Charles Anthony Vaughan was born on 19 January 1831 in Winchester. His father, Thomas Vaughan, had taken over the family’s coal merchant’s business, with premises at the Wharf, on the death of his father, also Thomas, in December 1819. The marriage of Thomas fils to Anne Teresa Cove at St Thomas's Church, Winchester on 21 May 1821 united two prominent Roman Catholic families in the city. Anne Teresa was the eldest daughter of John and Anna Cave. Their first seven children were christened at St Peter's Roman Catholic Chapel: Thomas Bernard (August 1822), Julia Gertrude (October 1824), Monica Maria (March 1827), Benedict John (December 1828), Charles Anthony (January 1831), Catherine Anastasia (November 1832) and Emily Blanche (May 1834).
Purchase of the well-established coal merchant's business built up by Andrew Jacob in October 1834, following the early death of the owner, brought the Vaughan family to Southampton. Although the Winchester business was retained, the family moved to 72 High Street where, in 1839, Thomas is described as a coal merchant and brewer. Four children were christened in St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church: Lewis Bede (December 1835), Mary Agnes (May 1838), Edward Gregory (March 1840) and Anne Teresa (August 1842).
Eighteen months after the move, Thomas was elected a guardian of the poor for Holy Rood parish. In March 1842 he announced his candidature for the elective regardership of the New Forest, vacant on the death of Nathaniel Hinves.
The family moved to Carlton Place in 1842. Here a dramatic transformation in their affairs took place. Described as a brewer in the 1843 Southampton directory, Thomas has become by 1845 'professor of singing, pianoforte and organ tuner'. An advertisement in The Post-Office directory of the Borough of Southampton for that year announces his periodical attendance in all parts of the county, including the Isle of Wight. 'Being honoured with the patronage of several of the most distinguished Families and first-rate professional Pianists of the day, (and with twenty-five years experience,) [he] confidently solicits the extension of favours.'
He continued to follow his new profession until his death, on 3 February 1855, at Carlton Place. The fact that probate - with effects of less than £20 - was not granted until twelve years after his death (19 February 1867) perhaps suggests that it was not a lucrative calling. Three of his daughters - Monica Maria, Julia Gertrude and Anne Teresa - became professional music teachers. His eldest son, (Thomas) Bernard, originally shared his father's calling as a teacher, being a tutor of French and Latin. In the 1850s he left the world of pedagogy to become a shipping clerk with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
The influences determining the career of Charles Anthony Vaughan came from the distaff side of the family. The Cave family were a pre-eminent force in the artistic life of eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Winchester as architectural craftsmen, internal decorators and painters. Their story is told by Barbara Carpenter Turner in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club, vol 22, pt 1, 1961, pp 30-4. Charles followed Cave family tradition by becoming a painter, heraldic craftsman and decorative artist, covering (to quote an 1862 advertisement) 'every description of house, ship, and yacht painting, decorating, plumbing, glazing, paperhanging etc.'
Head of the Winchester clan was William Cave senior (1737-1813). He was a freeman, bailiff and, from 1810, an alderman of the city. Three of his sons followed the calling: William junior (1760-1816), James (c.1772-1834) and John (1773-1840). Each of the three brothers became a freemen of Winchester, William being elected mayor in 1813: a rare honour for a Roman Catholic in the days before Catholic emancipation. William pere et fils had a monopoly of painting work in Winchester College, continued by their successors until 1824. The iconic mural, the Trusty Servant, was painted by the father in 1809.
A list of their other work (either singly or in partnership) includes: internal decoration of St Peter's Chapel (opened 1792 and one of the earliest examples of the Gothic revival in ecclesiastical architecture) and the parish church of St Swithun upon Kingsgate; repainting the tomb of William of Wykeham in the Cathedral (1796); decoration of Winchester Theatre in Jewry Street (opened 1785) and painting the scenery for a new theatre in Gosport (1797); redecoration of the Round Table in the Great Hall (1789); and restoration of the High Cross and the Westgate for Winchester Corporation. Two oval wall paintings for their house in the High Street still survive. James Cave is better known for his architectural drawings, especially those reproduced in John Milner's History of Winchester, first published in 1798 (volume 1) and 1801 (volume 2). He was an occasional exhibitor at the Royal Academy between 1801 and 1817. Little is recorded of the Winchester work of the youngest brother John, apart from the fact that he was a house painter living, from 1811, at 18 Southgate Street. His influence is probably more felt in Southampton.
A son, Thomas Cave (born in Winchester c.1801), appears in Southampton in the 1830s and early 1840s as a house painter, plumber and glazier of 69 High Street - three doors away from the Vaughan residence. He later became a prosperous lead, oil and colour merchant of 33 French Street. The subject of this sketch, Charles Vaughan, was John Cave's grandson.
The decorative work of Charles Vaughan, especially his wall paintings, are an echo of his Winchester forbears. He was responsible for landscapes on the walls of the Carlton Rooms in 1860. It is not clear whether these were painted directly on to the plaster or were painted in his studio and later affixed to the walls. Commissions in a similar vein followed. He provided wall paintings for the Christmas festivities in 1862 at Southampton Poorhouse. Mottoes such as 'If poor, yet happy - to be so kings oft sigh' were designed to offer spiritual comfort.
The redecoration of St Lawrence's Church in September 1870 was from his designs and under his superintendence. In January 1873 he painted the scenery for the amateur dramaticals laid on by the shipbuilder Charles Arthur Day at his residence, Terrace House, in the Polygon. He decorated the proscenium of the Royal York Music Hall in 1874 as part of improvements to the auditorium and stage. A major commission was the decoration of the Victoria Skating Rink for Jonas Nichols in February 1876. The covered roller skating rink was coloured in blue, mauve and chocolate. Paintings representing Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter adorned the walls. Opposite the entrance was a sketch taken from Punch depicting 'Old Father Christmas' being led out in October by a couple of young ladies to skate on the asphalt: a reminder that the Victoria rink was the largest covered area of asphalted flooring of any building in the country.
Much of the decoration of St Edmund's Roman Catholic Church, opened in the Avenue in 1889, was by Vaughan. This included representations of 'the Stations of the Cross' on the walls. He designed the altar for the church (as also for the temporary iron mission church built on the same site five years earlier). Outside the town, he was responsible for redecoration of the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph in Lymington High Street.
Charles Vaughan was an active member of St Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Bugle Street. Its priest-in-charge, Father Robert Mount, had officiated at his marriage in 1863 at St George's Cathedral, Southwark. He made a gift of a new altar to St Joseph's Church in December 1884. He was a member of the church choir for fifty years and was a regular contributor to the annual fund-raising concerts in aid of St Joseph's School in St Michael's Square.
In these he was joined by two other members of his musical family: his eldest brother Bernard and youngest sister Anne Teresa (or Annette as she appeared in the programmes). The musical partnership with his brother extended to more secular territory. At an amateur entertainment at the Carlton Rooms during Christmas 1861, in front of an audience of 1,000, Charles and Bernard sang to universal applause the duet 'The sailor sighs'.
They also formed one half of the 'Christy Minstrels'. In his younger days, Charles had performed at concerts of the West Quay Amateur Regatta Club, of which he was a member. A heavyweight rower, he held the club championship in the late 1850s/early 1860s. He also appeared in amateur dramaticals.
Charles Vaughan died on 21 February 1900, aged 69 years, at his house, 45 London Road. He had moved here from Carlton House in Carlton Place in the early 1870s, when it was part of Waterloo Place. He was buried in Southampton Cemetery after a funeral service in St Edmund's Church.
He lies in the same grave as his wife, Marion, who had died on 6 August 1895, aged 48 years. His effects were assessed at probate at £441. His business was continued as Vaughan & Co, builders and decorators of London Road, until World War One.
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