Davies Gilbert, M. A. by Howard, 1828
Davies Gilbert, M. A., President of the Royal Society, Member of Parliament, Etc. by Henry Howard, engraved by Samuel Cousins, 1828
Davies Gilbert (1767-1839) was an author, engineer, and politician. Born Davies Giddy, he changed his last name to Gilbert upon marrying Mary-Anne Gilbert in 1808. He had a great interest in science and worked to promote its advancement and growth throughout his lifetime. In 1785, he enrolled as a Gentleman Commoner of Pembroke College, Oxford, and in 1789 he received a Masters of Arts diploma from the University of Oxford. Gilbert was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1791, and later joined the Linnaen Society, as well. The next year, he was elected High Sheriff of Cornwall. This was followed in 1804 by a term in Parliament for the borough of Helston. In 1806, he was elected to serve as the Member of Parliament for Bodmin, a position which he held until 1832. When the Geological Society of Cornwall was founded in 1814, Gilbert was chosen as its president and his tenure lasted until his death. He acted as President of the Royal Society from 1827 to 1831. As an author, he wrote a number of works dealing with the history and culture of his native Cornwall. His most notable work being The Parochial History of Cornwall, founded on the Manuscript Histories of Mr. Hals and Mr. Tonkin (1838).
Henry Howard (1769-1847) was a British painter of portraits and history scenes. From 1786 to 1793, he was apprenticed to artist Phillip Reinagle and later married Reinagle's daughter Jane, with whom he had several children. Howard entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1788. While there, he won the silver medal for life drawing and the gold medal for history painting. In 1791, he traveled to Rome where he met sculptor John Flaxman. He began exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1794 upon returning to England and he contributed to Academy exhibitions until his death. His works were also exhibited at the British Institution. The Royal Academy admitted him as an Associate member in 1801 and he was elected a full member in 1808. Howard was elected as the Academy's Professor of Painting in 1833. Many of his subjects were drawn from literary works and he also contributed to collaborative decorative projects.
Samuel Cousins (1801-1887) was an excellent draughtsman and mezzotint engraver specializing in portraiture. His early likenesses, on display in his father's shop, caught the attention of Capt. Thomas Bagnold, who helped to secure an apprenticeship for Cousins with the engraver Samuel William Reynolds. Cousins spent seven years as Reynolds' apprentice and an additional four years as his assistant, at the urging of his patron Sir Thomas Dyke Acland. His first engraved work, a portrait of Edmund Kean, was based off his drawing of Kean and engraved during his apprenticeship. Cousins also claimed to have contributed eighty-nine of the three hundred sixty plates Reynolds was commissioned to engrave of Sir Joshua Reynolds works. In 1826, Acland commissioned him to engrave the portrait of Lady Acland and their children painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which was his first independent engraving. His mezzotints were so highly sought after that Cousins rarely had an opportunity to engrave anything of his own interest, because he was so busy completing commissions. In 1835, he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy.
- Naomi Bean