Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kerrich, Thomas

KERRICH, THOMAS (1748–1828), librarian of the university of Cambridge, born 4 Feb. 1748, was son of Samuel Kerrich, D.D., vicar of Dersingham and rector of Wolferton and West Newton, Norfolk, by his second wife, Barbara, elder daughter of Matthew Postlethwayt, archdeacon of Norwich. He was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, graduated B.A. in 1771 as second senior optime, and was elected one of Worts's travelling bachelors. Kerrich was accompanied in his travels by a pupil, John Pettiward, fellow-commoner of Trinity, and journeyed through France, the Low Countries, and Italy, residing at Paris for six months and at Rome for two years. At Antwerp the Academy of Painting awarded to him a silver medal for the best drawing. During his tenure of the travelling fellowship he devoted most of his time to artistic pursuits and antiquarian research, and made a fine collection of drawings from old monuments.

Returning to Cambridge he proceeded M. A. in 1775, and about the same time was elected a fellow of his college. In 1784 he was presented to the vicarage of Dersingham, which had previously been held by his father; and to the vicarage of Hemisby, Norfolk, in 1786. In 1793 he served the university office of taxor. On 21 Sept. 1797 he was elected principal librarian of the university on the death of Dr. Richard Farmer [q. v.] (Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, iv. 460). In the same year he was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He was collated to a prebend in the church of Lincoln in 1798, and to one in the church of Wells in 1812 (Le Neve, Fasti, ed. Hardy, i. 197, 200, ii. 215). He died at his residence in Free School Lane, Cambridge, on 10 May 1828.

He married Sophia, fourth daughter of Richard Hnyles, M.D., of Cambridge. By that lady, who died on 23 July 1835, he had one son and two daughters, one of whom, Frances Margaretta, became the wife of the Rev. Charles Henry Hartshorne [q. v.], and died 3 Jan. 1892. The son, Richard Edward Kerrich, M. A., of Christ's College, Cambridge, died in 1872.

To great antiquarian and architectural knowledge Kerrich united the most accurate skill as a painter and a draughtsman. He was also a miniature-painter and a practised etcher, contributing some highly finished drawings to Gough's 'Sepulchral Monuments.' He was one of the earliest lithographers, and executed the portraits of Henry VI and Richard III for Fenn's 'Paston Letters.' His very curious collection of early royal portraits he bequeathed to the Society of Antiquaries. A list of them is printed in Nichols's 'Illustrations of Literature,' vi. 818, and a catalogue raisonn6 by Mr. G. Scharf in the 'Fine Arts Quarterly 'Review'for 1865. To the British Museum he bequeathed his extensive manuscript collections and sketches in tration of ancient costumes, consisting chiefly of drawings from monuments, sepulchral brasses, stained windows, seals, and armour. These are contained in forty-eight volumes of various sizes, Addit. MSS. 6728–73. The volumes 6760–73, which form part of the legacy, contain the collections of James Essex [q. v.], architect, of Cambridge. The vol. 6735 contains drawings and plans by Kerrich of various ecclesiastical buildings, and of English castles and camps illustrative of military architecture. Kerrich's son presented his father's large collection of coins to the Society of Antiquaries, and bequeathed to the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge seven pictures, two hundred volumes of books, and many valuable portfolios of early prints.

To the ‘Archæologia’ Kerrich contributed: 1. ‘Some Observations on the Gothic Buildings abroad, particularly those in Italy, and on Gothic Architecture in General,’ 1809, xvi. 292–325, illustrated by eighteen plates of sketches and sections of cathedrals. 2. ‘Account of some Lids of Stone Coffins discovered in Cambridge Castle in 1810,’ with two plates, 1813, xvii. 228. 3. ‘Observations upon some Sepulchral Monuments in Italy and France,’ 1814, xviii. 186–96, accompanied by eight plates either etched by Kerrich or copied from his etchings. 4. ‘Observations on the use of the mysterious figure called Vesica Piscis in the Architecture of the Middle Ages, and in Gothic Architecture,’ 1820, xix. 353–368, accompanied by fifteen plates containing no fewer than sixty-five drafts of the ground plans and arches of ancient ecclesiastical edifices, both abroad and at home.

A posthumous work of his is entitled ‘A Catalogue of the Prints which have been engraved after Martin Heemskerck; or rather, an Essay towards such a Catalogue,’ Cambridge, 1829, 8vo.

The portraits of Robert Glynn (afterwards Clobery), M.D. [q. v.], Thomas Wale of Shelford, Dr. Waring, Joseph Browne [q. v.], Isaac Milner [q. v.], William Pearce [q. v.], James Bentham, Robert Masters, Dr. Hill, and William Cole [q. v.] were engraved by the brothers Facius, from drawings by Kerrich. A portrait of Kerrich, painted by H. P. Briggs, R.A. [q. v.], and formerly in the possession of Mrs. F. M. Hartshorne, was engraved by Facius in folio, and is copied in Nichols's ‘Literary Illustrations.’ There is a replica of Briggs's portrait in Magdalene College, Cambridge.

[Private information; Addit. MSS. 5824 f. 126 b, 5855 pp. 108, 109, 5874 f. 69 b; Cooper's Annals of Cambridge, iv. 557; Gent. Mag. xcviii. pt. ii. p. 185, new series, iv. 332; Graduati Cantabr.; Gunning's Reminiscences, ii. 76–8; Nichols's Lit. Illustr.; Nichols's Lit. Anecd.; Wilson's Miscellanies (Raines), p. 161.]

T. C.