Henry Irwin 19th centure sketches of Jersey

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Henry Irwin
19th century sketches of Jersey


Who was Henry Irwin, and when did he make these sketches in Jersey?

This fascinating view of Bouley Bay was drawn long before the jetty was built there

The website of www.watercolourworld.org, dedicated to watercolour paintings, contains a collection of pen and ink sketches of Jersey and Ireland by Henry Irwin. They are from an album titled Views taken in the Island of Jersey by Henry Irwin and are described as being from 'a private collection'. There is no further information about these sketches. There is no obvious reason for including them in a website devoted to watercolour paintings and no information is given about who Henry Irwin was and when he made these sketches. Unusually, Google is no further help.

After much deliberation we have come to the conclusion that, if all these sketches were made at the same time, the most likely date is in the second half of the first decade of the 19th century. There are several including coastal towers which were built in the 1780s, which limits the starting point. That showing the signal station on Mont de La Ville must surely predate the construction of Fort Regent, between 1806 and 1814. That showing 'Mr Hemery's house on the corner of La Motte Street and St Saviour's Road excludes the row of houses built by Jacques Hemery to the left, completed in 1808. But that showing 'Col Le Couteur's house' confuses the issue, because the celebrated Jersey Army Officer was not promoted Colonel until 1808.

These conflicts are unresolved, but we believe that the sketches were made around 1806-1808, and the descriptions given to each image on the Watercolourworld website may have been applied to the sketches some time after they were drawn

Click on thumbnails to see a larger image.

'St Helier and Fort Regent' is the description given but there is no sign of the Fort

Notes and references

  1. The lavoir today, little changed in over two centuries
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