GENEALOGICAL ROLL -- Thomas Sharpe. Illuminated manuscript on vellum, 'The Genealogy of Anthony Clarke, of the City of London, Esquire', London, 1802[-1809], title in a calligraphic hand in brown and black ink with gold lettering edged in red, within elaborate foliate cartouche, name roundels in blue, lines of descent in red, 30 heraldic shields and one large coat of arms with mantling, crest and motto, accompanied by an explanation of the quarterings in a cartouche, four scroll cartouches containing biographical text, date and name of maker lower right in surround incorporating accoutrements of artist and historian, the whole with border of green wreaths incorporating scallop shells in gold, on three membranes, approximately 2305 x 975mm, backed with green silk (small tear to one roundel, occasional abrasion with slight loss of pigment, a few erasures in white), in hinged mahogany box, 940 x 133 x 127mm, with brass furniture, the lid set with brass nameplate engraved, 'Ant.y Clarke Esq'; with roller.
This finely illuminated and highly decorative heraldic document, 'compiled and painted by Tho:s Sharpe facing the Herald's College London', traces the descent of Anthony Clarke (b.1758), through the family of Greslock from Matilda-Hill Macaree (b.1760), the daughter and sole heir of Johnson Macaree of Canterbury, and descended maternally from the ancient family of Elstob in Foxton, in the County of Durham. The entries open with Charles Elstob (d.1666) of Foxton, Durham, and end with three additions made after 1802, the latest Mary Ann Dyson, born in 1809. The accounts of the lives of notable figures include John Williams, made Lord Bishop of Chichester in 1697, John Clarke Esq (1736-1778), Governor of Senegambia, and William Elstob (1673/4-1715), Anglo-Saxon scholar and clergyman, and his younger sister, Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1756). Following the premature deaths of their parents, William supported his sister's education, making it possible 'for her, aswell as for himself, to become one of the most proficient Anglo-Saxon scholars of the age' (ODNB). William matriculated at Cambridge in 1691, but was unhappy being placed 'in a station below his Birth and Fortune... and the air not agreeing with his Constiution, which was Consumptive' (E. Elstob, A short account of the life of the Reverend Mr William Elstob, Bodl., Oxf., MS Ballard 63), so moved to Queen's College, Oxford in the same year, was made fellow of University College in 1696, and reincorporated at Cambridge in 1698. Part of a group of Queen's scholars at the centre of an emerging discipline of Anglo-Saxon studies, led by George Hickes, Elstob devoted himself to publishing scholarly translations of the principal Old English texts, and King Alfred's writings, thought to be founder of University College. Rector of the parishes of St Swithin, London Stone and St Mary Bothaw, Cannon Street from 1702, Elstob was buried under the communion table of St Swithin. Elizabeth was also admitted to the circle of Oxford Saxonists, her 'scholarly oeuvre... on a par with the best work produced in Anglo-Saxon studies at the beginning of the 18th century' (ODNB). (2)