Victorian Era Turners: Earls of Craven

Earls of Craven, Second Creation

Over several generations, the craven family purchased seven Holtzapffel lathes and related apparatus.

Portrait of William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven, by Anne Mee, née Foldsone.
William was the eldest son of the 6th Baron Craven (1738-1791) an English nobleman. In 1801, William was created Viscount Uffington in the County of Berkshire, and Earl of Craven in the County of York. He was a soldier for most of his adult life and served almost entirely overseas in the times of the Napoleonic wars, distinguishing himself at Waterloo. William was a keen yachtsman, a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron, as well as a turner. He bought four lathes from Holtzapffel, numbers 34, 749, 752 and 777.
Portrait of Lord Craven by Sir George Hayter, 1830.
William became Lord-Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Recorder of Coventry and High Steward of Newbury. In 1848, he purchase Holtzapffel lathe No. 1935 to add to the family collection. This was one of the only two 5-1/2” lathes Holtzapffel made. It seems also to have been a somewhat sophisticated machine as it had a back-gear or slow motion incorporated within the headstock pulley (shown in Vol IV, pp. 113-114). (This lathe was sold to the Welsh Folk Museum in 1977.) He also bought No. 2103, perhaps to use for preparing work for ornamental turning, as it was the simplest and cheapest of plain lathes. He was a friend of Ms. Gascoigne of Parlington Park, Aberford, Leeds and when she published her Handbook of Turning she dedicated it to him.
George was also a soldier, Lord-Lieutenant of Berkshire and Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire. Although a practicing turner, he added only one new Holtzapffel lathe, No. 2216, to join the others in a specially adapted turning room at Coombe Abbey. After his death, this lathe was returned to Holtzapffel factory for resale.
Photograph of the Earl of Craven, 1902.
William George Robert Craven, 4th Earl of Craven (1868–1921) apparently had no interest in turning so the lathes went to his younger brother Osbert, who did enjoy turning. At Ashdown Park house in Berkshire where he lived, he didn't buy any new lathes, instead using those at hand to their fullest . His skills covered woodwork, turning, book-binding and leatherwork, and also served in the Berkshire Militia for 34 years retiring as Lieutenant-Colonel. He was friends with the family of Lady Gertrude Molyneux (Crawford) and some of his more modem looking turnings in the photos are very similar to her work.
The second son of the 3rd Earl of Craven was named Rupert, who was the father of the Society of Ornamental Turners member lieutenant-commander Rupert José Evelyn Craven, RN. He has revived the family interest in ornamental turning, though unfortunately had none of his family's lathes. However, numerous turned items from previous generations showing great skill have survived, as well as photos published in the Society of Ornamental Turners Bulletins #91.

If you want a tool to be the centre of all manner of tinkering and mending, or for exercise that is gentle and cheap, or for calling the mind off from anxiety or hard thinking, or for healthful and artistic creations, I know of no instrument to be compared to the Lathe. It is easily kept in order, and the results are so quick, so varied, and so beautiful, that you never get tired of it.

Reverend John Todd (1870)