1820-1840. 95 x 125 mm. (3 ½ x 5 inches), a dozen or so at 115 x 155 mm. (4 x 6 inches). 84 illustrations in watercolor and 94 in pen and ink, with some highlighted in color wash. About 20 percent of images are identified on the verso with a hand-written legend. Generally in very good condition, with a few cards foxed and a few corners bumped. Included is a carte de visite portrait of William Bull and two legal documents which contribute to the biography of the artist.
A remarkable collection of drawings and watercolors created by a legal clerk who traveled on the circuit with a member of the King’s Bench and recorded many of the place, people, and adventures that he witnessed while on the road. His images are charming in their choice of subjects, the detail of their composition, and many are adorned with rich primary colors applied in a deft yet self-trained manner.
Additional photographs are available on request.
Not only does this collection depict England’s countryside, but also the life of an itinerant legal clerk following Sir Joseph Littledale, the lawyer he worked for, who moved from town to town adjudicating cases that had implications for the Crown. The castles, churches, ruins, and topographical views of Isfield, West Drayton, Taunton, Llansteffan are recorded here. Some of the illustrations include the manor house where the court sessions were held giving this little archive not only a view of the picturesque in Northern England, but it is a document of the circuit system that was such an important element of English legal system.
Little is known of William Bull but the two photographs of him as an old man suggests a very sober potentially dower person who by all records never married. In 1825 he was commissioned by George IV to take “Oaths” and later he held Chambers in Chancery Lane and Grays Inn Road. The document which accompanies this archive, is William Bull’s “commission” from George IV and includes the seal and official stamp of the King. Item #134