The Octagon March 2020

Greetings Friends:

I feel that we have turned the corner and Spring is on the horizon. The garden is coming back to life with crocuses and tulips poking through the leaf mulch and I have even found some blooming snowdrops!

As we “March” into this new season, plans are afoot for live-in caretakers, for students to assist with tours and for some new events at the Manor House, as well as a wedding in April!  We are excited to get back into the Manor House after this long period of hibernation and are planning the first Spring Clean on Friday, April 17th. Remember, we are always looking for volunteers!

The Friends of Fintry had a table at the Heritage Week kick-off in the Kelowna Community Theatre and it was a most successful day with many people visiting and sharing different aspects of our heritage. Thanks goes out to Shannon, Dan and Gwendy for manning the Fintry table and for imparting their Fintry knowledge to the visitors.

Dan Bruce our Curator, would like to share some interesting facts about a picture that we often get asked about during tours of the Manor House………

“There is no evidence that James Dun-Waters was particularly interested in boxing, but there is an interesting link between Fintry and the early history of the sport.    In the “Red Room” there hangs a small photographic reproduction of a portrait of the bare-knuckle boxer, Richard Humphreys. In 1787, Humphreys posed, (one could not say ‘sat’) for the then fashionable artist, John Hoppner, a painting done perhaps as a result of his widely admired prowess in the ring.   The painting had a number of owners in England before being bought by James Dun-Waters in 1888.  

Upon his removal to Canada, the picture accompanied all the other household items and was hung in the Fintry Manor House.  One of the many items that was rescued during the 1924 fire, the Hoppner was taken into Kelowna when Margaret, the second Mrs. Dun-Waters moved after James’ death.   In 1951, Margaret put the painting up for sale, and it was bought without hesitation by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.   An article in “Country Life” magazine enabled me to discover what had happened to it, a “good news/bad news “ situation. Good in that we know where it is, and that it is being well cared for, bad in that we will never see its return to Fintry.  I made contact with the Met. and asked about getting a photo of the piece.  Their response was that policy was not to supply images for permanent exhibit, but when I reminded them of the history of the painting, they immediately agreed, and sent a digital image with their compliments.

Richard Humphreys rose to fame as a prize-fighter in England, and perhaps his career would have been longer had he not challenged Daniel Mendoza, the young Jewish boxing prodigy from the East End of London.   They fought on a number of occasions, but September 27th, 1790 was the day on which Dan Mendoza beat Humphreys into a state of semi-consciousness, his final fight.

Boxing was chiefly the business of marginal society at that time, with many Jewish and Gypsy people involved.   The Jewish community of London were ecstatic over Mendoza’s whole career, and especially his victory over Richard Humphreys, a feat that earned him the public approbation of the Price Regent, and King George III.”

Richard Humphreys, the Boxer
John Hoppner

Now when you look at this picture hanging in the Red Room at the Fintry Manor House you will appreciate a little more of the history on how it arrived there!

In a few weeks I will be going to Scotland to visit my Scottish relatives and while there, will be taking a road trip to meet with the Museum people in Fintry, Scotland. Some of the Scottish Fintry Museum committee have visited “our” Fintry so it will be most interesting to see what info they have on Dun-Waters as he owned a large estate in Fintry before moving to Canada at the beginning of the century.

‘til next time…..

Kathy Drew,

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

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