BALDRY, Joshua Kirby

1754 - 1828

Joshua Baldry

Joshua Kirby Baldry, sometimes Baldrey, was born about 1754, a native of Ipswich, son of Andrew Baldry (1728-1802), a draughtsman and engraver, and his wife Mary (1728-1806). Andrew was the illegitimate son of Andrew Rankin and Elizabeth Baldry, and was successively apprentice, partner and successor in the general painting business of Joshua's godfather, Joshua Kirby, after whom he was named, and trained his own sons Joshua and Robert. Joshua in turn took as pupils Robert Clamp, stipple portrait engraver, and his own son John Baldry, by his first marriage. Joshua exhibited considerable talents in this art, working both in the chalk and dot manners and practised both in London and Cambridge between 1780 and 1810, never settling permanently in either. town His first imprints as engraver and printseller were issues from Mr. Dibb's at Green Street, Grosvenor Street, London in 1780, but he was back in Trumpington Street, Cambridge in 1785, and back at Doughty & Co in Holborn, London three years later producing a series of satires against Hastings, Thurloe and Pitt. He exhibited portraits at the Royal Academy 1793-1794 and among his best works are 'The Finding of Moses' after Salvator Rosa, (1785) 'Diana in a Landscape' after Carlo Maratti; 'Lady Rawdon' after Reynolds (1783) and 'Atalanta' after Henry Bunbury (1790) also some subjects after Penny. In 1811 Baldry described himself as a miniature painter and in May 1809 published, at 5 guineas, a two-sheet reproduction of the east window of King's College chapel, Cambridge, which he had drawn, engraved, and for an extra guinea, coloured by hand. His eight-page 'Dissertation on the Windows of King's College Chapel, Cambridge' (1818) was to advertise the remaining stock of the prints and to solicit orders for a projected engraving of one of the south windows. His 'Dissertation' concludes sadly: "All these works have been executed by a man with a large increasing family, experiencing much sickness: and from the unpropitious stage of the time, struggling with difficulties". A widower when he married by licence at St Mary the Great, Cambridge on 12 June 1808, 20 year old Mary Jane Copsey (1787-1870) of Cambridge, when her father John Copsey, waggoner, of Saxham, Suffolk gave his consent and a daughter Mary was a witness, sister Mary married in 1806, John Marshall, a widower. By his second wife he had eleven children between 1808 and 1823. Baldry died at Hatfield Woodside, Hertfordshire on 6 December 1828, leaving a widow Mary Jane, aged 41, and eleven children totally unprovided for. Mary Jane Baldry was living in Mount Pleasant Almshouse along with an unmarried daughter Mary Copsey Baldry, and she died at Cambridge in 1870, aged 82. (Suffolk Writers from the beginning until 1800. Ipswich 2000).