GILBERT, Wilkinson John

1805 - c.1870

Wilkinson John Gilbert was born at Wrentham, Suffolk on 14 May 1805, and baptised the following day, son of George Gilbert and his wife Betsy née Johnson. At the Court for the Relief of Insolvent Debtors, Wilkinson John Gilbert, formerly of Beccles, now of Bungay, drawing master, was discharged from his bankruptcy at the Insolvent Debtors Court held at the Shire Hall, Ipswich on 11 March 1833. He married at Halesworth, Suffolk in 1840, 21-year-old Harriet Symonds and in 1846 they lived at Pound Street, Halesworth. In 1851, Gilbert was a 46-year-old animal, portrait, and landscape artist, living at Pound Street, Halesworth with his 31-year-old wife Harriet, 10-year-old daughter Ada Jane and 2-year-old son Edwin Charles. A painter of many equestrian and sporting scenes, his pictures were decorative, and he paid great attention to detail. He appears to have exhibited publicly only once, at the Portland Gallery in 1851, and a pair of paintings ‘Shooting’ and ‘Hare Coursing’ signed and dated 1856, were auctioned at Sotheby’s Chester in 1981. By 1853 Gilbert had moved to Chediston Street, Halesworth but in 1861, an ‘artist’, boarding at the home of publican & butcher William Woods in Chediston Street, his wife Harriet, was a 40-year-old nurse at the nearby Bulcamp Union House. He seems to have had a dissolute life being regularly charged with drunkenness, having had several previous convictions, was charged on 15 June 1850 again on 15 June 1853 and on 27 October 1854. On 14 October 1859, an artist, he was found guilty of assaulting Elizabeth Rose and on 13 May 1861 he was charged with 'wilfully neglecting to maintain and provide for his son Claude Gilbert, whereby he had become chargeable to the parish of Halesworth' and on 29 May 1861 he was committed at Beccles 'for want of a surety on a charge of drunkenness' but was discharged by proclamation at Ipswich on 5 July 1861 and in May 1862 charged with being drunk and disorderly at Yoxford when committed to gaol for seven days. In September 1870, an artist, when lodging at 72 St Helens Street, Ipswich when 'in the habit of getting drunk' was accused of assaulting the housekeeper, Elizabeth Last, was sentenced to 14 days in gaol. In 1871, his wife Harriet was a widow and midwife, living at 195 Beresford Street, Stoke Newington with two of her children Ada and Claude, both unemployed and born at Halesworth. In 1891, Harriet was living in Putney with her unmarried daughter Ada and died in 1901.

Works by This Artist