CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

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CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

Postby MCB » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:32 am

Both he and his former master Alexander Johnston (Grimwade p.562-3) are mentioned in the 1773 Parliamentary Report at Old Jewry. Johnston was assessed to Land Tax on property there from 1757-1765 and Cruickshank from 1766-1772 suggesting the two traded together. By 1774 (the book for 1773 has not been traced) another tenant was assessed on the property.
No further information has been found for him.

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Re: CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

Postby dognose » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:44 am

Some detail taken from Quebec and Related Silver at The Detroit Institute of Arts by Ross Allan C. Fox

Robert Cruickshank was the foremost silversmith in Montreal in the second half of the eighteenth century and also one of that city's most prominent and wealthy citizens. He had an important hardware business as well as a large silver workshop an was one of the chief suppliers to the Northwest fur trade, the most important industry in Canada at that time. He furnished such important traders as McTavish, Frobisher & Co., James McGill, and the North West Company not only with prodigious quantities of Indian trade silver but also with items ranging from blankets to gunpowder. Eventually he himself became directly involved in the fur trade and was a shareholder in the North West Company. He was also active in the civic life of Montreal as a justice of the peace and a first warden of Christ Church, the Anglican Cathedral (Carrier, p.9).

Little is known of Cruickshank's background. He came from the British Isles and his name suggests that he was Scottish, yet the design and craftsmanship of his silver reflect an English training. He was in Montreal by 1774, when he signed a petition to the king from the English citizens of Montreal (Traquair, p.15), He formed an early partnership with Michael Arnoldi, silversmith, but this was dissolved on 1 November 1784 (GQ, 14 October 1784). On 14 August 1789, Cruickshank, a widower with a daughter, married Ann Kay, a widow, at Christ Church. (Her first husband, William Kay, a Montreal merchant trading through Detroit and Mackinac, died on 25 July 1787.) She died on 10 December 1790 (ANQM, RBMB, Christ Church de Montreal).

As was the custom of the time, Cruickshank engaged numerous apprentices, including Michael Roy in 1791 (FWR, notes of Louis Carrier), Frederick Delisle in 1795, René Blache in 1796, Peter Bohle in 1800, and Narcisse Auclair in 1805 (Traquair, p.16). Besides Indian trade silver, he produced quantities of domestic and ecclesiastical silver, the latter chiefly for Roman Catholic churches and convents. His silver is always of the highest quality, whether working with English of French designs. His reputation and commissions extended as far beyond the Montreal area as Detroit. In the fall of 1807 he voyaged to England and on his return passage died on board the Everetta on 16 April 1809 (GQ, 22 June 1809).

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Re: CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

Postby MCB » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:30 am

The difficulty with linking the Montreal silversmith to the one who trained in London under Alexander Johnston is Grimwade's comment on page 743 that the former was thought to have been born in 1748. This Robert Cruickshank would have been only 11 years of age in 1759 when the indentures were signed to be with Johnston in London. He would have been unusually young, the usual age for an apprenticeship to start being 14 years old.
Grimwade takes inference from the fact that the Montreal silversmith was thought to have been born in Aberdeen whereas Johnston's apprentice said he came from Aberbrothock (Arbroath). The two are 45 miles apart and, with respect to AGG, not an insurmountable problem for this distance to have been travelled between a Cruickshank birth and the signing of apprenticeship indentures.
The apparent departure of Robert Cruickshank from London around 1773 and the existence of one of the same name in Montreal in 1774 along with the comment that the work in Canada showed an English style is compelling but the name itself is not uncommon.
Should the year of birth of the Montreal silversmith be proved to have been not 1748 but 1745 circumstantially there is a link between the silversmith in London and the one in Canada but until then all seems rather tenuous.

Mike

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Re: CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

Postby dognose » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:55 pm

Some information that links the son of the Rev. George Cruickshank to the City of Montreal:

......A story of a different character is connected with the church of Kinnell, and is finely told by the late Miss Stirling-Graham of Duntrune, in her book 'Mystifications.' Mr. George Cruickshank, who had previously been first schoolmaster and then minister of Arbroath, became minister of Kinnell in 1748, and died there of asthma six years afterwards. He left three orphan children - two sons and a daughter. The children were taken care of by his domestic servant, Margaret Matthew, who, removing them from the pleasant manse of Kinnell to an attic in Marketgate of Arbroath, brought them up so well, and with such self-denial on her part, that the sons attained to honourable positions in the West Indies and Montreal respectively, and their sister married Mr. Haldane, a manufacturer in Haddington.

Source: Aberbrothock Illustrated - George Hay FSA Scot. - 1886

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Re: CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

Postby MCB » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:59 am

Websites have proved unhelpful in establishing Robert Cruickshanks' year of birth.
A review of the indentures signed in 1759 to be Alexander Johnston's apprentice shows Robert's father described as " The Reverend George Cruickshank late of Aberbrothock in the Shire of Forfar in North Britain Clerk deceased". For "Clerk" perhaps we should read "Cleric".
This, with the piece in the Aberbrothock Illustrated showing George had died around 1754 and one of his orphaned sons had made a success in Montreal, must outweigh Grimwade's suggestion that Robert was born in 1748.

Mike

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Re: CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

Postby dognose » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:59 am

Another snippet relating to the date of death of George Cruickshank:

.....Mr Murison was succeeded by George Cruickshank, translated from Arbroath, who, dying in 1754, had as his successor Alexander Chaplin, in whose time, in 1766, a new church was built.

Source: History of Arbroath - George Hay FSA Scot. - 1899

Francais

Re: CRUICKSHANK, Robert (Grimwade p.481, 743)

Postby Francais » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:27 pm

I ran across this thread researching another topic altogether. So I thought you might want to see a real piece of his Indian Trade silver. I say real, because most trade silver out there is fake.
Maurice
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