Jonathan Blundell card

National Museums Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery / Art UK

Jonathan Blundell

WAG 6158

Currently not on display


This artwork has been identified as having links to a person connected with transatlantic slavery. This research is part of the Walker Art Gallery’s ongoing work to be more transparent about the collection’s relationship to Britain's colonial past. Jonathan Blundell (1832 - 1870), also known as Jonathan Blundell-Hollinshead-Blundell, died at the age of 38. His great-great uncle, also Jonathan Blundell (1758 - 1800), had investments involving the enslavement of African people in Jamaica. His business Rainford, Blundell and Rainford included brothers Robert Rainford (died 1804) and Samuel Rainford (died 1798), whose two families in Wallasey were beneficiaries from compensation claimed under the Slavery Abolition Act (1833). The sitter in this painting is also a descendant of Bryan Blundell (about 1675-1756), a sea captain and tobacco merchant who traded in enslaved African people. He was Mayor of Liverpool in 1721 and 1728 and a co-founder of the Blue Coat School in Liverpool. His sons and grandsons were all involved in transatlantic slavery in Liverpool. The artist Richard Ansdell (1815 - 1885) was a Liverpool-painter who specialised in animal subjects. The low horizon in this work is characteristic of his later career.