We have been extremely lucky these last few months to have had a volunteer archivist join us in the Alumni Office. Sarah Coe, a local student working on her MA in Heritage Theory and Practice at Plymouth University, has been undertaking a detailed study of archive material dating back to the time of our founder, Admiral Kelly.
Whilst going through an old trunk of the Admiral's papers, Sarah came across a passport stamped with the name of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake. After some research, Sarah discovered that Sir Charles Eastlake (b 1793 - d 1865) was a renowned painter in his time, and was the first Director of the National Gallery for ten years from 1855. The passport was stamped many times mainly in 1858, which is when he travelled throughout Italy and other parts of Europe to inspect works in private and public collections and to purchase works for the National Gallery. The passport contains numerous consular stamps on papers bound into the case and it transpires the National Gallery has in its archives his next passport from 1859.
Sarah is currently working on the mystery of how the passport came to be in the possession of the School and is in discussion with the National Gallery and The Box, Plymouth about the artefact. Sir Eastlake was born in Plymouth and was the son of an Admiralty lawyer, so we suspect there was some connection between the Kelly and Eastlake families. We are happy to hear of any clues or theories that may be out there!
Some of Sir Charles' paintings include