DAVY, Henry

1793 - 1865

Henry Davy

Henry Davy was born at The Poplars, now Birketts Farm, on Westhall Common, near Beccles, Suffolk, on 30 May 1793, fifth son and youngest child of farmer Thomas Davy (1747-1813), and his second wife Sarah Gibson (1751-1831), eldest daughter of William Gibson, surgeon of Carlton Colville and Willingham Hall, Beccles, Suffolk. Henry was apprenticed to a grocer at Halesworth but had a leaning for drawing and studied under artist John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) at Great Yarmouth. He exhibited at the Norwich Society of Artists from Westhall, Beccles 1817-1819 and then spent time in Bury St Edmund’s, Suffolk offering to teach drawing, but from 1820 he again exhibited from Westhall, at the Norwich Society of Artist until 1823 when he moved to Southwold. He married at St Peter’s church, Ipswich on 30 November 1824, Sarah, daughter of Southwold bookseller James Bardwell (1772-1829) and his wife Sarah née Critten. He announced the following year that he had established a public library & reading room on West Green, Southwold and was also an art master, librarian & engraver. In 1829 he moved to Ipswich as artist & etcher and published and sold his prints from 16 Globe Street (now St George’s Street) Ipswich but was soon in financial difficulty when on 16 April 1833, Robert Deck (1789-1868), a printer on the Cornhill, Ipswich of his two main works, auctioned some of Davy’s furniture and books to pay himself and other creditors. A founder member of the Ipswich Society of Professional & Amateur Artists from 1832, and from his home he continued to take in pupils and concentrated on his etching of Suffolk scenes with which he was successful. He exhibited at the Suffolk Fine Arts Association exhibition at the New Lecture Hall of the Mechanics' Institution in August 1850, watercolours 'Helmingham Hall', 'View Looking down the Orwell Road to Freston Tower', and 'Freston Tower, looking towards Ipswich'. Henry Davy died of a heart attack at Ipswich on 8 February 1865 and buried in Ipswich cemetery and there is a joint memorial in St Matthew’s church. By his wife Sarah, who died at Ipswich on 26 April 1854, aged 51, he had sixteen children but only six survived to adulthood, Henry George Gibson Davy; Ellen born 20 May 1828; Frederick Davy; Thomas born 11 March 1838; Clara born 11 May 1839 and died 3 October 1889 and Edward born 22 September 1846 who was living at 34 Rectory Road, Ipswich in 1910 and died in 1923.

Works by This Artist