Frederick M. Brown

Bill Cawley in the Leek Post & Times, on “The enigma of an eccentric artist”

“a Leek mystery … an artist named Frederick Murray von Kalkreith Brown, an eccentric artist of seascapes … I believe the artist was really named Frederich Murray von Kalckreuth Braun … He died in September 1933 attempting to rescue a painting [from a fire] but what led him to come to Leek will remain a mystery.”

Valda and others on Rootsweb kindly looked up the census material a decade ago. I summarise the long thread, in narrative form:

* A “Frederick Murray Von Kalckrieth Brown” was born 1856 in Islington.

Birth dates can be a year astray, since it was common to delay registration of male births due to the high likelihood of death for boys. The birth may have been 1855, but not registered until 1856 when the boy was thriving. I’m guessing it’s possible that “Kalckrieth Brown” was a convenient Anglicisation of his family’s German “Kalckreuth Braun”, but then why not also drop the “von”? Possibly because, to English ears, a “von” indicated the chance of some noble title?

* Married in Shoreditch in 1880. He is listed on the 1881 census as “Fredk. M. Brown”, his trade a Battersea watercolour artist.

* At 1891 he’s living at “9 Bleak Street, Burslem, Staffordshire” with his growing family. That street would today be classed as being just over the border into Cobridge rather than Burslem. He works there as an “Artist and Designer”, presumably for one of the local pottery manufacturers. He moved to Burslem around 1889 or 1890, judging by the birth date and place of his one-year old son Leo B. Brown.

* If he retired in 1920 at age 65, then he and his wife may well have chosen the nearby town of Leek as the place of his retirement.

Not to be confused with Patrick von Kalckreuth (1892–1970), the leading German maritime painter of seascapes. Or with the influential London artist and teacher Frederick Brown (1851-1941). Nor with F. M. Brown the famous Pre-Raphaelite painter.

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