Saturday 19 March 2016

The Birth of the Rose - The Jennings family - Hereford

("The Birth of the Rose" engraved by T.W.Knight after a sculpture by B.Jennings, published in the Art Journal, 1850. Steel engraved antique print. Size 10 x 25 cms including title, plus margins. Ref F3428 - credited, with great appreciation, and

Benjamin Jennings was born about 1788 in St Nicholas, Herefordshire, England. On 27 April 1815 when Benjamin was about 27 years old, he married Mary Pritchard, daughter of William Pritchard, in Hereford, Herefordshire, England. They went on to have four known children.
  • Ann was born between 1812–1817 in St Johns, Herefordshire, England. 
  • Benjamin was born about 1818 . He died on 26 May 1859 in Pimlico, Middlesex, England. 
  • Mary Anne was born about 1821 in Herefordshire, England. On 29 June 1848 Mary married Thomas Bean. 
  • William was born about 1822 in St Johns, Herefordshire, England. 

Here follows some snippets from the newspapers of the time touching on the life of the Jennings family and the Birth of the Rose.  (All can be found on Find My Past)

Hereford Times 08 January 1848

A memorial tablet, executed by Mr. Jennings, sculptor, Hereford, in fine Carrara and black marble, was last week erected in the Abbey Church, to the memory of the late lamented John James, Esq. The inscription was as follows : " In memory of John James, Esq., of Presteign, in the county of Radnor, who died 11th August, 1847, in the 45th year of his age, and was interred in the family burying ground, on the south-east side of this church."—" Into thine hand I commit my spirit ; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth.” Psalm xxxi., 5,— B. Jennings Sculptor, Hereford.

Hereford Journal 05 July 1848
June 29, at St. Nicholas church, by the Rev. Thos. Gretton, M.A., Mr. Thomas Bean, of Burghill, to Mary Anne, youngest daughter of Mr. Benjamin Jennings, of this city, statuary.

Hereford Journal 05 June 1850

MR. BENJAMIN JENNINGS. - It is with very sincere pleasure we copy the following remarks from the Art Journal of the present month, noticing the “Cupid” of our talented fellow townsman, in the Sculpture-room of the Royal Academy. Most heartily do we coincide in the concluding prediction, and we are sure our readers will hail with much delight that rapid ascent in public estimation which the taste and masterly execution of Mr. Jennings will doubtless ensure :- “No. 1340. 'Cupid – the Birth of the Rose, B. JENNINGS.' A small figure holding a rose in the left hand ; there is much spirit and classical feeling in the work, which is altogether charming ; it is, we believe, the production of a young sculptor who has been studying in Rome ; we may safely predict his future fame.”

Hereford Journal 19 March 1851

17, Lower Eaton-street, Grosvenor-place, London, March 15, 1851

SIR. - Though not residing in my native city, everything connected with it excites in me the deepest interest, and I have not been unmindful of the steps taken by many of my fellow-citizens to perpetuate the memory of that excellent man, the late J. Bailey, Esq., in testimony of this worth and their appreciation of his services as their representative. I flatter myself that my reputation as a sculptor is not altogether unknown in Hereford. During my long residence in Paris and Rome and hope that one day my talents might be honourably recognised in the place of my birth stimulated my zeal and cheered me on in my efforts to excel ; and I can refer to those specimens of art executed by myself which were placed in the last year's Exhibition at the Royal Academy ; and as proofs that my efforts have not been altogether unsuccessful, I may mention that in addition to testimonials from some of the first sculptors of the age, the proprietors of the Art Journal did me the honour of engraving one of my works for their beautiful periodical.

Should the subscribers decide upon erecting a statue of the late Mr. Bailey as the most appropriate form of memorial, I beg respectfully to make a tender of my services without any view of pecuniary emolument, but solely from a desire to execute a work of art which may not discredit Hereford as the production of one of her own sons, and which at the same time may connect my name with my native city in a manner most grateful to a young artist.

I may be allowed to observe that a statue would afford an opportunity not only of representing to his constituents and admirers the form and figure of their departed representative and friend as he stood before them, but also of recording, by action, emblematical representations, and inscriptions, the many claims which Mr. Bailey had to public gratitude by his zealous patronage of everything likely to promote the public prosperity. Should the subscribers accept my offer I shall most anxiously exert myself to produce a work worthy of the occasion.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


Hereford Times 27 September 1851

25, after a long and severe affliction, Mary Ann, the beloved wife of Mr. Benjamin Jennings, sculptor, &c., King-street, second and last surviving daughter of the late Mr. William Pritchard, of Wye Bridge-street, in this city.

(also in the Hereford Journal 01 October 1851)

Hereford Times 18 September 1852

PUBLIC PRESENTATION OF THE GREAT EXHIBITION PRIZE MEDALS, CERTIFICATES, &c. The presentation of the prize-medals, certificates, service medals, &c., awarded by the Royal Commissioners of the Great Exhibition of 1851 to the successful exhibitors and other persons connected with this county, took place yesterday (Friday) afternoon, in the Music-rooms of the Shire-hall, in the presence of a very large and fashionable company. Thomas Evans, Esq., of Sufton Court, who filled the office of Mayor of Hereford in 18S1, presided, and we also noticed present, the Lord Bishop of the Diocese, Mrs. Hampden and family ; Lady Emily Foley, Lord Wm. Graham, Sir Henry end Lady Lambert, the Misses Lambert, and family ; the Right Hon. Lord Bateman ; Lord Rodney ; the Right Hon. and Rev. Lord Saye and Sele, and family ; Sir Robert and Lady Price ; T. W. Booker, Esq., M.P.; H. M. Clifford, Esq., M.P. ; J. K. King, Esq., M.P., and lady ; the Hon. Arthur Hanbury ; the Ven. Archdeacon and Mrs. Lane Freer ; the Very Rev. the Dean of Hereford and Mrs. Dawes ; Rev. Canon Morgan ; Rev. Canon Musgrave ; Rev. J. Hopton ; J. Jay Esq., Mrs. and the Misses Jay ; J. C. Symons, Esq. ; Rev. E. Howells ; R. Johnson, Esq., Secretary to the Committee ; Rev. H. Morgan ; Rev. Napleton Penoyre and lady ; G. Croose, Esq., and Miss Croose ; the Mayor of Hereford, E. Weymss, Esq., and lady ; C. G. Jones, Esq. ; John Cleave, Esq. ; Rev. E. B. Hawkshaw ; Rev. J. Phillips, Ludlow ; Rev. W. Poole ; E Pritchard, Esq., Mrs. and Miss Pritchard ; Dr. E. Morris ; Dr. Lingen ; Dr. Bull ; Dr. Gilliland ; W. Bullock, Esq. ; M. J. Scobie, Esq. ; Rev. J Goss ; J. Gwillim, Esq. ; C. Spozzi, Esq., and Mrs. Spozzi ; Capt. Napleton, &c., &c. The President and the other speakers, several members of the Committee, and the recipients of the medals who were present – viz., Mr. B. Jennings, jun., Mr. B. Jennings, sen., Mr. Geo. Gill, and Mr. D. Jones, of Hay,- occupied the orchestra. The certificates, in plain gilded frame handsomely-bound volumes of the "Awards of the Jurors,” and the medals., enclosed in Morocco cases were placed upon a table ; and the beautiful statue, The Birth of the Rose," from the studio of our fellow-citizen, Mr Benjamin Jennings., jun., — which had been brought from London purposely for the occasion - formed a prominent object on the ground floor near the orchestra. This exquisite work of art - to which the Royal Commissioners awarded a prize medal — is so well-known as having formed one of the most attractive objects in statuary department of the Exhibition, that we need not now further allude to it, except to notice that its exhibition in the native city of the artist, when a covering was removed from it by Mr. Jennings at the commencement of the proceedings, was hailed with rapturous and prolonged applause. The CHAIRMAN rose and said that the object of the meeting was to present the medals and prizes awarded by the Royal Commissioners at the Great Exhibition of 1851 ; and in obedience to a suggestion of the Commissioners, they were assembled upon that occasion in order that the presentation should take place in this locality, instead of being sent by the ordinary mode of conveyance, viz., by railway packet, as had perhaps been done in some other localities. The Commissioners having expressed a wish that the proceedings in connexion with the Exhibition should be concluded, as far as possible, by the parties with whom they had been in communication throughout, he occupied the chair on that occasion instead of the present worthy Mayor of the city, who had honoured the meeting by attending in his robes. The Chairman went on to refer to the first meeting which was held in this city, in October, 1849 to receive the suggestion of his Royal Highness Prince Albert relative to the Exhibition. Upon that occasion the meeting was attended by the Bishop of Hereford, Sir Robert Price, George C. Lewis, Esq., Colonel Clifford, the Rev. Canon Musgrave, Rev. A. Clive, Rev. R. L. Freer, Rev. Dr. Symons, and many other gentlemen of this locality. He read from the Hereford Times an account of the proceedings which took place at that meeting, remarking that some might think the Great Exhibition was a thing gone by – but not so with Mr. Jennings, Lieut. Rhind, and other exhibitors of works of art and of usefulness ; to them it was a matter of no ordinary interest to know that their works had been appreciated by, and stamped with the approbation of, the Royal Commissioners. Among the extracts read by the Chairman, was the statement of Mr. Fuller – who attended the meeting of October 1849, to explain the object of Prince Albert – respecting his visit to the studio of Mr. Jennings jun., and his prediction, from having there seen a piece of sculpture of very great excellence, that, “if not before 1851, he felt certain that by means of the Exhibition then to be held, Mr. Jennings would attain deserved eminence ; that he would ultimately, if he lived, become a great artist – a man of whom Hereford would have reason to be proud.” The meeting, he (the Chairman)was sure, would be delighted with the fact that Mr. Fuller had been a true prophet. (Applause.) Mr. Fuller had further said “This city had also the honour of counting among its inhabitants Mr. Wright, the inventor of percussion powder, a gentleman to whom the world was deeply indebted.” (Hear.) He was glad to say that in this immediate locality all sects and classes most heartily concurred in forwarding the objects of the Prince. The local committee met, and amongst other exhibitors there were Mr. John Collins, of Leominster ; Mr. George Gill, of Ludlow, late of Hereford ; Mr. B. Griffin, a tailor ; Mr. B Jennings, Sen. ; Mr. B. Jennings, jun. ; Mr. D. Jones, of Hay ; and Mr. James Whitney, of Colver-hill. As might have been expected, all the exhibitors could not win prizes ; but it was very gratifying to know that, out of so small a number, two had had prize medals awarded to them. (Hear, hear.) He might say that Mr. Jennings was the youngest artist to whom a prize medal had been awarded by the Royal Commissioners. (Applause.) He next referred to the desire of the local committee to promote, as far as possible, pleasure trips to town during the Exhibition, and quoted an extract from a letter published by Dr. E. Morris, to the effect that the principle on which the Great Exhibition was conceived and founded was “Peace on earth, good-will towards men,” and that it was calculated to promote the best interests of man. There were three classes of persons to whom medals were to be awarded – first, prize medals and certificates to Mr. Jennings and Lieut. Rhind ; 2nd, medals to exhibitors who had not been quite so successful as these two gentlemen, but who he hoped would have an opportunity of trying again, and that they would be more successful ; 3rd and lastly, there were medals and certificates to be presented to those who were supposed to have rendered service to the Royal Commissioners of 1851. He made use of the word “supposed,” because he was told that one of the service medals was intended for him : in his own mind, however, he had done nothing at all to deserve it. After stating that Sir Robert Price would present the medal to Mr. Jennings, the Bishop that awarded to Lieut. Rhind, - whose invention, it was thought, was more suited for an address from a minister of the Gospel – the Chairman briefly stated the object and principles of Lieut. Rhind's invention, a safety-raft of simple and ready construction by desk-seats, &c. He next noticed a circular issued by the Hon. Sec. to the Local Committee respecting Mr. Jennings' statue, in which it is stated that Mr. Jennings is “the only provincial artist who obtained that honour (a prize medal), and ranking as one of ten so distinguished in the United Kingdom, and one of 27 from the whole world.” - It then proceeds :- “The honour conferred through him (the sculptor) upon this county of Hereford has excited a feeling that a work so beautiful ought not to be lost to the place where the sculptor was born. It is, therefore, proposed that it should be purchased by subscription, and placed in one of the public buildings of Hereford, to be preserved, not only as a work of art, but also as an incentive to other young men of Herefordshire to aim at distinction in the higher branches of art.” Now Mr. Jennings was not simply the “only provincial artist,” but as he had said, he was also the youngest artist to whom a medal had been presented. What, then, had they to hope for in so talented a fellow-citizen? (Applause.) To carry out the object alluded to in the circular, he was glad to say that the Hon. Secretary (R. Johnson, Esq.) had opened a subscription of Herefordshire ladies and gentlemen. He hoped that this intention would be carried out, and that the beautiful figure would be placed in that room as a lasting monument of what a Herefordshire man had done. (Applause.) After enumerating the names of the gentlemen who had served upon the Local Committee, and alluding to the circumstances of Mr. Jennings having at his (the Chairman's) request incurred the risk of bringing the statue to Hereford – for which all must feel much indebted – (hear, hear) – he complimented the modesty (a general characteristic of merit) which particularly distinguished Mr. Jennings, who had been reluctant to exhibit his “Cupid” at the Exhibition but, as his figure of “Caractacus” would not have been ready in time, Sir R. Price had urged him to try his luck with the “Cupid.” (Hear, hear.) The meeting knew the success which was the result. After some humorous remarks upon the difficulty which he felt in addressing a meeting graced by so large an assemblage of the rank and beauty of the county, the worthy Chairman called upon Sir Robt. Price to present the medal, &c., to Mr. Jennings. Sir ROBERT PRICE, after some introductory observations, said he did not quite agree with the worthy Chairman in all the reasons which had been assigned why he should first address the meeting in presenting these testimonials ; but he certainly could not resist the request which had been made to him to present a testimonial to a young man who had done great credit to himself and honour to his county. (Cheers.) One reason why the task was assigned to him was, that he was a Local Commissioner, and, unfortunately, the only one present—his hon. col-leagues, Mr. Wegg-Prosser and Mr. Chandos Wren Hoskyns, being both absent. As a local commissioner, his office had been a siuecure ; though he had attended a good deal locally, and had assisted as far as he could to bring the Great Exhibition to a satisfactory conclusion. ([Hear, hear.) From the very beginning, he thought well of this undertaking, There were many, however, who had the most absurd fears respecting it. Some gentleman in London had told him that the Metropolis would be inundated with foreigners of the worst description ; and that our people would imbibe bad notions, and become disloyal to the Queen. He did not agree in these anticipations, nor had they been realized. The success of the magnificent under-taking had been most perfect, and had clearly shown that in art-; and industry England can compete with the world. (Applause.) He confessed that he entertained doubts as to what an agricultural district like Hereford could send to the Exhibition that would gain distinction; but Mr. Jennings had removed all doubt and difficulty, for he had shown that, in the higher department of art, Herefordshire can take a rank equal to any county in England, or to any part of the world. The hon. Baronet went on to say that perhaps, as one of the representatives of the city, and at the Chief Steward — thus representing the feelings of the city generally and of the Corporation — he might be fitly selected to present this testimonial to Mr. Jennings —a son of a worthy citizen of Hereford, who had done honour to himself, in sparing no expense in sending his son to Italy for the improvement and development of his talent and genius. He thought that Mr. Jennings the father deserved great credit. (Applause.) After some further appropriate remarks upon this subject, which were warmly applauded, Sir Robert expressed his opinion that Mr. Jennings, jun., ought to have something more than a medal and a book presented to him : he ought to have a more substantial reward for his talent and labour. (Hear,hear.) He had been in hopes that some lover of the fine arts, who possessed plenty of money, would have purchased Mr. Jennings beautiful statue. With this view he had mentioned it to some noblemen and gentlemen, but in one case a recent purchase, and in others some other cause, prevented a compliance with his wishes. He (Sir Robt. Price) now, however, fully agreed in the suggestion that they should keep this monument in the county : this would be the best reward they could give Mr. Jennings, and the greatest honour they could do themselves. (Applause.) After noticing the work of Mr. Lucy, now on exhibition at Mr. Head's, bookseller, in this city, and remarking incidentally that pictures were not admitted to the Exhibition, or Hereford might have gained honour through this distinguished artist, Sir Robert concluded by saying that he was sure they would all agree that Mr. Jennings was eminently deserving of the rewards which were now to be presented to him. (Hear, hear.) He cordially wished him success in every future effort, and hoped the time would come when he would be able to distinguish himself above all his compeers both in this country and on the continent. The hon. Baronet then presented Mr. Jennings with a prize-medal, a certificate, and a copy of the Awards of the Jurors. Mr.JENNINGS essayed to return thanks, but his emotions were too powerful for him to struggle against, and his words fell almost soundless from his lips. We merely caught an expression of gratification at receiving the testimonial, and a hope that it might be an incentive to himself to persevere in his profession, as well as to other young men. 

See the rest of the article via the above  link and it is also reported here Hereford Journal 22 September 1852

Hereford Times 10 December 1853

An extract

...That Herefordshire is not deficient in intellectual capabilities, was evidenced at the Banquet by the noblest of the adornments of the hall. Mr. Jennings' beautiful figure of "Cupid, or the Birth of the Rose," which attracted all eyes, and which attained for its sculptor the high honour of being one of the sixteen British sculptors to whom medals were awarded at the Great Competition of the World, gave significant evidence that the sculptor's native county is capable of producing genius as well as material wealth. We were glad to perceive, among the company, the author of a work which has shed so much honour on Herefordshire, although we could not help, at the same time, feeling ashamed that the subscription to purchase that beautiful figure is still greatly deficient. Had any of the distinguished strangers, who on that day admired the figure, been only aware of this discreditable fact, Herefordshire would probably have come in for a sharp reproof amid the host of congratulatory kindnesses ; and perhaps the reproof would have done as much good as the gratulations... 



A beautiful monument, from the studio of Benjamin Jennings, Esq., sculptor, London, has just been erected in the Parish Church, Kirkby Lonsdale, to the memory of the late William Thompson, Esq., of Underley Hall. The design is purely Grecian, and the tablet is supported by two brackets richly carved in imitation of Acanthus leave The centre of the base contains the coat of arms, on each side of which is a massive pillar ornamented with an entwined Poppy, the emblem of Sleep. Over the base is an Abacus supported by a rich moulding. The centre consists of a large plain slab bearing the following inscription : — 


To the Memory of


Of Underley Hall, Kirkby Lonsdale, 
M.P. For the County of Westmorland,
Alderman of the City of London.
Died 10th March, 1854, 
Aged 61 Years.”

The entablature is ornamented with several mouldings, are the whole is surmounted by a rich scroll bearing an Acanthus leaf, over which a drapery is carelessly thrown, falling down the sides to the lower Abacus in massive folds, an urn being introduced by the artist among the folds of the drapery on the right. The whole is of the finest marble and bears a beautiful polish.

Hereford Times 19 July 1856

ASHPERTON. The parishioners of Ashperton, in this county, have just erected a marble tablet, executed by Mr. Benjamin Jennings, of Hereford, to record the names of four heroes, its sons, whose ashes are mingled with those of their brethren in arms, who died for the cause of liberty in the sanguinary struggles of the Crimea. The following is the inscription :— 

In Memory of 
MARTIN L WRENCE, aged 19, 
JOHN FIRKINS, aged 20. 

Of the Scotch Fusilie- Guards, who fell at the Siege of Sebastopol
Their bodies now lie—
Two on the heights above that city ;
One beneath the waters of the Black Sea: and 
One in the burial-ground at Scutari : 
Their names are engraved on this Tablet which is erected 
by the Parishioners of Ashperton, in remembrance of 
those who went from among them
to encounter the perils of warfare, and in their 
early prime, died for their country. 

" Turn Thee again, 0 Lord, at the last, and be gracious unto Thy servants."

Page 93
A fine piece of sculpture, representing "Cupid, or the Birth of the Rose," by Mr. Benjamin Jennings Junior, a native of this city, which obtained considerable notice in the Great Exhibition of 1851, was also exhibited here for some time ; but in consequence of the amount subscribed (£170) not having been considered sufficient by £80 to remunerate the sculptor, the figure has been removed until the latter sum shall be forthcoming.

Page 147

Established 1810.

Marble & Stone-Mason,

Monuments, Tombs, and Chimney-pieces carefully and expeditiously executed. A choice for inspection at both the above establishments. Plans of every description furnished at the shortest notice.

Proprietor of the THREE ELMS QUARRY, two miles from Hereford. Stone constantly on Sale. Particulars may be obtained of the Foreman at the Quarry, or of the Proprietor at his residence as above. 


Hereford Times 18 September 1858
Benjamin Jennings v. William Moxon.-This was an action brought by the plaintiff, Mr. Jennings, sculptor, of King-street, against Mr. William Moxon, the late contractor of the sewerage works just completed in this city, for £8 9s. 4d., for stone supplied during its progress from a quarry at the Three Elms.—Mr. Jennings, after stating the conditions of his claim, and the fact that defendant had hauled it himself, observed that Mr. Moxon did not, upon receiving the summons, deny that the money was due, for he promptly remitted a cheque for the full amount claimed, with costs ; but as he, (the plaintiff) did not think proper to accept the cheque, he preferred that the money should be paid into Court.—An order for payment forthwith was made. 

Hereford Times - 28 May 1859

JENNINGS. - May 26, at 17, Lower Eaton-street, Grosvenor-place, Pimlico, London, Mr. Benjamin Jennings, jun., sculptor, eldest son of Mr. Benjamin Jennings, of Kings street, in this city, aged 40.

Hereford Times 28 May 1859
THE LATE MR. JENNINGS, SCULPTOR. It is with a regret which will be shared by a great number of our readers, that we call attention to a notice in this day's obituary, of the death of a young artist, who had already shed honor upon this his native city, and whose talents promised to shed much more honor upon it in days to come. Mr. Benjamin Jennings was best known as the sculptor of " Cupid and the Rose," a figure which gained for him the high honour of a place among the 16 British sculptors, who were honoured with special notice by the judges in the Great Exhibition of 1851 ; but he had executed the matron Madonna—a new phase of the character, as far as sculpture is concerned—and other works worthy of praise. Up to his death, he was engaged upon a statue of Caratacus, the conception of which is very fine and spirited. Not many weeks ago, we had occasion to notice at length, in terms of deserved commendation, the rich and effective mural monument executed by Mr. Jennings to the memory of the late Sir Robert Price, Bart., M.P., an early friend and patron of the sculptor. As his last completed work, that monument will henceforth possess a still deeper interest in the eyes of all the many friends whom Mr. Jennings's sterling worth and unassuming manner had attracted to himself. Our deceased friend was a pupil of Gibson, and spent a number of years at Rome in the study and practice of his art. On one occasion, he caught the malaria fever, the prostration produced by which rendered it indispensable for him to return to this country. He did not for a long time, if ever, entirely recover from the effects of that disease—the scourge of the beautiful environs of Rome. His death, in his 41st year, is to be deplored as the sudden removal of an amiable man and a rising artist. 

Hereford Journal 01 June 1859

JENNINGS--May 24, at his residence, No. 17, Lower Eaton-street, Grosvenor Place, Pimlico, Mr. Benjamin Jennings, jun., sculptor, eldest son of Mr. Benj. Jennings, of King-steet, in this city, aged 41 years. 

Hereford Times – 27 May 1899



Wednesday last, May 24th, was the 40th anniversary of the death of a distinguished citizen of Hereford, the late Mr B. Jennings, jun. Mr Jennings was a sculptor of great skill, and took a prominent position in the work of Art in his day. At first he was admitted a student at the Royal Academy, London, and the following year entered the Royal Academy, Paris. Here is studied under the famous sculptor David D'Angers. A fellow student and close friend was the present President of the French Ecole de Beaux Arts, Paris, Mons. M Eugene Guilleaume, who, on the death of the Duc d'Aumale, was also appointed by the French Government Director of the National Art Institute, Rome, in which institution both had completed their studies.

It will be remembered by many now living that the crowning achievement in the late Mr Jennings' work was the statue “The Birth of the Rose.” The idea was founded on Sappho's poem, describing the dispute as to which should be the queen of flowers; and Cupid, standing with a rose in one hand, and pointing to it with the finger of the other, declares, in the presence of Jupiter, the rose to be victorious. This was the only work of art sent to the Great Exhibition in London, in 1851, to which the jury in class 30 unanimously awarded a prize medal. It also had the silver medal awarded to it at the Manchester Exhibition.

“The Birth of the Rose” is a graceful and poetic figure, original in design, and worked out with a spirit and a delicacy equally worthy of admiration. It attracted much attention from Herefordshire men and visitors generally to the Exhibition, Mr Jennings being the only provincial artist obtaining such a high honours, while he ranked as one of nine so distinguished in England and one out of 27 from the whole world. So great was the sense of honour conferred upon the county of Hereford that a feeling was excited that so beautiful a work ought not to be lost to the place where the sculptor was born. It was therefore proposed to purchase the figure by means of a subscription, and to place it in one of the public buildings of the city, there to be preserved, not only as a work of art, but also as an incentive to other young men in Herefordshire to distinguish themselves in the higher branches of art and science.

A certain amount of money was raised, and this was deposited in the old bank ; but unfortunately the bank failed, and the money was lost. Through the influence of Mr T. Evans, the then Mayor, and Chairman of the local Committee, the figure was sent down from London to the city, on the understanding that it was eventually to become the property of the citizens. Owing to the loss of the subscriptions, the deaths of one or two of the gentleman more prominently interested, the scheme, however lay in abeyance. The project was again revived by Mr Robert Keay, but was never carried out. The most lamentable part of the business was the wretched treatment which the figure itself received when standing in the birth-place of the author, for while in the Library some mischievous person or persons broke the rose from the hand holding it, and altogether damage was done to the amount of about £100.

It may be added that although “The Birth of the Rose” is at present at Bristol, it is the property of Mr W. Jennings, of Whitecross, Hereford, brother of the artist, and we believe there is yet a chance of securing this beautiful example of work for the city of Hereford. Otherwise it is probable that it will go to Paris or Rome.

We have seen the medal, the certificate signed by the late Prince Consort, an Italian art critique of the work, and also a translation of some sonnets which were presented to Mr Jennings on his leaving Rome. Mr Jennings intended remaining in Rome, but with others left in consequence of the Garibaldian movement, which, for a time, so much interfered with art work.

The sonnets given below are copied from the translation of the Italian by the late Mr Charles Bodenham, of Rotherwas ; and some remarks by the translator on the style of Italian composition may also be found interesting : -


“To the most illustrious Lord (1)
The Lord Jennings, Sculptor,
By Birth and by Talent
By his love for the Arts and for the Muses
Most Distinguished (2)
Adone Finandi
Presents this Tribute of his Respect.”

Sonnet I.

“These are your Acts, most distinguished Lord ! (3) To elevate the Arts to their highest perfection, and continually to create Sublime Ideas by converting Shapeless Marble into Statues of wondrous and most admired Workmanship. You are the support of Literature and Science. You manifest the greatest ability. The Fame of your Superhuman genius resounds in foreign nations. You pity, assist, and love the unfortunate, and endeavour to protect them from calamities. It may be said on the walls of Romalus that you are the support and aid of all, and that all are solicitous for your happiness, and Love you.”

Sonnet II.

“When I think of describing on paper the Honours you deserve, Tears fall from my eyes (4), my Pen divides itself into many parts (5) ; Time, that he may enjoy your merits, has, in his fierce and tryannical fury, cleverly stolen your merits from the happy Eternity to which they belong. I knew not what can be wanting to complete them ! If, by a fatal destiny, there were no other pens in the world, and mine disappeared with them, nevertheless, that your Glory might attain to Immortality, Fame herself would fly hither, and would pluck for me pens out of her own wings. The End.”

  1. The literal translation : A title given in almost all Italian dedications. 
  2. “Sagacissimo,” literally “most wise.” Translated according to the idiom of the English language. “Emile Giovane” (“Humble Youth”) scarcely admits of a literal translation. 
  3. Line 12 - “Sagace.” See Note 2. 
  4. The poet does not inform his readers why he sheds tears? 
  5. Why did he not use a “steel pen”? 
N.B. - The Bombast and the Poetry run mad of these compositions, are in the true Italian style, and show that Mr Jennings is thought by his friends in Rome to be – what he is in reality – a clever artist and a amiable young man. 


It was reported that Councillor Oatfield had presented a marble statue, "The Birth of the Rose," by the late Benjamin Jennings, to the Free Library, in memory of the late Mr. William Jennings, Hereford. The books in the library numbered 10,995, and the number borrowed last year showed an increase over that of the previous year of 915.


  1. I just linked to this helpful page from my scan of an 1850 engraving showing Benjamin Jenning's ethereally beautiful sculpture The Birth of the Rose. Your research also helped me get the right dates for him.
    here if you are interested. Thanks!

    (PS: sorry, took me three goes to leave a comment in the right place!)

    1. Hi Liam

      Sorry for the delay in replying. Thanks for the feeedback and for adding the link.

      Joynealogy (posting as Anonymous still - I will work out how to post properly one day)

  2. Hi, thought you would be interested to know I have the statue of cupid, discovered in a garden in Hereford a few weeks ago, vicky

    1. Wow Vicky that's amazing and a bit of mystery as the last I heard it was in America. Are you able to share a picture - maybe via Twitter @joynealogy ?