A SMALL VICTORIAN BOX AND COVER COVERED IN SEALING WAX IMPRESSIONS, MADE BY JULIA DYSART, LONDONDERRY, 1842
rectangular, the box of card covered in a collection of motto and other sentimental seal impressions, including one inscribed 'Bellarena', the underside inscribed, the interior containing a similarly inscribed card, 8.5cm long; together with a burr wood snuff box and a lacquered foiled bois durci snuff box, second quarter 19th century, both oblong, the burr wood example with nacre cartouche, bois durci example with gilt-metal foliate thumbpiece and shield cartouche, 9cm and 11cm respectively; and a small glass seal, oval, engraved with two lines of music
The inscription reads: 'For Miss Tyndal with / Julia Dysart's affectn love / May 10th 1842 / Londonderry'
Despite unusually scant recordings of Julia Dysart, John Culme, though extraordinary detective skills, using a variety of death notices, census records and other arcane means, has managed to trace her life as follows:
Julia Dysart (1816?-1902) was one of a number of children born to John Dysart (1775-1864), a JP and three times mayor of Londonderry and his wife Esther (née Kennedy, 1783?-1862). Around the same time Julia was bestowing her affections on Miss Tyndal, with the gift of this box, another person was cruelly misleading her about his. Samuel Montgomery was a member of the local gentry and a cleric and in 'About 1843 he proposed to a handsome, dark-eyed, vivacious girl, a Miss Julia Dysart who lived in Moville. She accepted him . . . The fear overtook him and he backed out. For a parson of his generation this was a most serious matter and eventually, in order to avoid legal action for breach of promise, he had to pay the Dysarts £1,200 . . .' (Brian Montgomery, A Field Marshal in the Family, London, 1973, reprinted Barnsley, 2010, p. 21). Rev. Samuel Montgomery (d. 1874) was the uncle of Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein. Shortly after this in December 1846, her sister, Annie, was married by the Lord Bishop in St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, to William Hewitt Griffin. The couple, together with Julia, went to Canada, but Annie died in February 1853 and was buried in Pentland Cemetery, Lennox and Addington County, Ontario. Julia then married her sister's husband and had a son by him, Henry 'Harry' Hewitt Griffin (1855?-1918). Her husband (later recorded as Major William Hewitt Griffin B.A. T.C.D., J.P., &c., Assistant Adjutant-General) sadly died in Canada in 1866 and was buried next to his first wife. The widowed Julia and her son returned to England, where by 1891 they are recorded as living at 'St Oswald's', Norroy Road, Putney, London, where she died in 1902. Her son, H.H. Griffin, was editor of Bicycling News in 1885, sometime director of the New Beeston Cycle Co. and editor of The Wheelman and Motor Car Weekly.
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