, and elsewhere, 1813-1914, an album of some
200 leaves almost all of which have tipped onto them at
least 1 and often multiple items, being letters, poetical
compositions, riddles, narrative recollections, drawings,
and a few items of printed ephemera, other items loosely
inserted, a few of the album leaves torn and likewise splits
in the fold of letters, etc, but generally in good condition,
original leather-backed cloth boards, lettered in gilt at the
head of the spine ‘Miscellanies’, a bit rubbed, good £3,750

A remarkable, charming, and sometimes moving record of the family life of the publishing dynasty of Samuel
Bagster and his sons, providing a marvellous picture of 19th-century childhood, threaded together by the
long life of Samuel the elder’s much beloved wife, Eunice. Founded by Samuel Bagster the elder (1772-1851),
who was succeeded in the business by his sons Samuel the younger (1800-35) and Jonathan Bagster (1813-72),
Bagster and Sons were renowned in the early 19th century for bringing a wealth of rare scholarly Bibles and
liturgical texts to the mass market, most notably Polyglot Bibles and reprints of early Protestant translations
by Tyndall, Wycliff and Cranmer. Their efforts in producing affordable (yet finely printed) versions of the Bible
allowed the Bagsters to pioneer the avoidance of the monopoly printing of the Authorised Version.
The collection reveals much of the family life of the elder Samuel, the family patriarch, and his wife Eunice,

the younger Samuel, and, most especially Jonathan (who, indeed, seems to have compiled the album). Several
lengthier pieces are contained among a wealth of warm, loving, and humorous letters and original poetry – a
recourse to verse was endemic in the family. The two longest pieces are ‘Recollections of my Childhood’ by
Catherine Shaw, née Bagster, daughter to Jonathan, which runs to 45 pages, and ‘An Account of a Visit from
the Queen of England July 7th 1877’ by Mary Eunice Bagster. The latter, which is marked ‘Private’ and is
grandly got up – evidently a ‘fair copy’ – relates in great detail a remarkable, unannounced, visit by the Queen
to the 99-year-old Eunice Bagster (fellow Windsor resident). Just a few weeks later, a day short of her 100th
birthday, Eunice died ‑ the news of her death didn’t reach the Queen straight away, for pinned to one leaf of
the album is a dried rose from the bouquet that the Queen sent to Eunice for her 100th birthday.
The earliest dated piece is 1813, but there is one earlier text. In 1850 Samuel the elder copied out a letter
which his own father had written to him and his brother George in 1782.
The focus of the archive is almost exclusively on the family, and we see very little of the business. In one of the first
letters (loose at the front of the album), written from Paris in August 1833 by Eunice to Jonathan, we hear of
Samuel Bagster settling his accounts with Galiglani, and from 1856 there is an invitation to a wedding from the
widow Beroud-Gers, the Geneva publisher.

There is a good deal of humour, witness rebus letters, comical drawings, riddles, and a broadside printed upon
the loss of a dog and the offer of a reward. The dog is said to be ‘Fat, Old and partially Blind.’ The last is endorsed
on the verso: ‘This was included in Auntie’s last letter from Uncle, without note or comment. It nearly choked
Auntie when she read it.’

I wanted to be able to scan Eunice’s photo properly so I carefully removed one of the tacks holding the card at the back and then I was able to gently slide the photo out, after gently cleaning it I was able to scan, also there is some writing at the top saying ‘Bagster. ???. Eunice 21.L20.’ Was this held in a collection somewhere? Also very lightly pencilled on the back top corner is 5/5/1862. So it’s wonderful to know when this photo was taken. Eunice was 58 years old.

I think she looks rather a nice lady don’t you. Nice to be able to see the photo in more detail by scanning. Beautiful brooch.

Till next time then……

6 comments

  1. Love it! And thanks to you, I now have many, many family trees I’ve started. I’m researching old homes in my area (I live in a fairly older area in Vancouver BC, but not old according to UK standards) and by checking out our BC Directories online (scanned by the public library and free) I can figure out who owned or lived in the house. The BC Assessment site gives me the date the house was built. One thing leads to another and I’m utterly fascinated by it. The next step is visiting their graves in a cemetery close by me.
    I wonder how many trees you have?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thrilled I’ve inspired you to research your area, sounds like you’re doing a great job! Are you going to Blog/share all your research?
      I think I have almost 300 trees now, family history is addictive but in a good way, good luck with finding out lots more! Lynn x

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great idea to blog the research! Yes, I will plan on doing that. So far I only have one chapter. I enjoy writing for my local community newspaper (Renfrew Collingwood Community News) and back in 2018 I wrote about a little house on Park Avenue. Here is the link to it, my first “chapter”: https://renfrewcollingwoodcommunitynews.com/2018/07/30/the-little-house-on-park-avenue/ After writing about this house, I began doing more research on other old houses, as they are all being torn down for densification.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s great & would make a good starter for your first blog, look forward to reading. Sad when any buildings are demolished but it’s good that you can write about them & their history. Lynn x

        Like

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