It’s early days, but it is possible that a portrait of George Stebbing has surfaced. For those of you not in the know, I spent a couple of years immersed in George doing my undergraduate dissertation on him. Stebbing was a nautical instrument maker in Portsmouth in the early to mid Nineteenth Century, and in a typically Georgian/Victorian way he had connections with all kinds of important characters – Captain Matthew Flinders, Reverend James Inman ad Rear Admiral Sir Home Riggs Popham. He also played a central role in Portsmouth life, forming the Literary and Philosophical Society and being a senior member of local freemasonry. His son sailed on HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin.
Previously we had no idea what Stebbing looked like. There is reference in the Lit and Phil records to a self-portrait that George Exhibited in the early 1930’s, but there whereabouts of this have remained a mystery despite my continued digging. It’s tantalising to think that this might not only be a portrait of Stebbing, but also one by his own hand. Having a picture of him would really complete the ‘Stebbing Story’, as its so much easier to portray or visualise someone if you know what they looked like.
I have very few details other than that, but keep an eye out for more information as I get it.