A bit of painting & some genealogical photo art

A bit of painting & some genealogical photo art

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In this post I shall ramble a bit about someone contacting me on Ancestry.com and discuss how that made me decide  to revitalise an old family photo. I shall also give you an update on the painting I started in April… I actually did a bit today.

OK – now for the genealogical ramblings you lucky people you.

So I have this really annoying ancestor called William Hanbury. In 1826 he’s recorded as a guitar maker living at 20 Denmark St in Soho London. To get an idea how significant this is, go look at the Wikipedia entry for Denmark Street, Soho. It’s a music mecca… it’s Tin Pan Alley… it has so many famous musicians associated with it. And maybe my ancestor was the first musical instrument maker based there… maybe.

The reason I call William Hanbury annoying is because other than a couple of minor documents there is actually very little knowledge about his life. Even when I investigate guitar makers I find a Thomas Hanbury at the same place making guitars seven years after William’s death (is he a son?) but no actual evidence of William. And, anyway, when he died his family moved in with his brother John Hanbury who lived a few suburbs away. And it was this brother about whom that I received a message on Ancestry.com.

By the way, if anyone has any pull with the owners of the shops currently there – could you try and get them to investigate a bit and see if they can find any clues regarding Hanburys at 20 Denmark  St Soho.

So what has this little story got to do with anything?

Well, after reading the message I wandered (figuratively) around Ancestry.com and saw my great grandfather William Clark Curling. It dawned on me that ages ago I received a scanned image of a photo of W C Curling. The photo was obviously in a poor condition and I had vowed one day to fix it up, but had never got around to it. Maybe now was the time. Here is the picture:

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He was a Sergeant in the 5th Royal Irish Regiment of Lancers, dying in 1890 in India as a result of a parade ground accident.

So I have started wondering whether, because I am a bit of an artist, I could do something spectacular with this. So I started on it with Photoshop today and am about a third of the way done. Here is where I am at:

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I still have heaps to go but its a beginning. The good thing is that I am receiving wonderful advice about the uniform’s colour from the National Army Museum in the UK. All I needed to do was email them and they were so responsive it blew me away. So a big cheers to them.

So this aside, today I stumbled down into my storm-torn studio and cleaned up a bit. Everything was blown around a bit, and there was some water damage, but not as bad as I had originally feared. I also picked up a brush for 20 minutes or so and dabbled a bit on the painting that I started last month. Here is a shot:

 

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Still very early days but I am beginning to get a sense for it. I am pulling the cliffs closer together than in my photo reference with the goals of adding more dramatic interest. I am also aiming to add more haze around the distant cliffs.

Once again, thanks for reading :)

Greg

 

 

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11 Comments


  1. Very interesting about all the genealogy. My family hits a frustrating dead end around my great-great grandfather. His name was Greenberry Summers, and you’d think it would be easy to track, but it turns out the name was just a little less common than John Smith around the time of the American Civil War! Anyway, love the restoration work you’re doing on your great-grandfather’s photo!

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    1. Wow. LOL. Yep – who would have thought Greenberry common! Yep – I have a few odd first names in my family that turned out to be very common – Zillah for example. In the late 1800s the number of Zillah Halls was astounding. Was your great great grandfather in any regiment that you can track?

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      1. Sadly, we used to have my grandfather’s pension papers (signed by Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury), but they were lost when my mom moved from California to Washington. I’ve long wished I had those, since they would give us more to work from.

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        1. No! No! No! That’s terrible losing such papers. Your mom must be devastated. Does the state hold copies?

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          1. Indeed. I thought those papers were safely with my mom’s possessions, but we couldn’t find them after she passed away. It’s a truly heartbreaking loss. I did write to Veterans Affairs and recovered some of the information, but nothing there has helped me proceed further.

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  2. Have you tried a reverse approach where you track down the very first instance of a Greenberry Summers and track the children’s lines? This approach follows the logic that they must all be somehow related and that Greenberry is a family hand me down name. Once you have such a list you can start a process of elimination.

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  3. Hi Greg. I Like what you have done with the old picture of your ancestor. It was a great photo to begin with although I have to agree not in the best of shape. I hope you will publish here it when you are finished.

    Speaking of odd names, there is a Greenberry Grace in my husband’s family in the same period as discussed above. One of the families in his line had quite a large number of children. It seems they couldn’t think of any new names after number six so the seventh child was named Seven. Eight, nine and ten died in infancy and then came Eleven. I don’t think they had any more children after Eleven (thank goodness).

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    1. LOL Eleven! That’s funny ☺ Yep – once done i will publish the photo ☺ It’s proving a challenge as i keep trying to source pictures that give me an idea of where i am going. For example there is some sort of stirrup emblem on his sleeve that i would like a better picture of. All fun ☺

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  4. Funny where inspiration comes from. That is nobel undertaking to preserve that image maybe future generations will find great pride and joy in your work. Keep at it. nice work by the way.

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    1. Thank you :) I’m not sure how good a job that I am doing. It’s funny leaping from one medium to another. Doing this in Photoshop with the old Wacom tablet that I am finally learning to use has been challenging. It’s like oil painting and yet its not. And its not really like my 3D modelling either. Nevertheless, I have a lifetime to get it right :) Once again thanks :) Greg

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    2. Thank you so much ☺ Sometimes there is too much inspiration LOL But yes, i hope future generations do see value in it. The really funny thing for me is that as i cleaned and coloured this photo i began to realize it had an uncanny resemblance to my cousin Kevin! ☺

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