Thomas Berry Horsfall

WAG 2167


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, Liverpool, in trust to his grandson 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. He was also responsible for the enslavement of many African people in Jamaica. Charles Horsfall was a leading member of the Liverpool West India Association and was Mayor of Liverpool (1832 - 33). Thomas Berry Horsfall followed in his father’s footsteps and became Mayor of Liverpool (1847 - 48) and Conservative MP for the town (1853 - 68). His family built many churches in Liverpool, six of which still survive today, including Christ Church at Great Homer Street. Horsfall was married four times and had 16 children. The artist George Patten (1801 - 1865) specialised in portraits, miniatures and history painting, and painted many Liverpool sitters during his career.