Object of the Month: Oil painting of James Fawcett

The man depicted in this oil painting was called James Fawcett. He was born in 1785 and became a police constable for Kirkland in 1820. He was a constable in the Kendal Borough Police force. He later became the Governor of the House of Correction in Kendal in 1824 and held that position until his death on 10th October 1835. On the night of his death, he was assisting his son and another constable in breaking up a fight. His death was a homicide – he was reportedly kicked or punched “a little above the navel, on the right side, and immediately in the region of the liver” (1) and passed away later that night from his injuries. He was 49 years old. His was the first police death in the course of duty in the Cumbria constabulary area.

The painting is currently on display at Kendal Museum.

(1)”Births, Deaths, Marriages and Obituaries.” Westmorland Gazette, 17 Oct. 1835, p. 3. British Library Newspapers, link.gale.com/apps/doc/IG3222855151/BNCN?u=cumbria&sid=bookmark-BNCN&xid=6071174c. Accessed 5 Jan. 2023.

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