Thursday 8 June 2017

The Cossins of Redland Court Bristol

The Cossins and Innys Families of Redland Court, Bristol.
in the 18th Century.

The busts of John and Martha Cossins and William and John Innys 
by Michael Rysbrack

now in the Redland Chapel, Redland.

Bust of John Cossins (1682 - 1759)

Martha Cossins nee Innys (- 1762)

Notes - 

Much of the information gathered here first appeared in 
Michael Rysbrack Sculptor 1694 - 1770. by Katherine Eustace - Exhibition Catalogue. City of Bristol Art Gallery 1982.

and A Place Full of Rich and Industrious People - Katherine Eustace - in British Art Journal Vol VII Spring Summer 2006.


John Cossins (1682 -1759).

of Redland Court, Redland, Bristol.
 Formerly of St Pauls Church Yard, Grocer.

Oil on canvas
743 x 615 mm.
This pair of portraits have been attributed traditionally to John Vanderbank (1694 - 1739).
Both in very good matching carved frames of the period - which have been regilded

Currently these portraits are at Redland Court on loan but due to return to Redland Chapel shortly. Redland Court has recently been sold to developers and the School is being amalgamated with another private girls school.

There is a paper label on the back perhaps in the hand of John Innys (Eustace): 

"John Cossins of Redland Court Esqr. Son of Roger Cossins of London by Martha one of the five Daughters and Co-Heiress of Francis Saville of London Esqr. He was born in London Feb. 20. 1682 Married Martha the youngest daughter of Andrew Innys of Bristol Gent. Feb. 5. 1714 Bought the mansion of Redland Court Jul. 18. 1732 Rebuilt the mansion House which was finished July 14. 1735 paid his Fine for Sherriffe of London and Middlesex June 23. 1737 Built the Chapel at Redland which was opened Oct. 5. 1743 was appointed High Sherriffe for the County of Gloucester Feb. 25. 1755 Was sworn into that office Mar. 10. 175: but was represented by his Brother in Law John Innys. He departed this Life at Redland Court April 19. 1759Aged 77. And was interred in the Vault under the Communion Table Post Funera Vertus. J. Vanderbank P."

George Vertue noted that "only intemperance prevented him from being the greatest portraitist of his generation

The copy of the Entombment by Anibale Carracci  formerly at Houghton, bought by Catherine the Great and subsequently destroyed in a fire in the Hermitage in St Peterberg is also attributed to Vanderbank.

Shiercliff in The Bristol and Hotwell Guide 1793 ascribes the Entombment to Moses Vanderbank the brother of John - (Eustace - I couldn't find a ref to Moses V in a copy of the Guide available online 
see -;view=1up;seq=7

Eustace notes that given the death of John Vanderbank in 1739, a year before work began on the Redland Chapel the attribution to Moses Vanderbank (fl 1720-45) is more likely.

Mrs Martha Cossins nee Innys (d. 1762).
Daughter of Andrew Innys.

These portraits have been attributed in the past to John Vanderbank (1694 - 1739).
Both have the scrubbed appearance of being over restored, particularly that of Mrs Cossins.

The copy in the Redland Chapel of the Entombment by Anibale Carracci  formerly at Houghton, bought by Catherine the Great and subsequently destroyed in a fire in the Hermitage in St Peterberg and attributed to Vanderbank.


John Michael Rysbrack, by John Vanderbank, circa 1728 - NPG 1802 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Michael Rysbrack
Oil on Canvas
1257 x 1003mm
John Vanderbank.
 National Portrait Gallery.

John Michael Rysbrack, by John Faber Jr, after  John Vanderbank, 1734 (1728) - NPG D4144 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Michael Rysbrack
by John Vanderbank 1728
Mezzotint by John Faber Jr.
358 x 257 mm
National Portrait Gallery.

Vanderbank was fairly prolific and given to having a good time but I publish these images to indicate that he and Rysbrack were probably fairly close acquaintances.  

These two images from the NPG published on this blog to coincide with

Printed Stone: Sculpture and its Images.

A workshop at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London, 12 June 2017

Organized by by Brigid von Preussen and Cora Gilroy-Ware.

For further details see


This portrait posted out of devilment.

Another portrait possibly of Michael Rysbrack (Philip Mould).
possibly John Vanderbank?
Oil on Canvas
902 x 704 mm

image courtesy Philip Mould, Historical Portraits


An artist; standing, nearly three-quarter length, half-r, eyes to front, r elbow resting and r hand holding a scroll of paper, on which is drawn a pair of legs, wearing a night-cap, coat, shirt and drapery Coloured chalks, squared for indentation

Drawing possibly by Vanderbank of an Artist
Squared for possible enlarging.

380 x 280 mm.
Croft Murray suggests that this is a reduced copy of a painting signed and dated Vander Banc Fecit 1729.
see -

Image -British Museum


Redland Court - Scottish Architect John Strahan

Redland Court c. 1735.
John Strahan (d. 1742)

Signed  by Strahan bottom right

Image British Library.

Gerry Nichols notes in 2013 on the BL Website - This original frontage was changed in 1747 by the addition of two extra bays making the proportions 2/3/2. The original 1/3/1 proportions are still visible on the rear elevation. The building is still in use as Redland High School for Girls.
Strahan probably came to Bristol from Scotland - the Innys (Innes) family - aristocratic from Morrayshire were also originally from Scotland.

see Article by Bryan Little -

Redland Court, Redland in about 1912



Redland Chapel 1788
Drawing Samuel Hieronymus Grimm 1788

British Library

Redland Chapel

Comment by Gerry Nichols on British Library webpage

"Most of the interior carvings were completed when the Chapel was opened as Thomas Paty the carver submitted his invoice for £106 8s 0d on 4 June 1743. A few details such as the pulpit canopy (1744) and three cherubim heads (1747) followed. All of the oak panelling was installed by William Brooks in May 1742. The wall around the churchyard was not completed until 1753. 
[Sources Redland Chapel and Redland H J Wilkins 1924 J W Arrowsmith Bristol Redland 791 to 1800 J.Charlton & D.M.Milton 1951 J.W.Arrowsmith Bristol]"


Redland Chapel & Gallery, with the Marble Bust of John Cossins Esqr. who died 19 April 1759 & Martha his wife who died 11 Feb 1762.

Comment on the British Library webpage says -
"This is almost certainly a Thomas Paty drawing of the original design for the decoration of the interior of Redland Chapel. The niches for the busts of John and Martha Cossins were not made in accordance with this drawing but had rounded heads. The busts carved by Michael Rusbrack in 1734 were brought from Redland Court and installed in the niches on 12 July 1762 after the death of John and Martha. 
In 1860 as part of a re-ordering of the Chapel, two lower arches were pierced in this wall with rounded heads". 
Source Redland and Redland Chapel H J Wilkins 1924 J W Arrowsmith. London. 


Photograph taken by the author.9 June 2017.
Redland Chapel The Monument in the Vestry erected at the expense of John Innys of Redland Court

The Monument in the Vestry, Redland Chapel erected at the Expense of John Innys.

Drawings of a monument in the Vestry of Redland Chapel, erected by John Innys. It has inscriptions for family members, including his two sisters Martha (married to John Cossins Esq who built the estate and chapel) and Ann Innys. Also Nicholas Marissal and his wife Mary (sister to John Cossins) are included. John Cossins came from a wealthy grocer's family in London and he married the daughter of a Bristol merchant Andrew Innys, settled in Bristol and bought the Redland Court estate. He replaced the old manor house with a fashionable classical mansion and he also built this chapel in a similar style.

"This monument was designed and executed by Thomas Paty of Bristol and finished on 15 July 1762. It includes the date of Martha Cossins death (11 February 1762). (added later - my comment see Eustace?) 

Source Redland and Redland Chapel H.J.Wilkins 1924, Arrowsmith. Bristol".

Comment by Gerry Nichols of 2013 on the British Library webpage.

Source of image and info. - British Library.

Drawing of Interior of The Redland Chapel by James Stewart Junior c. 1750.

[Interior View of Redland Chapel, near Redland Court, in Westbury-upon-Trim Parish]



Drawing of Interior of The Redland Chapel by James Stewart Junior

The British Library website has a comment that the figures represented are John and Martha Cossins on the left and Elizabeth ,William (bookseller) and John Innys* on the right.
Image Courtesy British Library.
see -

* John Innys inherited Redland Court on the death of his sister Martha Cossins


Detail of the monument to Andrew Innys.
died 1723, St Johns on the Wall, Bristol.

Signed M Rysbrack

Bristol Archives


For William Innys see -



For a useful account of John Innys see -

For some interesting notes the Innys family see -


to be continued......

Sunday 4 June 2017

Senesino - Roubiliac

Bust of Francesco Bernardi called Senesino (1686 - 1756).
c 1735.
Louis Francois Roubiliac.

Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Purchased 2016.

and the Lead Bust on the London Art Market in 2012 formerly (and wrongly) identified by me as Senesino.

Some time ago I wrote a blog entry regarding a lead portrait bust which I believed might be that of the castrato Opera singer Francesco Bernardi called Senesino.

Whilst recently searching for something else I came across the photographs of the bust of Senesino now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York see below.

This bust had been purchased from the sculpture dealer Patricia Wengraf of London with a provenance of Maria Avanzati (Florence).

When researching the lead bust (illustrated below) I approached by e mail Elizabetta Avanzati in Siena who had contributed 'The Unpublished Senesino' in the Exhibition catalogue of March to October 2006 - 'Handel and the Castrati' about the Italian opera singers in London in the 18th Century, for the Handel House Museum in London.

Elizabetta Avanzati was a descendant of the Bernardi family and kept the family home in Sienna.

She responded that the bust could not have been of Senesino but not giving any reasons and so I consequently let the matter drop. She has since died.

The mysterious lead bust has been sold and as far as I know is now in a private collection.

Elizabetta Avanzati also made a tantalizing reference in The Unpublished Senesino' to a pocket or account book still with the family in Siena, which was kept by the singer, noting amongst other things his expenses incurred in London before he left London in 1736 and his sitting to Roubiliac for his bust.

The contents of this pocket book should prove fascinating both to shed more light on Senesino and Artistic lives in the 1730's. I very much look forward to hearing more.

All being well the contents of this pocket book will be published when the Metropolitan Museum gets around to putting their researches into the public realm in 2018.

Senesino left directions in his will that a marble bust should be used on his funerary monument in the crypt of a local church - the Chiesa dell'Osservanza, in Siena which was destroyed during World War II.

The house that Senesino retired to and kept an Anglophile household
Palazzo Bernardi Avanzati
Via Montanini


The Lead Bust formerly wrongly identified by myself as Senesino.

The lead bust on display in London in 2012, formerlyidentified by me as possibly that of Senesino and currently tentatively identified here as Farinelli, now in a private collection.

Doubt still remains - this bust lacks the prominent mole on his right hand (proper) cheek seen in most of his portraits.

This is a very fine and rare mid 18th Century lead portrait bust - one of a very small group of this type of bust. See the very fine busts of Dr Salmon and his wife and another male bust in the Victoria and Albert Museum

In the past these busts have been attributed to John Cheere (1709 - 1787) younger brother of (Sir) Henry Cheere but so far to my knowledge very little evidence to their authorship has come to light.


Dimensions 61.6 x 54.8 x 22.7cms. Bust only.
Marble Socle - a replacement.

Photographs courtesy Metropolitan Museum New York

see -

I am informed by Patricia Wengraf that this bust is not yet on public display but is due to be mounted when the Met opens its new English Gallery in 2018. I believe they will publish their researches into the bust illustrated above at that time.

Portrait of the opera singer, half-length in an oval frame, supported by a slab on which lies an open book of music for Giulio Cesare, wearing an embroidered coat and wig; after Thomas Hudson.  1735  Mezzotint

Francesco Bernardi called Senesino
with a book open of the music Giulio Cesare
After Thomas Hudson
Engraved by Alexander van Haeken
355 x 251 mm.
British Museum

(The painting by Hudson has disappeared - last mentioned in Hudson’s sale at Christies of 26 Feb 1785, the pair to this print of Farinelli, by van Haeken after Lucy was engraved at the same time (see illustration below).


Portrait, half-length in an oval frame directed to right, cocked hat under left arm, wearing a shoulder length wig with tied ends over each shoulder, and a plain coat open over pale waistcoat and frilled cravat; after Goupy. 1727  Mezzotint

Francesco Bernardi called Senesino.
by Elisha Kirkall.
after Joseph Goupy.
277 x 219 mm. (trimmed).

British Museum.

They say - The print is surely the one advertised in the Daily Post, 19 May 1727: 'This Day is publish'd, A curious Metzotinto print of Seigneur Senesino, the famous Italian Singer. Done from the Original Picture by Mr. Jos. Goupy. 

Sold by Mr. Regnier, Printseller in Newport-street the End of Long Acre.'

Note - Nicole Celeste Regnier was the third wife of Louis Francois Roubiliac 
Married 1758 - 9.

Francesco Bernardi called Senesino c. 1720.


Photograph of the Portrait of Senesino as Bertarido dressed as an Hungerian Hussar in Handel's Rodelinda act I Scene VI, first performed on 13 February 1725 in the Kings Theater London.

Portrait by John Vanderbank

Photographed by the author with grateful thanks to James Carleton Harris, the Seventh Earl of Malmsbury, Greywill House, near Basingstoke, Hampshire.

For Invaluable information on mid 18th Century Art Theatre and Music see
the Harris Family Papers.

For a very useful introduction to the subject see -

Music and Theatre in Handel's World, The Family Papers of James Harris 1732 - 1780 by Donald Burrows and Rosemary Dunhill published Oxford 2002.


Carlo Broschi, called Farinelli (1705 - 82).


The engraving after Amiconi.


Engraving by Wagner,


After Amiconi.


Portrait of Farinelli, half-length in an oval frame, directed slightly to right, arms at his sides, looking towards the viewer, wearing a frogged coat over a brocaded waistcoat, buttoned at the waist, with a frilled cravat and short powdered wig, the frame standing on a plinth with music scores, including 'Artaxerxes' lying in front of it; after Lucy; modern impression.  1735  Mezzotint

Portrait of Farinelli with the Music of Artaxerxes.

Alexander van Haeken after Charles Lucy.
355 x 253 mm.

British Museum.


Engraved by Grignion.
after Amiconi.

19 x 15.5 cms.

Victoria and Albert Museum.


Portrait miniature of Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, Christian Friedrich Zincke, ca.1735, London, England. Enamel:

Miniature described by the V and A (I believe in error) as Carlo Broschi called Farenelli.

Christian Friederich Zinke.(1683/4 - 1767).

43 x 39 mm.

c. 1735.

Victoria and Albert Museum.

see -

This attribution by the V and A is an obvious mistake - the miniature below is very different but bears a close relationship to other portraits of the castrati singer note particularly the mole on left hand side of his face which appears on nearly all depictions of Farinelli.

If not Farinelli could it be Senesino?

I have not yet been in contact with the museum with reference to this miniature.


Farinelli (1705 - 82).

William Prewitt (various spellings) pupil of Zinke.
c. 1733 - 5.

Miniature Enamel.

51 x 42 mm

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.




76 x 63.5 cms.

Lot 234 - 4 July 2013.

Portrait Courtesy Sotheby's.

see -



Bartolomeo Nazari.

Image Royal College of Music.


Jacabo Amigoni.


Satire with Farinelli holding a sheet titled 'La colpa mia non รจ' sits supported by a muse while a donkey brays: see BMSat for full description.  c1731-7 Etching


British Museum


Portrait of the singer; half length, facing front; wearing embroidered waistcoat, frill, wig and jacket; within an oval on a pedestal with open music book resting on loose music sheet.  1736<br/>Mezzotint

Gioacchino Conti Gizziello (Italian Castrato Opera Singer)
Alexander van Haeken
after Charles Lucy
354 x 258 mm.

British Museum

Porpora playing on an Organ. Description to follow.  1735 Etching

British Museum.

This engraving only tangentially relevant, appealed to my puerile sense of humour

BM says - "Satire on Nicola Porpora who was a rival to Handel in the 1730s. 

The composer, a gaunt man wearing a large brimmed hat from which hangs a sheet of music, is seated astride the back of a man kneeling on the floor; he plays a small organ that rests on the man's shoulders; an owl perched on the top of the organ sings, "Da - a - a - a - vido". 

The man supporting the organ is playing the pan pipes; his breeches have been pulled down and a youth provides the wind for his music with a pair of bellows inserted into his anus; he carries on his back a basket laden with further pairs of bellow. 

Three sheets of paper lying on the floor refer to Porpora's works, "Poly[fem]o", "A[rtaxer]xes" and "D[avi]d". 



Beggars Opera.

Image from Metropolitan Museum, New York.


Image - British Museum.

Inscription content: Lettered within image, above with title followed by a dedication to "those Generous Encouragers of Foreigners, and Ruiners of England ...", below with verses beginning, "Brittains attend - view this harmonious Stage ...", and on either side with two scrolls listing "... the rich presents Signor Farinello ye Italian Singer Condiscended to accept ..."