The Twickenham Museum
People : Artists and Painters

Joseph Charles Barrow

Joseph Charles Barrow was the son of Charles Barrow, of Barrow & Smith, linseed oil merchants of Upper Thames Street in London. By 1771 his father had moved the family to Fulwell Lodge in West Twickenham. Here he started a seed-crushing business using the adjacent mill on the River Crane.

Charles Barrow became a member of the Vestry in April 1772 and was appointed a churchwarden for 1776 and 1777. He attended Vestry on 1 April 1782, signing as Cha Barrow, then, after a gap of 18 months, on 19 October 1783 as Josh Chas Barrow, with a flourish.

The final signature appears for the Vestry meeting of 26 January 1784, in similar style, though without so much flourish. It can be suggested that the two later signatures were those of Charles's son, Joseph Charles. The property in Twickenham was sold in 1784.

Joseph Charles did not follow in his father's business: He took up art, and was engaged as an assistant in 1791 by Henry Pars at his drawing school in the Strand. He is noted as exhibiting between 1789 and 1802. He produced a number of views of Strawberry Hill.

He opened his own drawing school in 1792 at 12 Furnival's Court, Holborn where he gave evening classes in drawing twice a week. John Varley (1787-1842) is noted studying here in 1793. Subsequently Barrow took Varley on a sketching tour to Peterborough from which he emerged as a professional painter.

Barrow's drawing of St Mary's Church, engraved by G I Parkyns of Nottingham was published as an aquatint in 1789. His address at this time was given as 25 South Audley Street, London.

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