Home | Quickinfo | Business | Travelling | Rail Directory | Tourism | Local History | Rayner Artists
Rayner quick jumps: Ann Frances Louise Margaret Nancy Richard Rose Samuel Paintings Sources Dudley

Ann at 73   


Ann Manser was born 29th October 1802 and showed promise in painting and engraving. Her father was a successful London publisher, William Manser, and allowed or even encouraged her artistic inclinations - which, of course were fairly common activities for the ladies of well-to-do families of the era. In Ann's case, she had genuine talent and exhibited some of her work. Through that she would become the matriarch of the Rayner artistic dynasty.

Left: Ann in 1875, when she was already 73 years old. We don't currently have a younger image of her.

Note: Ann's name appears variously with and without a final 'e' in references, and in her clear, confidently-written letter of 10th May 1848 referred to below, she signs herself 'Anne'. But family usage appears to be 'Ann' so that style has been used here.

Although Ann was both a painter and an engraver, it was for the latter that she became successful in her time, and is mainly known today. While it isn't immediately apparent how she came to meet Samuel Rayner, London was the main exhibiting centre for art, and they may have been introduced to each other in one of the galleries. Although they enjoyed each others' company, Ann's father was far less pleased with their mutual regard. As Samuel was 4 years younger than Ann, he may have been thought too young; but at this period, getting a daughter suitably married was a serious (sometimes desperate) aim in every society family's life, so William Manser must have had significant misgivings about Samuel's prospects or the match itself.

Madonna and child Madonna and child detail

Above, a full view and close-up of Ann's version of Raphael's Madonna of the chair, a copy of a copy (the original is in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence), and without St. John from the original. Florentine multicoloured versions on marble were popular from the 1840's and this is an early trial of that type.

In 1823/4 the young couple are believed to have solved the dilemma by eloping to get married before it could be prevented. Following the marriage at St George The Martyr Church in 1824 (according to Pallot's Marriage Index for England: 1780-1837, but not identifying which of that name) they lived briefly in London. Ann had their first child, William, in the same year - but he apparently died at birth or in early infancy. A daughter Ann (Nancy) followed in 1826, whereupon the young family moved to live in Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. Further children followed, but Ann still found time to turn out exquisitely detailed black Ashford marble engravings, including Matlock Bath (see below) and the frontage of Chatsworth House.

In 1842, the family moved south again to London, probably intending to spend the rest of their lives there. On 10th May 1848 Ann sent a letter from 15 Berners Street, London, to Henry Pelham-Clinton, 4th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne. The letter acknowledged the receipt of a cheque for five pounds and thanked the Duke for the 'kind consideration' displayed in the letter he had written to her and her husband, though the nature of this consideration is unknown to us as the Duke apparently did not keep a record of his outgoing correspondence.

Shortly after, Ann gave birth to another son, Richard, and he completed the new Rayner generation, who were as follows:
  • William Rayner, born 1824 in London, died at birth or early infancy
  • Ann Ingram Rayner, born 1st May 1826 in London, baptised 31st October 1830 when the family were living in Wardour Street, London, always known as Nancy - artist (as Nancy Rayner, but signing herself as A.J.Rayner)
  • Rhoda Rayner, born 1828 in Matlock Bath - artist (as Rose Rayner)
  • William Henry Rayner, born 26th June 1830, baptised at same time as Ann above.
  • Louisa Ingram Rayner, born 21st June 1832 in Matlock Bath, sometimes called Lou - artist (as Louise J. Rayner, but the 'J.' disappeared very quickly)
  • Frances Rayner, born 19th August 1834 in London - artist until she married Charles Copinger (but resumed professional painting later)
  • Samuel Rayner junior born c.1833
  • Margaret Rayner, born 30th July 1837 in Derby - artist
  • Grace Dorothy Rayner, born c.1839, usually called Doll - married into the Catto family
  • Richard Manser Rayner, born 28 June 1843 in London, sometimes called Dick - artist
Matlock Bath on black marble leather case

Above: "Matlock Bath" engraved by Ann Rayner on Ashford black marble.

The engraving is in Buxton art gallery, behind glass in a darkened alcove, making flash essential and reflections almost impossible to avoid - hence the bright area at the top. In fact part of the sky has been cropped here to reduce the distraction of the flash.

The engraving has a number of blemishes on the surface of the marble. Those in the sky have been edited out, but not those in the landscape.

Matlock Bath on black marbleAbove right: The engraving is complete with its own leather protective case, though the engraving is of course opened up for viewing. The wording on the case (in capitals) is "Matlock Bath drawn from nature and engraved with the diamond by Rayner". No first name appears on this engraving, nor on the Chatsworth one, possibly to increase the price by hiding the sex of the creator.

Engravings like this were known as moonlight sketches and are now rare as the vogue for them lasted only from around 1830 to 1850.

Above: the centre of Ann's Matlock Bath engraving in close-up.

Below: Conishead Priory by Rayner.

Conishead Priory by Rayner This image and the one below were supplied by Christopher Cavey, and as with the Matlock Bath example, the engraving above has suffered one or two fine but long scars. As far as possible, these have been edited out here. There are some small white glows in places, and we assume these to be blemishes as well. The readiness of the stone to scar demonstrates why Ann offered the engravings in a protective pouch. Conishead Priory still exists near Ulverston, Cumbria, but has gone through multiple ownerships and modifications since Ann's engraving.

Below: Much more recognisable if you've visited our Haddon Hall page is this engraving looking down the side of the Hall from the upper garden. The top right corner of the engraving was missing from our image. We don't have the official title for this engraving.

Garden side of the Hall

Two further Rayner engravings are known of: one taken from a picture of a sailing boat, and one of Chatsworth House. We're told that a small section on engraving black marble can be found in Derbyshire Black Marble by John Michael Tomlinson published by Peak District Mines Historical Society Ltd., at the Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, DE4 3NR in 1996 (ISBN 0 904334 X). It includes an engraving of Chatsworth House by Rayner.

The family fortunes would appear to have been riding high at this point, especially with Samuel being elected as an Associate of the Old Water Colour Society in 1848. However, this may not have been entirely the case. Although no evidence survives to support it, it does seem as though some stresses had appeared between Ann and Samuel, and they may have been financially-related. The strongest hints of this come from the disastrous court case of 1851 which resulted in Samuel's professional disgrace, though it isn't certain that he did anything legally wrong (for more on this go here).

Things became so much more difficult for Samuel after the court case that he ceased to exhibit his work in London. The death of their successful daughter Nancy in 1855 made things financially worse, so for a period (1859-64 at least) the family moved out of London and lived in Brighton. It is unclear how serious the fractures were between Ann and Samuel at this point, but the impression is that the marriage stayed intact and they did later return to the London area. By the 1871 Census, they were living in New Windsor, Berkshire, lodging at 7 York Place.

Below we see the abbreviated Census page, fortunately very neatly written by the census-taker. Click on the image to see it larger. You may need to click bottom-right to magnify it. Click the Back button to return here. Note the spelling of "Ann" - not carelessness: just two lines above, another lady is "Anne".

The two critical lines are enlarged here and broken in half to fit the screen. Their ages are given fairly accurately, Samuel gives his occupation as Member of the Watercolour Society, both give Middlesex as their county of birth, and the emptiness of the final column tells us that neither of them was considered Deaf-and-Dumb, Blind, Imbecile or Idiot, or Lunatic.

Rayner names

Rayner birthplace
After Sam died in 1879, Ann continued to live in New Windsor, at 5 Brunswick Terrace, Kings Road. Her unmarried daughter Margaret joined her soon after and kept company with her until Ann herself died in 1890.

Looking back from 1876, Ellen Clayton reports: Mrs Rayner was distinguished in early life for her beautiful engravings on black marble, though she has ceased to create artistic work in later years. [vol.1 p383]. In addition to the marble engravings, she also created paperweights which were popular and much sought after. By this time, of course, Ann was in her seventies, so her sight and delicacy of touch might both have receded somewhat from the level needed for engraving.

No prices known to us.

"Matlock Bath" is at Buxton art gallery; the frontage view of Chatsworth House was probably commissioned for Chatsworth House, and is still there. It is thought that she did about 50 engravings (some possibly quite small) and they only turn up rarely.
                  Harry Drummond, 2013.

Please take note: we claim no art expertise, and in no way do we offer provenance for any paintings. What you see here was compiled out of interest in Louise Rayner's paintings and those by her family, but is based on sometimes very fragmentary evidence. As such, it is inevitable that there will be errors, though we naturally hope to reduce these over time.

We would gratefully receive any information or corrections that will help us to fill the gaps and resolve unproved links - for example confirmation of dates of birth, death, etc., and details of other addresses the family lived at (and roughly when). Images of any of the family's paintings would also be very welcome. Thank you!

Copyright © 2013 DudleyMall.

  Home | Quickinfo | Business | Travelling | Rail Directory | Tourism | Local History | Rayner Artists

Email DudleyMall at:     Date reviewed: February 2013
DudleyMall, 62 Gervase Drive, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 4AT