Thomas Berry Horsfall

WAG 9719


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. Thomas Berry Horsfall (1805 - 1878) was a Liverpool merchant, politician, and a significant beneficiary of compensation claimed under the Slavery Abolition Act (1833). Horsfall’s grandfather Thomas Berry (died 1809) was a merchant who was responsible for the enslavement of many African people in Kingston, Jamaica. Berry left his freehold property at Mile End in Liverpool in trust to Thomas Berry Horsfall. Berry’s daughter Dorothy Hall Horsfall (née Berry, 1784 - 1846) became the tenant-for-life of her father’s estate in Jamaica. Her husband, and father of Thomas Berry Horsfall, Charles Horsfall (1776 - 1846), was a merchant dealing in palm oil from West Africa and was also responsible for the enslavement of numerous African people in Jamaica. Charles Horsfall was a leading member of the Liverpool West India Association and Mayor of Liverpool (1832 - 33). Thomas Berry Horsfall followed in his father’s footsteps and became Mayor of Liverpool (1847 - 1848) and Conservative MP for the city (1853 - 1868). His family built many churches in Liverpool, six of which still survive today, including Christ Church at Great Homer Street on part of their own property. Horsfall was married four times and had 16 children. The artist William Shakespeare Burton (1826 - 1916) was a British genre and history painter who was associated with Pre-Raphaelitism.