GEORGE WALLIS' FAMILY
When these pages first appeared I said
that little was known about Wallis's family. But now a great deal
more is known. This information comes largely from Amanda Bell, a
great-great grandchild of George Wallis, to whom I am very much
indebted. A large amount of information about the life and work of
George Wallis's children comes from the wonderfully researched article
by Olga Baird: "The Knights of Museums: the Wallis Family and
their Memorabilia in the Collection of the Wolverhampton Art Gallery,
The Birmingham Historian, Issue 32, Summer 2008, pp. 23-29. I
am also obliged to Tony Leak, who is a descendant of William Wallis,
George's younger brother, for the census and trade directory information
given below and for the information about William Wallis and his family. This information arrived too late for it to be
integrated with the life of George Wallis appearing on the preceding
pages. This will be done in due course and the entry below for
George Wallis will have further summary details of his career added.
||Much of what follows is taken from
the Cundell Family Bible (1777) in which George Wallis wrote
‘The Family Register’. Since his death it has been updated
by other members of the family from different generations.
Wallis's wife was a Cundell and a printed version of her
family tree goes back to the 13th century. The
Cundells appear to have been minor landed gentry - probably
somewhat different in social status from George Wallis's
Left: Amanda Bell holding
the Cundell Bible.
John Wallis born Sept
1783 in Wolverhampton, married Mary Price of Wolverhampton
12.7.84 at the parish church Sedgley on 27.08.1810. According
to Sedgley parish records and to the Staffordshire Directory, 1818
and the Commercial Directory 1818-20, he was a brush maker.
There were many brushmakers in Wolverhampton making many sorts of
brushes. Did John Wallis make artists' brushes?
23.12.1818, aged 35, and was buried at the Collegiate Church,
Mary Wallis, after
John's death, is recorded, in the rate books as
living at Horseley Fields. At the 1841 census a Mary Wallis is
recorded, aged 55, as living at Horseley Fields with her sons
George, 25; William, 20; and John (20). She died at
Wolverhampton on 14.2.1864 (aged 80) and was interred in
Wolverhampton General Cemetery.
John and Mary Wallis are known, from the
Wolverhampton baptism records, to have had four children baptised:
George, baptised 9th June 1811
Richard, baptised 1st November 1812
Emma, baptised 8th August 1813
William, baptised 16th June 1818
In addition the records also show:
John Worrallas Wallis, son of John and Mart
Wallis, baptised 27th June 1819. This was a posthumous
birth. The child's middle name seems to show the
connection with the Worralow family. (His name appears in later
references as John Worralow Wallis). The birth also
suggests why George Wallis went to live with his uncle - to
relieve the pressure on his mother.
George Wallis was
born on the 8th June 1811 and baptised at St. Peters, Wolverhampton,
on 9th June 1811. He was the eldest child of John and Mary
In Robson's trade directory of 1839 he is
listed as being an artist living in Horseley Fields.
In the 1841 census George Wallis appears as
aged 25, artist, with Mary Wallis as head of the household.
They lived in Horseley Fields. His brother William is listed
as "painter" and his brother John as "Brush M". (Richard and
Emma may not have survived).
He married Matilda
Cundell second daughter of William and Caroline Cundell (born
30.6.1818) at St Mark’s Church Kennington, Camberwell on 30th
June 1842. He is described in the marriage certificate as
being an "artist" of Frances Street. She is described as the
daughter of William Cundell, farmer.
In the 1851 census George is living at 14
College Place, St. Pancras, and is described as "artist, portrait
and landscape painter".
In the Post Office Directory of 1854 he is
entered as the Headmaster of the Government School of Ornamental
Art. And in White's Directory of 1855 he is
In the 1861census he is listed as living at 16
Victoria Grove, Chelsea, "photo artist".
In the 1871 census he is listed at the same
address but as "Keeper of the Art Collection, South Kensington
In the 1881 census he is at 4 The Residences,
Kensington, and as "Keeper of the Collection of Science and Art" at
the South Kensington Museum.
In the 1891 census he appears at 2 Russel
Street, Walcot, Bath, a widower, and "Civil Service, Keeper of Art
Collection, Kensington Museum".
George Wallis died at 24 St.
George’s Road Wimbledon 24.10.1891 and was interred at Highgate
Cemetery in the family grave (No.3758) following a service at Holy
Trinity Church, Brompton.
Matilda Wallis died at No 4
the Residences South Kensington Museum on 8.3.1888 and was interred
at Highgate Cemetery, in the family grave) following a service at
Holy Trinity Church, Brompton.
Presumably Wallis had moved to Wimbledon after
the death of his wife, Matilda.
Two portraits, identified by
labels on their backs, as Caroline Cundell (Wallis's mother-in-law) and
Mary Wallis (Wallis's mother). By courtesy of Amanda Bell. These
images may not be reproduced in any form without the express consent of
Issue of George and Matilda
Esther Mary born
6.7.1843 at 20 Windsor Terrace City Road London, died at 14
College Place Camden 2.9.1850 aged 7 years. Interred at Highgate in
the family grave.
George Harry born
12.9.1847 at 7 Renshaw Street, Chorlton upon Medlock, Manchester.
Married 3.6.1880 Katherine Watson Carey, youngest daughter of Henry
Carey of Nottingham, and had issue: Muriel Carey, born
25.02.1882; George Dudley, born 16.03.1883; Katherine
Carey, born 22.08.1884.
Jane Kate born
19.7.1849 at 14 College Place, Camden.
Arthur Dudley born
30.10.1852 George St Villa Street, Aston, Birmingham. Died 10.4.1853
at the same place aged 5 months 11days. Interred at Highgate.
23.6.1855 at George St. Villa Street Birmingham. Married
Charlotte Mary White, eldest daughter of William White of
Chiselhurst, Kent, and had issue. They had three daughters (the
youngest of whom was Amanda Bell's grandmother).
Rosa born 5.3.1857 at
Stretton in the Peculiar of Penkridge in Stafford. She died in or
||The visiting card of Mrs. George
Wallis and the Misses Wallis. Unmarried women, living
with their parents, did not have their own cards but had
their names added to their mother's card in this fashion.
When Rosa and Jane moved out of 4 The Residences and set up
on their own, they would have had their own cards.
There were thus four children who survived to
adulthood: George Harry, Jane, Whitworth, and Rosa. Olga
Baird has traced much of their careers and full details appear in her
article. They may be summarised thus:
Both George Harry and Whitworth trained with their
father at the South Kensington Museum. Whitworth is know to have
been educated in London, Paris, Hanover and Berlin. He also had
some success as a painter.
|George Harry lived in Nottingham where he was the
curator of the Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery from
its first opening. He there married Kate Watson Carey
and had two daughters, Muriel and Katherine, and a son
George P Dudley Wallis.
This son became the Curator of the Holburn Museum of Art,
Bath, from 1913 to 1917 when he joined the army. In
1922 he was appointed Curator of the Gallery at the
Manchester Whitworth Institute. He seems to have
retired from there in 1938 and returned to London.
George Harry Wallis and his
children, from a cabinet photo. The dog was called
Whitworth, (possibly named after his father's old friend, Sir
Joseph Whitworth), having trained at the South Kensington Museum, had a
curatorial post there. He also kept the Indian Collections of the
Prince of Wales and of Queen Victoria. In 1883 he was appointed a
Curator at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, later becoming Keeper,
in which post he continued until his death in 1927. He was knighted
||Rosa trained at the Manchester College of Art and in
Berlin, and was a successful painter of flowers and
landscapes, and was also an etcher and enameller. She
travelled widely in Britain, Italy, France and Austria and
between 1880 and 1930 exhibited about 300 art works.
She remained unmarried, living with her parents with her
sister Jane, until some time in the early 1880s they both
moved to 7 Park View, Croydon; from 1902 they were at 39 Eardley Crescent, Earls Court, London; from1904 to
1909 they were at Redcliffe Studios, 80 Redcliffe Square;
and they moved, finally, to 11 Trebovir Road, Earls Court.
Amanda Bell has a picture (left) of Rosa's dated
1885 inscribed ‘A corner of our Drawing Room at 4 The
Residences South Kensington Museum.’
courtesy of Amanda Bell. This image may not be
reproduced in any form without the express consent of Amanda
Olga Baird points out that from these histories it
is clear that George Wallis produced a dynasty of artists and leading
museum and art gallery curators. George's brother, William, also
William Wallis and John Worralow Wallis
John Worralow Wallis seems to have been a brush
maker all his working life. He is listed as such in various
censuses and directories as late as 1867. He moved to Birmingham
at some point between 1851 and 1861.
William Wallis was also an artist and is listed as
such in various censuses and directories. He eventually became a
teacher at the Birmingham School of Art. Of his own children,
Walter Wallis became Head of the School of Art at Croydon. And
Walter Wallis's sons were also artistic, all three of them joining the
Artists Rifles in World War I. Charles had been an art student
prior to enlisting but was killed in the War. Walter Cyril is
said, within the family, to have become a museum curator in Edinburgh.