Seasonal Sentiments

As you will have seen from the other blog posts on this site, the Graham Family Archive encompasses a wide variety of material.  One very personal item is an illustrated scrapbook which was created as a Christmas gift for Sophy Stobart (1824-1895), the great-grandmother of Lady Katherine Graham, née Stobart who was wife to Sir Guy Graham, 9th Baronet. It is enscribed ‘ To Dear Mother, from Frank, Fred, Willie, Sophie, Harry, Xmas 1877’.


Sophy Stobart (1824-1895) to whom the Scrapbook is dedicated. Copyright : North Yorkshire County Record Office


The Stobart family had rented Norton Conyers Hall from Viscount Downe, who owned the estate between 1865-1879; the only time in its six hundred year history when outside Graham family ownership – having been sold to alleviate the debts incurred by Sir Bellingham Graham, 7th Bt.


The first page of the Scrapbook. Copyright : North Yorkshire County Record Office


The volume provides a portrait and accompanying personal verse for each family member plus visiting friends and relations and also depicts some of their activities whilst in residence – playing tennis, reading by the fireside and exploring the surrounding parkland. The children had help in creating the album; family friend Katie Dean Mann wrote much of the verse and young Sophie’s governess, Miss Laing, provided the illustrations.  We have used elements of these beautiful botanical drawings on items such as bookmarks to help publicise the project.


A painting of the main staircase. Copyright : North Yorkshire County Record Office

The Scrapbook also includes photographs of the interior of Norton Conyers Hall plus images of the Stobart family’s Canadian connections.  In an accompanying letter to the volume, Harry writes of his having to go to Wath Village School to learn his ‘3 r’s’ by riding his pony there. The volume, bound in brown leather with gold tooling, is a long-treasured gift which has, and will, continue to delight its reader.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with the Attics and Acres Project for their generous help and support and to wish you Season’s Greetings and all the best for the year ahead!


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