A Self Portrait

Benjamin Robert Haydon

Born January 25, 1786 in Plymouth, England

Died June 22, 1846 Reading, England


A great- great- grandson of Gideon Haydon # 4- 1666-1706,

of Cadhay Manor, Ottery St. Mary

Scroll down for a few of his paintings.



October 26,2003


I have a photocopy of the manuscript of Benjamin Robert Haydon’s own handwritten and folded notes from in his Prayer book sent to me from England 2 years ago.  I wasn’t even interested in this and had almost trashed the copies as I at first had no interest in him whatever and I was tired of the documents laying/lying around, and other than he’s another historical painter, period.     .                


My photocopy document was really difficult to read even with a magnifying glass. Unfortunately, dark fold crease lines run right through the middle of key words and when it was scanned, the nice person who graciously sent this to me free from England left off about 1 inch of the entire left side of both pages which lost completely portions of certain other names and dates now gone forever. The rest of the document just has to do with the administration of goods and chattel of his father’s possessions.  This document was found in the long deceased and vacated Haydon family attorney’s office and later discovered among old estate sales items of theirs and I received word of this through a researcher in England asking if I wanted to see it.  Upon examining the document, there is this following point of interest.


B.R.H. states as follows: “-my father’s (?) Sister (BRH’s aunt)  remembers hearing an old relative say, she recollected Cadhay in possession of her old relative’s father, who was my Great-grandfather.”


To be correct though, Gideon IV would be a Great-great-grandfather and not a Great-grandfather.  Now it is Gideon #4 as he was that last Haydon in possession of Cadhay who had ANY children as Gideon # 5 did not have any children and so the records all state, “Died without issue.”


B.R.H.'s father was a Robert Haydon and his grandfather was also a Robert Haydon. I have that data here in B. R. H’ s own handwritten document so that I do know.  All we have is that cryptic statement from his old aunt to tell us that the Great grandfather was living in Cadhay!  (Great-great grandfather) That means the Great-Grandfather Robert Senior would be a child of Gideon # IV because Gideon V and his wife had NO children and both died the same year in Reading, England as Cadhay had been sold in 1837.


But yet, his great-great- grandfather is indeed Gideon Haydon # 4 and all genealogy records everywhere stop dead with Gideon # 5 and his wife.  Since Cadhay was gone and to quote further B.R.H in my notes, “The possessions of the family are now reduced.”   There was no further interest in tracing this old Devon Haydon premier family genealogy in England to the degree that it had earlier been traced with any absolute specifics for the last one thousand years.


Gideon Haydon family lines, Gideon # 2 through Gideon # 5 inclusive, with their respective dates were all in an absolute mess from people who had tentative files including Jabez Haskell Hayden.


Regarding Gideon Haydon #1:  I had cleaned up the genealogy record of his 15 children 2 years ago before publishing the genealogy, by using the Cadhay Church records released to me and I then also had no further interest in any of his descendants- Gideon’s # 2 through 5.   I also therefore had no interest in any of their children as at some point we all have to stop chasing genealogy rainbows, aunts, uncles, cousins and “wanna be Haydons/Haydens”.

Fortunately, I have copies of the actual Parish records, which were sent to me a year or so ago.

All of the various Gideon Haydon family lines with their children and dates tie into the Ottery St. Mary records and match. It would have been an impossible task without the computer matching birth dates, death dates, burial dates, baptism dates, marriage dates and then keeping all the children’s information in exact order with each parent. 


 By the way, as per the Ottery St. Mary parish records, Gideon #1 and Margaret Davy married exactly 1 day before baby # 1 came and the baby’s dates are listed also, of course.  All of this is in the Ottery St. Mary parish records. 


Records do indeed state that Robert Haydon and others were indeed living at Ottery St. Mary town after the date of which Cadhay was sold and that confuses people because they assume that means living inside Cadhay Manor.  None of the records say Cadhay Manor; they say Ottery St. Mary, the town, which certainly had other dwellings besides just Cadhay Manor.


Benjamin Robert Haydon fits now into the family line in only this specific Gideon Haydon # IV,  (4), the last full life span Haydon occupant of Cadhay.   His son next, Gideon # V (5), only lived there for a while.  The last Gideon # V  (5) was born October 6, 1696 in Ottery St. Mary (parish records).  Another genealogy report that he was born in 1699 is in error, and died not in Ottery, but in Reading, England in 1748, as he was no longer in residence in Ottery.  His wife, I discovered, is Ann Handbury, They were married October 23, 1723 and she died also in 1748 in Reading at same year and place with Gideon # 5.


Now to repeat myself from earlier and quoting;

 B.R.H. states as follows: “-my father’s (?) Sister (BRH’s aunt)  remembers hearing her old relative say, she recollected Cadhay in possession of her old relative’s father, my Great-grandfather.”   Now Gideon #4 was that last Haydon in possession of Cadhay who had ANY children, as # 5 did not.


From there, Jane Haydon’s husband, Pere Williams the Barrister had Cadhay and so forth through the Williams family until a Mr. Brown bought it and then the Poulett family.


In going through these thousands of old HAYDON of Devon Lines and branches, NO ONE spells their name HAYDEN, not one person!




“He lived and loved to paint historical religious subjects and entire wall paintings.  This very famous gifted artist and genius, landscape painter and whole wall mural painter Benjamin Robert Haydon was a Great- Great-grandson of Gideon Haydon IV.  He married a beautiful widow with 2 sons by the name of Mary Hyman. They had a house full of children, 9 in fact, including the 2 of hers from her previous marriage plus 7 more from both of them.  He was always deeply in debt due to having to many children and a lack of art commissions with which to support his huge family.   He would be arrested and have to do his time in debtor’s prison and have to go back and borrow again. Finally in 1846 he became so deeply in debt he killed himself. He actually cut his own throat and then shot himself in the head.  Wordsworth stood by him to the bitter end. One of his sons is named Frederic Wordsworth Haydon. Five of his 7 children birthdays are only stated as before 1846 as that is the year B.R.H. died so he wasn’t having children after 1846.”


Thomas Keys. –Haydon/Hayden Family     tomkeystx@gmail.com


Benjamin Robert Haydon writes:

 “My soul aspires 
My spirit is wounded 
My hand fumbles 
My heart races 
My brain aches to burst 
My hand drops the impasto-laden brush 
My eyes wail hot tears 
I fail to shave, to wash 
to change my linen 
The glory of being a painter 
resides in one's utter neglect 
by critics and public. 
* * * * 
I ask friend L---- 
for £100. We dine in the city 
on mutton, wine, and trifle. 
Laughter is a patina. 
O God, Thy will be done! 
He breaks the news: bad times 
prevent his advancing even a threepence. 
At home I drink much, the only time, 
my Mary says, she's seen me so. 
The hottest, most airless summer 
on record, "a sultry month." 
I do not sleep, except in fits. 
I stare like an idiot at Alfred. 
The paint on his face is cold gravy. 
I write to Lord Peel, Beaufort, and Brougham. 
Nothing avails. 
I burn more letters and papers, pack up 
my valuables, what might be sold as income -- 
the drawings of Wellington, Wordsworth, 
my wife and dead children, 
plus a metal box containing journals -- 
and carry all to Elizabeth Barrett. 
She'll keep them from my creditors -- 
she's promised. 
Miss Barrett, in purple, 
reclines on a sofa. 
(The evening is stifling.) 
Flush sleeps in her lap. 
She strokes him as she is speaking. 
I'm lost in a wish to sketch her, 
am abstracted rehearsing the line 
round her thin mouth, the cheek bones, 
the tendrils of hair scooping her temples.... 

"If only I could die," I exclaim, 
"there'd be a subscription 
(I trust the English people) 
to support my family." 

Monday, June 22, 1846. 
Stop at Riviere, the gun-maker, in Oxford Street. 
Purchase one of a pair of small pistols. 
At 9, I breakfast alone, then go to my painting-room. 
I write letters to my children, 
re-write my will, and sketch some final thoughts. 
As usual, I lock myself in. 
My daughter Mary, my confidante 
(more even than her mother) 
suspects nothing when she tries the door. 
She says (through the door) that 
she and her mother are going out. 
"Very well," I say. 
Impulsively, I go to her, 
kiss her fervently, and linger. 
There is something I wish to say. 
But I walk away. 

I load the pistol, poise a lone straight-razor near. 
It's 10:45. I face the door. 
Noise in the street. The hot air is a pall. 
I squeeze the trigger. 
Its small caliber deflects along the bone. 
Why, even now, must I fail! Desperate 
(for Mary will hear) 
I grab up the open razor 
and slice my throat, from ear to ear. 
Finis. Benjamin Robert Haydon. 
  Mary Haydon accompanies her mother part of the way to Brixton, returns, and hastens to her father's 
painting-room to console him. In the subdued light nothing is clear. She is struck by the loud ticking 
of her father's watch on a table. She looks for her father, but he is not there. 
His Journals lie open on the table, and there are sealed letters, and a prayer book she had given him. 
A recently completed portrait of herself stands on an easel. She walks further into the room and 
finds him lying on the floor. She belleves he is down so as to study some aspect of his Alfred. 
When she calls he does not answer. She calls softly again, and sees that he is huddled on the floor. 
Her foot slips in what she thinks is red paint -- it is his blood. For a moment, Mary's heart stops beating.   
Her father lies with his head half resting on his right arm. His face is greenish white. Across his neck 
are two frightful gashes, in different directions. She is standing in her father's blood. 
 Mary never recovers from the shock, and dies in 1864, ten years after her mother. 

 Christ Blessing the Little Children by Benjamin  Robert Haydon

 Christ's Entry into Jerusalem by Benjamin  Robert Haydon
Study for the Judgement of Solomon by Benjamin Robert Haydon  1812-14

left in 1831-William Wordsworth by Benjamin Robert Haydon (rt. later in life)


The Anti-Slavery Convention by Benjamin  Robert Haydon, 1846

 Marcus Curtius by Benjamin  Robert Haydon 1843
Duke of Wellington and King George IV  at Waterloo by Benjamin  Robert Haydon 



This painting is 14 ft high by 20 3/4 ft long.and in poor darkened condition.I have lightened it with my computer in order for you to get an idea of his mastery.

And once more enlarged for you which has cropped off the right edge.

There are many more beautiful paintings of his that you can locate in your search engines.

 I also have more but am running short of room to show all of them.



The descendants of Gideon Haydon IV onward through

the descendants of Benjamin  Robert Haydon.


First Generation


Gideon Haydon IV  was born on Jul 26 1666 in Cadhay, Ottery St. Mary, Parish Records. He died on Mar 17 1706 in Cadhay, Ottery St. Mary, Parish Records. He was buried on Mar 17 1706 in Ottery St. Mary, Parish Records.


Gideon was baptized on Jul 26 1666 in Ottery St. Mary, Parish Records. He signed a will on Mar 20 1706. He had a will probated on Jan 31 1707.

Gideon Haydon, Esq.,IV of Cadhay, son and heir of Gideon III , born in 1665/66, baptized July 26, 1666,  died in Cadhay Manor and buried in Ottery St Mary Church, where the inscription on his monument is still plain.His father who was Gideon  III whose Ottery St. Mary parish record shows buried on March 2, 1702  GAVE this Cadhay property to this son Gideon  IV in  the year 1677 as per copy of family document in my hand in 2002. (Tom Keys)  Further, the son, Gideon  IV died just 4 years after his own father on  March 17, 1706 at age of 40.Cadhay Manor was later sold in 1736 so no more descendants were born in Cadhay Manor.The famous painter, Benjamin  Robert Haydon  is descended from  this Gideon IV, and NOT Gideon V.


Gideon married Alice Fitch  daughter of John Fitch. Alice was born in Henbury, Dorset. She died in 1741 in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England. She was buried in 1741 in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England.


They had the following children:

i.  Gideon Haydon V  was born on Oct 6 1696 in Ottery St. Mary, Parish Records. He died in Feb 1748 in Reading, England. He was buried on Feb 27 1748. He was baptized on  Oct 6, 1696, Ottery St, Mary Parish Register; so another genealogy report that he was born in  1699 is in  error. The old Jabez Haskell Hayden genealogy files of 1887 merely stated that this 5th Gideon  was LIVING AT CADHAY MANOR IN THE YEAR 1699, but so was also his father Gideon IV, and other misguided people therefore assumed that he was born in that year of 1699.  This Gideon # V died in  Reading, England, in 1748,  and not in  Cadhay, as Cadhay  had been sold off in 1736.  Gideon's wife, Ann Handbury also died in Reading in 1748.


William Peere Williams acquired Cadhay in 1737 and made a number of alterations, providing some fine examples of Georgian architecture.


Gideon V married Ann Handbury  on Oct 30 1723 in Exeter Cathedral, Devon, England. Ann died in 1748 in Reading, England.  Widow.  Data from the Exeter Cathedral Library record of Marriages.

They had the following children:

ii.  Thomas Haydon  was born about Jun 17 1705. He died in 1754. See Notes

iii.  Robert Haydon Sr.  died on Oct 8 1757. See notes:

   Second Generation


Notes for Thomas Haydon  (Gideon) was born about Jun 17 1705 in Ottery St. Mary, Parish Records. He died in 1754. Thomas was baptized on Jun 18 1705 in Ottery St. Mary, Parish Records. Cadhay Manor was sold approx 1736  so no more descendants are born in Cadhay Manor.Thomas married Elizabeth Richards  daughter of Rev. Richards.

They had the following children:

 i.  Josiah Haydon  was buried in 1807. See notes:

ii.  Thomas Haydon  died in Died on Passage to India. He was buried in At Sea.

iii.  Eleanor Haydon  died in 1806.

iv.  Margaret Haydon .Margaret married F. Keybourne . F. Keybourne was born in Falmouth, England.

v.  Charlotte Haydon .Charlotte married J. Platt . J. Platt was born in Falmouth, England. vi.  Elizabeth Haydon .Her husband's last name Boulderson,of Falmouth, England.


Notes for Robert Haydon Sr.  (Gideon) was born in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England. He died on Oct 8 1757 in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England. He was buried on Oct 12 1757 in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England. He did not die in Cadhay Manor as it had been sold.  He

did die in the town of Ottery St. Mary.Robert married Jane ------ . Husband # 2 last name /Board/

Robert and Jane had the following children:

 i.  Robert Haydon II  was born in 1714. He died in 1773. See Notes:

   Third Generation


Notes for Josiah Haydon  (Thomas, Gideon) was born in Crewkerne, England. He was buried in 1807 in Thurlbeer, England. Cadhay Manor was sold approx 1736 So no more descendants are born in Cadhay Manor.Josiah married Elizabeth Margaret Cox  daughter of John Cox Rev.. Elizabeth was born in Crewkerne, England.

They had the following children:

i.   William Haydon (Rear Admiral) was born in 1779. He died in 1864. See Notes

ii.  Elizabeth Haydon  was born in 1781.

iii.  George Haydon  was born in 1783 in Crewkerne, England. He died in 1859. Lieut in Royal Navy and fought at Trafalgar.


Notes for Robert Haydon II  (Robert, Gideon) was born in 1714 in Ottery St. Mary, Devon, England. He died in 1773 in London, England. Said to have left Ottery in 1723 and became a bookseller in Plymouth, England and died in London 1773. Robert and other children were bound out to various trades. Robert was apprenticed to Mr. Savoy of Slade, near Plymouth, who made him steward of his estate. By means of this stewardship he was enabled to save enough money to set up a bookstore in Plymouth, after the death of Mr. Savoy. He died in 1773. His son, Benjamin, Sr. succeeded to the business.Robert married Mary Baskerville  on Sep 9 1746 in St Phillip and St Jacob, Bristol, Gloucester, England. Mary was born about 1715 in Exeter, England. She died in 1791.

They had the following children:

i.  Benjamin Robert Haydon Sr.  was born in 1750. He died in 1813. See Notes: 

ii.  daughter -- Haydon  was born in 1753.

  Fourth Generation


Notes for Rear Admiral William Haydon  (Josiah, Thomas, Gideon) was born in 1779 in Crewkerne, Somerset, England. He was christened in 1779. He died in 1864 in Plymouth, England. Rear Admiral in British Royal Navy.William married Elizabeth Margaret Cox daughter of John Cox Rev. Elizabeth was born in Crewkerne, England.

They had the following children:
i. William George Haydon was born in 1811 in Plymouth, England. He died in 1867 in London, England. He died without children.William married Harriet Erichetta Ippolita .


Notes for Benjamin Robert Haydon Sr.  (Robert, Robert, Gideon) was born in 1750 in Plymouth, England. He died in 1813 in Plymouth, England.  Benjamin  Haydon Sr. succeeded his father Robert as a  bookseller and printer by trade and owned the book store and print shop in  Plymouth. Benjamin married Sarah Lea Cobley  daughter of Rector B. Cobley. Sarah was born about 1750 in Dodbrook, Devon, or Ide near Exeter. She died in 1808.

They had the following children:

i. Benjamin Robert Haydon II (the painter) was born on Jan 25 1786. He died on Jun
22 1846. See notes:
ii. Harriot Cobley Haydon was born in 1789. She died in 1885. Had 5 sons and 3 daughters. Harriot married James Haviland . James died in Bridgewater, England. A surgeon and Justice of the Peace. of Bridgewater.

              Fifth Generation

Notes for Benjamin Robert Haydon II (the painter) (Benjamin Robert, Robert, Robert, Gideon) was born on Jan 25 1786 in Plymouth, Devon, England. He died on Jun 22 1846 in Kensington, London, England.  The cause of death was Suicide, slashed his own throat and shot himself in  the head.. He was buried in London , England.
He lived and loved to paint historical religious subjects and entire wall paintings on a grand scale.  This very famous gifted artist and genius, landscape painter and whole wall mural painter Benjamin Robert Hayden was a Great- Great-grandson of Gideon Haydon IV.  He married a widow by the name of Mary Hyman who already had 2 sons. They eventually had a house full of children, 9 in fact, with 7 more of his.  He was always deeply in  debt due to his art and making to many babies to feed.  He would be arrested and have to do his time in  debtors prison and have to go back and borrow again. Finally in  1846 he became so deeply in  debt he killed himself. He cut his own throat and shot himself in  the head.  Wordsworth stood by him to the bitter end. One of his BRH sons is named Frederic Wordsworth Haydon. Five of his 7 children birthdays are only stated as before 1846 as that is the year B.R.H. died and he could not be having children after 1846.
Born in Plymouth, 25 Jan 1786; d. London, 22 June 1846). English painter, teacher and writer. The son of a printer and publisher, Haydon was educated at grammar schools in Plymouth and Plympton. Joshua Reynolds’s Discourses fired his passion for history painting, while a Neapolitan employee of his father fostered his talent for drawing. After an unhappy apprenticeship to his father, he entered the Royal Academy, London, in 1805. He was an enthusiastic student who, like his friend David Wilkie, became interested in anatomy, attending lectures given by the anatomist and surgeon Charles Bell in 1806.
He moved to London to establish his career, 1804; exhibited his first picture, 'Joseph and Mary resting on the Road to Egypt', at the Royal Academy, 1807; continued to specialise in producing large historical pictures, but struggled to stay solvent throughout his career; exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art, 1809; publicly attacked the Royal Academy in the Examiner, 1812; successfully exhibited `The Judgment of Solomon', 1814; involved with the controversy on the purchase of the Elgin marbles for the nation, 1815; set up a school to rival the Royal Academy; successfully exhibited `Christ's Entry into Jerusalem', 1820; arrested for debt, 1821; imprisoned in the King's Bench for debt and petitioned parliament to grant money for the decoration of churches and public buildings with paintings, 1823; continued to petition parliament, and ministers for support of his projects, including the decoration of the houses of parliament and scheme for schools of design; leased 58 Connaught Terrace, London from and had a close friendship with William Newton, who gave him considerable financial assistance; imprisoned for debt three more times, finally in 1830; exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1828 and again, 1842; involved in establishing an opposition school to the Somerset House government school of design, closed in 1839 after Somerset House introduced life drawing; lectured and wrote on painting and design, 1835-1846; committed suicide, 1846.
His mother was the daughter of the Rev. Benjamin Cobley, rector of Dodbrook, Devon, whose son, General Sir Thomas Cobley, signalized himself in the Russian service at the siege of Ismail. His father, a prosperous printer, stationer and publisher, was a man of literary taste, and was well known and esteemed amongst all classes in Plymouth. Haydon, an only son, at an early date gave evidence of his taste for study, which was carefully fostered and promoted by his mother. At the age of six he was placed in Plymouth grammar school, and at twelve in Plympton St Mary school. He completed his education in this institution, where Sir Joshua Reynolds also had acquired all the scholastic training he ever received. On the ceiling of the school-room was a sketch by Reynolds in burnt cork, which it used to be Haydon's delight to sit and contemplate. Whilst at school he had some thought of adopting the medical profession,but he was so shocked at the sight of an operation that he gave up the idea. A perusal of Albinus, however, inspired him with a love for anatomy; and Reynolds's discourses revived within him a smouldering taste for painting, which from childhood had been the absorbing idea of his mind. Sanguine of success, full of energy and vigour, he started from the parental roof, on the14th of May 1804, for London, and entered his name as a student of the Royal Academy. He began and prosecuted his studies with such unwearied ardour that Fuseli wondered when he ever found time to eat. At the age of twenty-one (1807) Haydon exhibited, for the first time, at the Royal Academy, The Repose in Egypt, which was bought by Mr Thomas Hope the year after. This was a good start for the young artist, who shortly received a commission from Lord Mulgrave and an introduction to Sir George Beaumont. In 1809 he finished his well-known picture of Dentatus, which, though it brought him a great increase of fame, involved him in a lifelong quarrel with the Royal Academy, whose committee had hung the picture in a small side-room instead of the great hall. In 1810 his difficulties began through the stoppage of an allowance of 200 a year he had received from his father. His disappointment was embittered by the controversies in which he now became involved with Sir George Beaumont, for whom he had painted his picture of Macbeth, and Payne Knight, who had denied the beauties as well as the money value of the Elgin Marbles. The Judgment of Solomon, his next production, gained him 700, besides 100 voted to him by the directors of the British Institution, and the freedom of the borough of Plymouth. To recruit his health and escape for a time from the cares of London life, Haydon joined his intimate friend Wilkie in a trip to Paris; he studied at the Louvre; and on his return to England produced his Christs Entry into Jerumalem, which afterwards formed the nucleus of the American Gallery of Painting, erected by his cousin, John Haviland of Philadelphia. Whilst painting another large work, the Resurrection of Lazarus, his pecuniary difficulties increased, and for the first time he was arrested but not imprisoned, the sheriff-officer taking his word for his appearance. Amidst all these harassing cares he married in October 1821 a beautiful young widow who had some children, Mrs. Hyman, to whom he was devotedly attached.In 1823 Haydon was lodged in the Kings Bench, where he received consoling letters from the first men of the day. Whilst a prisoner he drew up a petition to parliament in favor of the appointment of a committee to inquire into the state of encouragement of historical painting, which was presented by Brougham. He also, during a second imprisonment in 1827, produced the picture of the Mock Election, the idea of which had been suggested by an incident that happened in the prison. The king (George IV.) gave him 500 for this work. Among Haydon's other pictures were1829, Eucles and Punch; 1831, Napoleon at St Helena, for Sir Robert Peel; Xenophon, on his Retreat with the Ten Thousand, first seeing the Sea ; and Waiting for the Times, purchased by the marquis of Stafford; 1832, Falstaff and Achilles playing the Lyre. In 1834 he completed the Reform Banquet, for Lord Greythis painting contained 597 portraits; in 1843,Curtius Leaping into the Gulf, and Uriel and Satan. There was also the Meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society, energetically treated, now in the National Portrait Gallery. When the competition took place at Westminster Hall, Haydon sent two cartoons, The Curse of Adam and Edward the Black Prince, but, with some unfairness, he was not allowed a prize for either. He then painted The Banishment of Aristides, which was exhibited with other productions under the same roof where the American dwarf Tom Thumb was then making his debut in London. The exhibition was unsuccessful; and the artists difficulties increased to such an extent that, whilst employed on his last grand effort, Alfred and the Trial by Jury, overcome by debt, disappointment and ingratitude, he wrote Stretch me no longer on this rough world, and put an end to his existence with a pistol-shot, on the 22nd of June 1846, in the sixty-first year of his age. He left a widow and three children (various others had died), who, by the generosity of their father's friends, were rescued from their pecuniary difficulties and comfortably provided for; amongst the foremost of these friends were Sir Robert Peel, Count Dorsay, Mr Justice Talfourd and Lord Carlisle.
    Haydon began his first lecture on painting and design in 1835, and afterwards visited all the principal towns in England and Scotland. His delivery was energetic and imposing, his language powerful, flowing and apt, and replete with wit and humour; and to look at the lecturer, excited by his subject, one could scarcely fancy him a man overwhelmed with difficulties and anxieties. The height of Haydon's ambition was to behold the chief buildings of his country adorned with historical representations of her glory. He lived to see the acknowledgment of his principles by government in the establishment of scho ols of design, and the embellishment of the new houses of parliament; but in the competition of artists for the carrying out of this object, the commissioners (amongst whom was one of his former pupils) considered, or affected to consider, that he had failed. Haydon was well versed in all points of his profession; and his Lectures, which were published shortly after their delivery, showed that he was as bold a writer as painter. It may be mentioned in this connection that he was the author of the long and elaborate article, Painting, in the 7th edition of the Encyclopaedia .
To form a correct estimate of Haydon it is necessary to read his autobiography. This is one of the most natural books ever written, full of various and abundant power, and fascinating to the reader. The author seems to have daguerreotyped his feelings and sentiments without restraint as they rose in his mind, and his portrait stands in these volumes limned to the life by his own hand. His love for his art was both a passion and a principle. He found patrons difficult to manage; and, not having the tact to lead them gently, he tried to drive them fiercely. He failed, abused patrons and patronage, and intermingled talk of the noblest independence with acts not always dignified. He was self-willed to perversity, but his perseverance was such as is seldom associated with so much vehemence and passion. With a large fund of genuine self-reliance he combined a considerable measure of vanity. To the last he believed in his own powers and in the ultimate triumph of art. In taste he was deficient, at least as concerned himself. Hence the tone of self assertion which he assumed in his advertisements, catalogues and other appeals to the public. He proclaimed himself the apostle and martyr of high art, and, not without some justice, he believed himself to have on that account a claim on the sympathy and support of the nation. It must be confessed that he often tested severely those whom he called his friends. Every reader of his autobiography will be struck at the frequency and fervour of the short prayers interspersed throughout the work.
Haydon had an overwhelming sense of a personal, overruling and merciful providence, which influenced his relations with his family, and to some extent with the world. His conduct as a husband and father entitles him to the utmost sympathy. In art his powers and attainments were undoubtedly very great, although his actual performances mostly fall short of the faculty which was manifestly within him; his general range and force of mind were also most remarkable, and would have qualified him to shine in almost any path of intellectual exertion or of practical work. His eager and combative character was partly his enemy; but he had other enemies actuated by motives as unworthy as his own were always high-pitched and on abstract grounds laudable. Of his three great works the Solomon, the Entry into Jerusalem and the Lazarus the second has generally been regarded as the finest. The Solomon is also a very admirable production, showing his executive power at its loftiest, and of itself enough to place Haydon at the head of British historical painting in his own time. The Lazarus (which belongs to the National Gallery, but is not now on view there) is a more unequal performance, and in various respects open to criticism and censure; yet the head of Lazarus is so majestic and impressive that, if its author had done nothing else, we must still pronounce him a potent pictorial genius. B. R. Haydon's Correspondence and Table Talk, with a memoir by his son, F. W. Haydon (2 v The chief authorities for the life of Haydon are Life of B. R. Haydon, from his Autobiography and Journals, edited and compiled by Tom Taylor (3 vols., I85~); and vols,,




It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that poor Hayden, the historical painter, was killed by Tom Thumb. The lucky dwarf was 'the feather that broke the back' of the unhappy artist. Of that small individual it is not necessary here to say much. He was certainly, from his smallness, a great natural curiosity; nor could it be denied that, with a happy audacity, surprising in one so young, he exhibited some cleverness, and a few rather

extraordinary attainments.

Haydon had from boyhood entertained a noble estimate of the province or art, and

strove to rise to eminence in the highest form of painting, ins Lead of descending to

mere portraiture. The world, however, never gave him credit for such an amount of

genius or ability as he believed himself to possess, although he was everywhere

recognised as a remarkable and deserving artist. He was one of' those men who make

enemies for themselves. Conceited, obstinate, and irritable, he was always

quarrelling—now with the Royal Academy, now with individuals, and gradually

relapsed into the conviction that he was an ill-understood and ill-used man. In 1820 he

produced a large picture, 'Christ entering Jerusalem,' and he gained a considerable sum of money by exhibiting it to shilling visitors, in London and throughout the provinces.

After this, however, his troubles began; his historical pictures were too large for

private mansions, and failed to meet with purchasers.

Few diaries are more sad than that which Hayden kept, and which accumulated at

length to twenty-six large MS. volumes. Despondency marked nearly every page. At

one time he mourned over the absence of customers for his pictures; at another, of

some real or fancied slight he had received from other painters, while his entries made

repeated reference to debts, creditors, insolvencies, applications to friends for loans,

and appeals to ministers for Government supply. One great and honourable ambition

he had cherished—to illustrate the walls of the new Houses of Parliament with

historical pictures; but this professional eminence was denied to him, as he believed,

through unworthy favouritism.

Such was the mental condition of the unhappy painter in the early part of the year 1846,when the so-called General Tom Thumb came to England. Haydon had then just

finished a large picture on which he had long been engaged, 'The Banishment of

Aristides.' He hoped to redeem his fallen fortunes, and to relieve himself of some of

his debts, by exhibiting the picture. He engaged a room at the Egyptian Hall in

Piccadilly, under the roof where the dwarf was attracting his crowds, and sent

hundreds of invitations to distinguished persons and critics to attend a private view.

An entry in his diary on April 4th was 'the beginning of the end,' shewing how acutely

the poor man felt his comparative want of success:—'Opened; rain hard; only Jerrold,

Baring, Fox Maule, and Hobhouse came. Rain would not have kept them away twenty-six years ago. Comparison 1st day of 1820 "Christ entering Jerusalem," £19 16 0_1st day of 1846 "Banishment of Aristides," £1 1 6

I trust in God, Amen!' Soon afterwards he wrote, 'They rush by thousands to see Tom

Thumb. They push, they light, they scream, they faint, they cry " Help I" and " Murder

I" They see my bills and caravan, but do not read them; their eyes are on them, but their sense is gone. It is an insanity, a rabies furor, a dream, of which I would not have believed England could have been guilty.' He had exhibited his 'Aristides' as an appeal to the public against the Commissioners for the Houses of Parliament, who had reported slightingly of his cartoons for a series of large pictures; and now the public gave hardly any response whatever to his appeal. About a fortnight after the opening of his exhibition he recorded in his diary, with few but bitter words, the fact that in one week 12,000 persons had paid to see Tom Thumb, while only 1332 (the fraction being doubtless a child at half-price) paid to see the 'Aristides.' After five weeks' struggle he closed the Exhibition, with a positive loss of more than a hundred pounds; and thus, in the midst of poverty and misery, relieved only by a kind of pious tenderness which distinguished him in his domestic relations, he renewed work upon the fondly cherished series of pictures intended by him for the House of Lords. One piteous entry in his diary was to the effect=—'Oh, God! let it not be presumptuous in me to call for thy blessing on my six works!' The end was not long delayed. One morning in June, the hapless man was found in his painting-room, prostrate in front of his picture of ' Alfred the Great and the First British Jury.' His diary, a small portrait of his wife, his prayer-book, his watch, and letters to his wife and children, were all orderly arranged; but, for the rest—a pistol and a razor had ended his earthly troubles.


Benjamin married a beautiful widow lady Mary Hyman . Mary was born in ---. England. She died in 1854 in ---, England. She was buried in -------?. A widow with 2 sons when she married the painter  Benjamin  Robert Haydon.  "

Benjamin and Mary had the following children::

i.  Frank Scott Haydon  was born on Dec 12 1822. He died in 1887. See Notes

ii.  Mary Haydon  was born in 1824 in London, England. She died in 1864 in --,England.

iii.  Frederic Wordsworth Haydon  was born on Sep 14 1827. See notes:

iv.  Alfred Haydon  was born before 1846.

v.  Fanny Haydon  was born before 1846.

vi.  Harry Haydon  was born before 1846.

vii.  Newton Haydon  was born before 1846.

     Only three of the 7 children survived.

Sixth Generation


Notes for Frank Scott Haydon  (Benjamin Robert, Benjamin Robert, Robert, Robert, Gideon) was born on Dec 12 1822 in London, England. He was christened on Jul 13 1829 in Saint James, Paddington, London, England. He died in 1887. Christened at age 7. He worked for the Public Records Office, Chancery Lane, London, W.C. prior to 1887.Frank married Mary Middleton . Mary was born in London, England.

They had the following children:

i.  ------ Haydon. (Infant death)

ii.  Ellen Mary Haydon .


Notes for Frederic Wordsworth Haydon (Benjamin Robert, Benjamin Robert, Robert, Robert, Gideon) was born on Sep 14 1827 in England. He was christened on Sep 18 1840 in Saint James, Paddington, London, England. He was a famous Author. Frederic married Robina Fairbairn  daughter of Sir Peter Fairbairn. Robina was born in --, England. She died in - -. England. They had the following children:
i.  Andrew Frederic Temple Haydon  was born in 1870 in England. He died in 1950 in  England. Wife's name not known and they had no children of record.
ii.  Lina Frederica Marie Mordwinoff Haydon . See notes:

  Seventh Generation

Notes for Lina Frederica Mordwinoff Haydon  (Frederic Wordsworth, Benjamin Robert, Benjamin Robert, Robert, Robert, Gideon) was born in England. She died in- - ,  England.

Lina married William Boyd-Carpenter . William Boyd Carpenter was born in - - ,England. He died in - - ,England. He was the son of the Bishop of Ripon.
William Boyd Carpenter and Lina had the following children:
 i.  Vivian F. W. Carpenter  was born in 1904 in England. She died in 1995-England.
ii.  Gilbert Denys Ewart Boyd-Carpenter  was born in 1907. See notes

Eighth Generation

Notes for Gilbert Denys Ewart Boyd-Carpenter (Lina F. M. Haydon, Frederic Wordsworth Haydon, Benjamin Robert Haydon (II)., Benjamin Robert Haydon Sr., Robert Haydon (Jr.), Robert Haydon Sr., Gideon Haydon (IV) was born in 1907 in England. He died in 1967 in England. He married Lydia Mary Cowan b.1900-d.1992. They had the following child:
i. Alan Michael Haydon Boyd-Carpenter was born in 1932 in England. "Still vertical in 2014". He married Jennifer Ann Prestwich in 1956



P.T. Barnum and Charles Sherwood Stratton (Tom Thumb) c. 1850

Among P.T. Barnum's greatest feats of showmanship was transforming a tiny four-year old Bridgeport, Connecticut, boy named Charles Stratton into an international celebrity known as Tom Thumb. Barnum was closely associated with his diminutive star, escorting him on an 1844 tour of Europe that included an audience with Queen Victoria. By the early 1860s Stratton began exhibiting himself outside of Barnum's auspices, but in 1863 Barnum paid for, and tirelessly promoted, Stratton's lavish wedding to fellow Barnum exhibitee Lavinia Warren.


                                                            Posted to web site on  March 21, 2009, TGK   Minor changes Jan 2014.