Walter R. Deverell was born in Lincolnshire, England, the son of the Rev. John Robert Deverell (1779-1844), minister of the parish church of Bytham Castle, and Susannah Ann Ruding (1771-1832), daughter of Walter Ruding of Westcotes. (IGI; England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975; Mills, unpublished mss., p.34)
Deverell married Dorothy Margaretta Phillips (1799-1850), of a well-to-do Pembrokeshire family, on 25 Sep. 1824, at Saint Clement Danes, Westminster, London, England. (England Marriages, 1538-1973) A few days later they embarked with Dr. George Blaetterman and his wife for Virginia, Deverell having been a student of Blaetterman’s in England. (Stamford Mercury, 1 Oct. 1824). On their arrival in Dec. 1824, Mr. Jefferson issued an invitation to attend dinner at Monticello (Jefferson, Letter to George Blaetterman, Dec. 1824).
Only three months after their arrival, Deverell wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson (on 19 Mar. 1825), asking if the office of librarian for the University had been promised to anyone; if not, he said, it would be just the sort of job he himself had a predilection for. (Deverell, Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 19 Mar. 1825) Deverell apparently did not get the job since the first two librarians for the University were John V. Kean and William Wertenbaker. (Clemons) In July 1825, Deverell enrolled at the University, to study modern languages under Blaetterman’s instruction during the University’s 1st session (1825). (U.Va. Matriculation Books)
In 1826, Deverell was running a school for boys near Charlottesville (mentioned in Randolph, Martha Jefferson. Letter to Joseph Coolidge, 1 Mar 1826). In 1827, he wrote a “scheme” of studies for a boys’ school. This may have been for the project to establish a large academy, based on the plan of a German gymnasium, to be run from Monticello after Jefferson’s death. (General Cocke and others had inquired about the price of Monticello in 1827.) A prospectus for this project was published in 1829, but unfortunately nothing further came of it and the Deverell family returned to Great Britain. (Cocke Family Papers (1725-1939), Boxes 51 & 57)
Walter and Dorothy’s first two children were born in Charlottesville; these were Walter Howell, born in 1827, and Margaretta, born in 1829. (Walter Howell Deverell was noted as a Pre-Raphaelite painter in London later in his life.) The rest of their family included Chantrey Wykeham; Spencer Ruding; Jemima; Wykeham Travel; Ruding Wykeham; and Maria Deverell.
The Deverell family moved to Ireland in 1831. Deverell entered Trinity College at the University of Dublin in 1833. Returning to London in 1835, Walter Deverell served in a variety of government positions throughout his life, including Secretary of the Statistical Society of London, Governor of the Prison in Perthshire, Scotland, and Secretary of the School of Design at Somerset House. (Mills; Lutyens) He died at Heathfield House, Kew.
[Note: My thanks to Amanda Mills who suggested Walter R. Deverell as the subject of one of these essays, and who shared with me information from her unpublished manuscript for this blog entry. Deverell’s birth date is from the University of Virginia Matriculation Books, session 1; his death date is from the newspaper obituary noted in Amanda Mills’ unpublished manuscript. – JLC]
- Clemons, Harry. The University of Virginia Library, 1825-1950. Charlottesville, VA, 1954.
- Cocke Family Papers (1725-1939), Special Collections, University of Virginia Library. Box 51 10 Jun 1827 Plan of Instruction Adopted by Mr. Deverell. Box 57, 1 Nov 1828, copy [rough draft] of letter to Thomas Jefferson Randolph for Monticello house for a gymnasium; 17 Nov 1828, Thomas Jefferson Randolph to John Hartwell Cocke re: necessity of selling home, terms, etc.; 7 Dec 1828, Thomas Jefferson Randolph to John Hartwell Cocke re: offer of sale of Monticello; 20 Dec 1828, Copy of letter to Thomas Jefferson Randolph about rent of Monticello. [1828-29], Proposal for a new school for boys. http://www.lib.virginia.edu/small
- [Deverell-Phillips marriage notice.] Stamford Mercury, 1 Oct 1824. British Newspapers Online.
- Deverell, Walter Ruding. Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 19 March 1825. Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Early access. http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/founders/default.xqy?keys=FOEA-print-04-02-02-5059
- Deverall, Walter Ruding. Will, found in the Public Record Office, National Archives, United Kingdom. “Proved at London, 3d. Augt. 1853.”
- “England and Wales, Death Index 1800-1920,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/2NJ4-LZ7 : accessed 07 Jan 2014), Walter Ruding Deverell, 1853.
- “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NRT3-V2N : accessed 07 Jan 2014), Walter Ruding Deverell, 20 Sep 1803.
- “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NP36-6GC : accessed 07 Jan 2014), Walter Howell Deverell, 18 Aug 1829.
- “England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NDWR-622 : accessed 07 Jan 2014), Walter Ruding Deverell in entry for Margaretta Deverell, 18 Aug 1829.
- “England Marriages, 1538–1973,” Index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NJ55-PYV : accessed 07 Jan 2014), Walter Ruding Deverell and Dorothy Margaretta Phillips, 25 Sep 1824.
- Hunt, Violet. The wife of Rossetti, her life and death. New York, 1932.
- “International Genealogical Index (IGI),” database, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.2.1/M8DJ-GPZ : accessed 2014-01-07), entry for Walter Ruding Deverell.
- Jefferson, Thomas. Letter to George Blaetterman, Dec. 1824. Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Early access. http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/98-01-02-4829
- Lutyens, Mary, “Walter Howell Deverell (1827-1854),” in Pre-Raphaelite Papers, ed. L. Parris. London, Tate Gallery/Allen Lane, 1984, p. 76-96.
- Mills, Amanda. Unpublished mss. on Walter Howell Deverell.
- Randolph, Martha Jefferson. Letter to Joseph Coolidge, 1 Mar 1826. (Reference to Mr. Deverell.) Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Retirement Series Digital Library. http://retirementseries.dataformat.com/Document.aspx?doc=150952438
- University of Virginia Matriculation Books, 1825-1904, Accession #RG-14/4/2.041, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.