Arrighi Photos Reunited!

I never intended to be away from this blog for so long (family commitments) but here we are, many months since my last post. As my mum used to say, ‘better late than never’!

During my absence something wonderful happened that I just have to share with you. Jenny from Lincolnshire contacted me regarding photographs of the Arrighi family, which I posted prior to my inpromptu break. Jenny had instantly recognised them because she is the grand-daughter of James Arrighi. In fact, it is Jenny’s own hand-writing on the back of some of the photographs. They were in her possession until a few years ago when she moved house and were somehow mislaid. It is a mystery how they ended up in the batch of images I purchased last year, but as you can expect, she was very happy to see them again.

Jenny and I met shortly after our initial contact and I was able to reunite her with the family photos, which was a privilege and a thrill for me because it is, after all, the reason I keep this blog.

I also learned a little more about the Arrighi family. For instance, Benedetto Louis Arrighi (Jenny’s great-grandfather) was known in the family as Luigi, not Louis. And there is a charming family notebook that contains the handwriting of his daughter Isabella Richardson Arrighi (b.1869), who Jenny agrees could be the elegant lady in the portrait discussed in this blog post. Jenny sent me an image of Isabella Richardson Arrighi aged about 28 (below left), which I have placed alongside the later portrait:

Another gem that Jenny shared is a letter to James Arrighi. It provides a flavour of the duties that James undertook in his role as Clerk of Works at Castle Ashby, and the esteem in which he was held. I particularly like the story about the splinter that came from a broken toilet seat! Transcribed extracts from the letter below contain the original spellings:

Letter copy
First page of letter to James Arrighi (undated)

Dear Sir

I am very sorry to trouble you again but I have had one tin of Green Paint 1 tin of red. I have had 5 doors in one house to do and I have not enough … man said it will take 1 more tin then that will do it and 1 tin of red as the doors have not been painted red outside for a long time Sir and they are very dry(?) as I have had both houses painted and papered it has been an expense … if it goes on allright he will send you a bit of Pork then if you like it for your kindness he is so pleased with it

Sir I must thank you very much Sir for the pig sty as John Wooford and Mr. Maunsey(?) have done it well and been as you done it for us my Uncle wished me to thank you Sir and he is  (?)8 years of age and he byked over to Mr. Shan to get the pigs as he said you people were good to have it done and he thought he would have the pigs off his Lordship as one good turn deserves another Sir

I mentioned the lavetorys to Mr Crew … Sir if I could get a new seat as it is all Welline(?) eaten and gone very bad. My boy sat on {it and} he had a splint enter in his seat and I had to put boracic lint on and bathe it

Dear Sir I must leave it to you Sir I hope you are keeping better So now I must close

from Mrs Mawby Denton

Mawby Denton

I briefly searched for Mrs Denton but suspect her name isn’t ‘Mawby’ (the best I can decipher from her writing). Any thoughts?

Thank you Jenny, for sharing this information. It was a real pleasure to meet you and reunite you with your photographs!