Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/234

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Robinson
Rogers
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information from brother, Mr. Harry Perry-Robinson, and Sampson Low, Marston & Co.]

W. B. O.

ROBINSON, VINCENT JOSEPH (1829–1910), connoisseur of oriental art, born in London on 5 March 1829, was eldest of three sons of Vincent Robinson, sailing shipowner and merchant, by his wife Elizabeth Hannah. A younger brother, Henry, was president of the society of civil engineers and professor of civil engineering at King's College, London, from 1880 to 1902. Of his two sisters, Elizabeth Julia Robinson (d. 1904) obtained repute as an etcher; a posthumous exhibition of her work being held at the Fine Art Gallery, Bond Street, in 1905.

After education at private schools at Kilburn and Finchley, Vincent studied at King's College, London. On his father's premature death he extricated his affairs from confusion, and soon built up a prosperous concern as a merchant and commission agent. Interesting himself in the industrial arts of India, Robinson dealt largely in oriental ware of fine character, and at the same time studied the problem of preserving the artistic handicrafts of India. Sir George (then Dr.) Birdwood, who on his return from Bombay entered the India office in 1871, gave Robinson much encouragement. At the Paris exhibition of 1878 Robinson showed some oriental carpets which attracted general attention, and he published in 1882, under the title of ‘Eastern Carpets’ (London, large 4to), reproductions of the patterns of these and other carpets from water-colour drawings by his sister; Sir George Birdwood supplied descriptive notices. The work preceded the more authoritative treatises of Wilhelm Bode (Leipzig, 1890) and Alois Riegl (Leipzig, 1891). Published originally at three guineas, the price soon rose to ten (cf. Encycl. Brit. 11th edit., v. 396–7, s.v. ‘Carpets’). Robinson's example, in part at least, led the Austrian Commercial Museum to prepare and publish its monumental work on ‘Oriental Carpets’ (Vienna, 1892–6; English edition by Sir Caspar Purdon Clarke), to which Robinson was a contributor.

Robinson was director of the Indian section of the Paris Exhibition, 1889, and was made a knight of the Legion of Honour. He was elected F.S.A. the same year (6 June), and he was created C.I.E. in May 1891. About 1878 his business was turned into the limited liability company which, trading in Wigmore Street, still bears his name. He was at first managing director, but soon severed his direct connection with the firm. With his sister, Elizabeth Julia, his lifelong companion, he devoted himself to collecting treasures of decorative art in France, Spain, Italy, and Egypt. In 1894–5 he made a long tour in India.

His collections were first housed at Hopedene, a house near Dorking, built by Mr. Norman Shaw, R.A., but in October 1896 he purchased Parnham House, a fine old Tudor mansion near Beaminster, Dorsetshire, which he restored. There he classified his possessions, describing their main features in ‘Ancient Furniture and other Objects of Art, illustrative of a Collection formed … at Parnham House, Dorset’ (4to, 1902). On the death, on 16 Oct. 1904, of his sister, to whose memory he erected a market-cross at Beaminster, he built another residence, Netherbury Court, overlooking the village churchyard where she was buried. There he died unmarried on 21 Feb. 1910, and was buried by his sister's side. The artistic contents of Parnham were sold there by auction (2–9 Aug. 1910), realising 13,510l. Blunt and plain-spoken, Robinson helped to revive in Europe the taste for oriental art.

[Robinson's writings; The Times, 23 Feb. and 10 Aug. 1910; Times of India, 1 March 1910; Frank Archer's An Actor's Notebooks, 1912 (with photograph); Birdwood's Handbook to the British Indian Section 1878; papers lent by his nephew, Mr. Keith Robinson; personal knowledge.]

F. H. B.

ROGERS, EDMUND DAWSON (1823–1910), journalist and spiritualist, born at Holt, Norfolk, on 7 Aug. 1823, was only surviving child of John Rogers and Sarah Dawson his wife.

After education at the Sir Thomas Gresham grammar school in his native town, and working for six years as chemist's apprentice and then as a chemist on his own account, he went in 1845 as surgeon's dispenser to Wolverhampton. He soon afterwards joined the staff of the 'Staffordshire Mercury,' published at Hanley, and in 1848 went to Norwich to take charge of the ’Norfolk News,' a weekly periodical founded in 1845. On 10 Oct. 1870 he started for the proprietors of the 'Norfolk News' the first daily paper in the eastern counties, the 'Eastern Counties Daily Press,' which since May 1871 has been known as the 'Eastern Daily Press.' Removing early in 1873 to London, he established the National Press Agency in Shoe Lane (now in Carmelite Street) ; this he managed until his retirement on a pension in 1894. In his early days in London Rogers helped to