This picture gives an excellent insight into what a domestic interior appeared like two hundred years ago.
John Cragg was born in Horsham in 1765 and was educated at Christ’s Hospital. He began his apprenticeship at the age of fourteen to the clockmaker Charles Smith at his premises at Dove Court off Lombard St. London. Part of the premium of £21 was paid for by Christ’s Hospital School, perhaps William Wales who sailed with Isaac Smith on Cook’s second voyage and had become a teacher at the school arranged for the payment. Isaac Smith was the first European to set foot In Eastern Australia. Captain Cook had allegedly said to him “you go first Isaac.”
John Cragg was set free from the clockmakers company on the 5th May 1788. He had married Ursula Smith on 12th December the previous year; she was the sister to Rear-Admiral Isaac Smith. Ultimately John’s dedication to his vocation would see him become Horologist to the admiralty.
John and Ursula Cragg had eight children one of them also called Ursula died in infancy. The remaining children are shown in this family portrait. They were very close to Captain Cook’s widow Elizabeth and featured in her will. Ursula Cragg died relatively young at the age of 34, after the birth of her eighth child whom the family also named Ursula.
John Cragg died in 1839 in Croydon, Surrey.