Archive for the ‘Forster family’ Category

The first “family historian” I met was John Arthur Blackett “Jack” Forster who visited my parents in the early 1960’s to look at our family documents and returned to regale us with details of his trip to Northumberland where he spent time cross-checking our documents in parish registers at Rothbury and Alwinton. From him we first learned about the Forster ancestral home Bygate Hall, which he also visited.  He was then a retired metallurgist. My father’s cousin, he was the eldest son of Arthur Edward Blackett Forster who was the eldest son of William Mark Forster.  You can find him in my family tree (the link to it is on the rhs of home page).  I’ve copied the major documents from his research for anyone who is interested. See “Early Forster documents” under the “Image gallery” tab above. His research was methodical and accurate as far as I can tell, except for the label on the portrait discussed in the last post.

I don’t have an adult photo of Jack, but this caricature from an unspecified newspaper in his Shire Councillor days is so very much as I remember him.

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The painting of the woman came with our Forster family photos and documents. I don’t think John “Jack” Forster can have seen it when he visited in the 1960s, or he would certainly have made the connection with this “painting of a man signed ‘J Wood 1846’ …believed to be a copy of a larger portrait of Luke Forster 1741-1806”  See Jack’s note below, written on the back of the photo.

Under the arm of the sofa in the portrait of the woman (written vertically)  is  “J Wood 1846”. She even appears to be sitting at the other end of the same sofa as the man, whose portrait appears to be a water colour sketch in exactly the same style. I assumed that they must be husband and wife, and that’s why I assumed she must be Mary Stokoe. She can’t be, because Mary Stokoe died in 1825 aged 82, and the (youngish) woman in the portrait is dressed in what would have been the height of fashion in – well, 1846.

Also I don’t think the man can be the Luke Forster who died in 1806 at 65. At age 30 in the 1770s wouldn’t he have been wearing a wig? I think Jack must have been misinformed by “Elizabeth Hampson of Mt. Morgan” (nee Gowdie) who would have been in her 80s when he spoke to her, and who at that time owned the original of the painting of the man. Both the man and the woman appear to be aged about in their 30s, as the younger Luke Forster and his wife Anne Blackett would have been in 1846, about 6 years before they left Northumberland for Australia. 

Can anyone help identify them? The only photos I have of Luke and Anne are in their old age.

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