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Supple, Richard, 1716–1797
Physical Description:
1 v. ; 19 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
In Process DA670.N7 S87 1771
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
"The Supple family were said to be descended from the De Capells of county Cork and they were related to the Smythes of Ballynatra, county Waterford. In 1714 Richard Supple married Mary Fitzgerald and they had an only son Richard Supple of Aghadoe who married Mary Brooke, niece and heiress of Wheeler Brooke of Great Oakley Hall, Kettering, Northamptonshire. Their son Richard De Capell Brooke 1st Baronet, born 1758, inherited both the Supple and Brooke estates."--Landed Estates Database, NUI Galway.
Richard Supple inherited the Roxborough estate and lands at Leith Hill in Surrey from Richard Hull. The Roxborough estate consisted of a little over 1,000 acres and a decent mansion house at Roxborough near Midleton. After 1768 the indications are that he resided mostly in Great Oakley, returning occasionally to Aghadoe to attend to estate business, as in 1784 when, described as of Great Oakley, he gave several leases on the Aghadoe estate. He died at Great Oakley in November 1797 aged 81.
Bound in full black roan, with marbled endpapers and marbled edges.
Manuscript notebook written by Richard Supple, originally of Aghadoe in Ireland, and later Great Oakley Hall in Northamptonshire, kept from 1771 to 1785. It records his journey from Ireland and travels in England, including visiting his other lands at Leith Hill, and is completely filled with the writings of an inquisitive and enquiring mind. Closely written over all 135 pages in a contemporary pale green vellum wallet notebook, spilling onto the end-papers and paste-downs, with hand lettering on the front cover, and several additional pages loosely inserted. The notebook was kept at a time when he Supple was a wealthy man, obviously intent on constant improvements to his estate.
Supple records everything: inns, tolls charged, miles travelled, scenery, country houses visited, gardens admired, remedies for illnesses, natural observations--"slow worms here found in church yard are very large and venomous, heard nitingale early in morn at Mr Jones saw swallows & found many lady birds creeping abt all the way"; curious characters encountered--"a blind man and his daughter both good players on Fiddle"; "a lady who went to Oxford to have a polypus cut out which grew from her nose into throat & was very well after it." He visits the Peak District, and Yorkshire. Doncaster is "a most unpleasant dirty looking town," but there is a more favourable account of a visit to Castle Howard, and a lengthy description of Scarborough, which he concludes “does not agree with me tho' I tryd the highest & best part of town." In York he notes that "Mrs Morrit a maiden lady ... has a room of pictures done in work of her own, being copies from celebrated paintings & in all respects resemble them & are finely done in a peculiar manner of her own in an irregular manner by long stiches in worsted & is a most curious & singular performance." This refers to Miss Morritt of Rokeby, who copied both portraits and landscapes in embroidery, and a self portrait of her at work at her embroidery frame also survives.
The combination of visits to various spa resorts, and medicinal remedies, also suggests that he is not in the best of health. But most interesting are the entries, many accompanied by small sketches or measured drawings, which relate to ideas and inventions for improving his own house and estate. If he sees something he likes, he notes where it was seen and measures it, with recommendations of where it could be most usefully incorporated back at Great Oakley. They include gates and a rack for a coach house (noting the size of the Duke of Norfolk's coach house door); a cold bath (near Northampton); gates and hurdles (at Mr Bovery's); panelled doors, balustrades, mantelpiece (at Buxton Great Room); "an elegant chimney piece of Italien marble at Mr Herons Grosvenor Square"; "a convenient machine to carry marketing at the George Inn Woburn"; "a machine at Dr Brown's to riddle cinders"; "Dr Broad's canal at Southwick"; "this chimney piece will do well for laundry being a lofty room, but too high for Great Parlour being a low room"; "a looking glass frise, a break in middle & white & gold carv'd work on frise and mouldings the same." He also notes suppliers: "Richd. Brown marble man at Derby sells a variety of bases cheap." "John Halifax whiting manufacturer at Dunstable, sells whiting [noting the prices] ... for painters ... for plate, & burnishing frames ..." Other matters include notes of mortgages on land in Co. Cork (1730 for Antony Hawell), and also detailed information on Richard Hull of City of Dublin and Leith Hill, noting a recital of a fortune of Joseph Griffen, and various trusts). This relates to the substantial fortune Richard Supple later inherited from the Hull family.
Subject Terms:
Great Oakley (Corby, England)
Supple, Richard, 1716-1797 -- Diaries.

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