NORFOLK Museums Service
Object Handling

The Catton Collection

The Charles Catton Album

Introduction

Behind the scenes in a theatre with scene painterThanks to the generosity of the East Anglia Art Foundation, the Friends of Norwich Museums and the purchase grant office of the Victoria & Albert Museum Norwich Castle was able to acquire an important bound volume of 143 drawings of the late 1700s by Charles Catton Senior (1728-1798). The drawings have now found their way back to Norwich from their recent home in Alabama, USA.

The Catton collection presents a delightful series of vignettes of English social life, primarily from the 1780s, which amplify the interest of the existing collection, as do the natural history drawings and portrait studies.

Chillingham calfThis remarkable survival was offered to Norwich by the American owner in recognition of its close links with Catton’s native City. The owner also recognised the value of keeping the collection together, for the unique insight it provides into the life and interests of the artist. Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery is a highly appropriate home for the collection.

How you can help…

The drawings are here available on the web for your enjoyment. The collection still has to be researched, attributions to some of the drawings have yet to be confirmed and the sources of some of the images identified. If you have any evidence with respect to these we would be delighted to hear from you.

A Norwich name

Hairdressers curling woman's hair and powdering man'sThe name Catton has an early association with Norwich: Walter Catton, a Franciscan friar in Norwich, was a renowned author, philosopher and mathematician in the fourteenth century, while Richard Catton, a worsted weaver, is recorded freeman of the city in 1669. R.C. Fiske records, however, that Charles Catton’s family originated with another Charles Catton (1683-1736) who came to Norwich from Burrow’s Bridge in Yorkshire and is buried with his wife Ellen in Norwich Cathedral. His son Richard, a woolstapler who lived in the Cathedral precinct, died around 1767.

Read more