which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Crich Families

Lucy Audubon née Bakewell

1788 – 1874

Lucy Green Bakewell lived for a few years in Crich, probably in the Mansion House according to the recollections of of Miss Mary Brown recorded in New York during 1902 when she was aged eighty-seven.

Lucy emigrated with her family to America where she married John James Audubon in 1808. Her husband went on to become of the worlds best illustrator of birds. Audubon’s great masterpiece was The Birds of America, published in London by R. Havell & Son, 1827-1838. This four-volume elephant folio set achieved Audubon’s goal that the birds should be shown life size, in action and in appropriate settings. The Birds of America was a popular and lucrative success, earning Audubon a place among the great American artists of the nineteenth century. There is hardly a library in any stately home in England which does not have a copy of Audubon's work.

Mary Brown's recollection:

A little farther on the street, and on the same side, is a house fronting on the street, with walks and shrubs on two sides. That was Mr. Saxton's house, and a building in the rear had been fixed with outside steps for a schoolroom, and an elder Miss Saxton taught for many years. That house had been the house of Mr Bakewell's family (our Mrs Audeben's parents). Miss Lucy Bakewell was about six years older than my mother, but she and her sisters were intimate with the family. Mr Bakewell's removal to America was a cause of grief to my mother and her sister, and Miss Lucy wrote letters to my mother for some years afterwards. When I was in my teens, living at Hollins, I often read these letters, written in New Jersey thirty years before. They seemed a sort of romantic story, and now I think Mrs. Lucy Audeben's whole life was a romantic story. Pity these letters were lost when we left England. I wish you could take a picture of that home of Miss Lucy Bakewell.

photo of Lucy Bakewell
Lucy Audubon (née Bakewell) 1788 – 1874
photo of John Audubon
John James Audubon 1785 – 1874

A brief history of Lucy entitled "Lucy Audubon née Bakewell: from a Derbyshire childhood at Crich" has been written by George Wiggleworth, who has given his permission for it to be included on this site.

Download the book

The 1826 John James Audubon, wrote an account of his journey to England and Scotland to arrange the publication of "The Birds of America."
In part of the journal he writes about his time at Bakewell (his wife's namesake) and Matlock.
Interestingly he recounts that it was in Matlock that Dr Charles Darwin bounced Lucy Bakewell on his knee.

audubon journal 202 audubon journal 203 audubon journal 204

With thanks to Prunella Bradshaw for the following transcripts

Daily Journal and Courier.
Lowell Mass. Tuesday. February 7. 1854
Mrs Lucy Audubon has presented to Congress a petition asking for the purchase of the original drawing of the work of her late husband on the birds of America

New York Daily Tribune.

Wednesday, June 24, 1874.
Funeral of Mrs Audubon
The funeral of the late Mrs. John James Audubon took place yesterday morning from the Church of the Intercession, One-hundred-and-fifty-eighth-st. and Eleventh-ave. The altar, reading-desk, and family pew of the Audubons were heavily draped in mourning, and the burial service of the Protestant Episcopal Church was read by the Rev. Mr. Peters of St. Michael's Church and the Rev. Dr. Abercrombie of New Jersey. The pall-bearers were G. B: Grinnell, J. A. Haven, E. De Peyster, Dr. Bodenstein, B. W. Van Yoorhis, Sheppard Knapp, jr., W. Burgoyne, and W. Duxley. A volunteer choir, under the leadership of Alfred Witmore, sang the hymn, "Asleep in Jesus," and "I know that my Redeemer liveth" was also rendered. Among those present were Messrs. Victor and John Audubon, sons of the deceased. Mrs, Levi Stockwell, George B. Grinnell, John Tournelle, Judge Newhaven, Wellington Clapp, Sheppard Knapp, jr., Martin Brock, and others. The floral tributes were numerous, and of all designs, the family of the deceased sending a bouquet of roses in a sheaf of corn. The remains of Mrs. Audubon arrived in New York on Monday, in charge of her grandchild. The body was left in the hearse in the church-yard, but a catafalque was raised in the center aisle of the church and covered with a pall and the floral tributes. After the services the body was interred in the family vault in Trinity Cemetery, where the remains of her husband were left in 1851. The vault is on the south side of the cemetery, and near the Hudson River, but no tombstone or inscription marks the place where the great naturalist was buried.
Mrs. Lucy Audubon died at the advanced age of 88 years at the residence of her sister-in-law, Mrs. William G. Bakewell, in Shelbyville, Ky. She was born in England and came to America with her father when not more than 12 years of age. In all the vicissitudes of her husband's life she was a patient and faithful sharer. With the publication of Audubon's great work, " The Birds of America " in 1828 fortune began to return. After several voyages to Europe, where they were received with great honors, they returned to America and settled finally, in 1833, on the Hudson. Here Audubon died, leaving his wife in the possession of the homestead, which was sold soon after his death for about $60,000. This property is in the neighborhood of One-hundred-and-fifty-sixth-st. and now known as Audubon Park.

Auburn Daily Bulletin
Thursday. July 2. 1874.
Mrs. Lucy Audubon, the widow of John James Audubon, the most distinguished of American ornithologists, died of old age at the residence of her sister-in-law, Mrs. William G. Bakewell in Shelbyville, Ky. on the 13th inst. Mrs. Audubon was born in England, and came to America with her father, Mr. Bakewell, when a small girl, not more than twelve years of age. The family settled on a farm on Perkiomen Creek, near the banks of the Schuylkill river, Pennsylvania. Audubon was born on a plantation in Louisiana, May 4, 1780, and died in New York, January 27, 1851. When a child he manifested the strongest disposition for the study of birds, he began of his own will to draw the birds, and, disclosing considerable talent as a draughtsman, he was taken by his father to France, there to be educated. When seventeen years of age, he returned to America, and having become possessed of a fine farm on the banks of the Schuylkill, in Pennsylvania, where the leisure of rural life allowed him abundant opportunity for prosecuting his predominant taste, it was his habit to hunt from the break of day till dark. While on one of these rambles in search of the numerous feathered tribe which appeared in his celebrated book, Audubon first met Miss Lucy Bakewell. He loved, wooed and won, and the union proved congenial and happy, farthermore the young woman soon manifested a disposition to encourage her husband in his researches as a naturalist, and rendered him invaluable assistance. But the great aid came not through immediate service in the pursuit of his studies. Audubon’s enthusiasm, which ultimately led him unconsciously to fortune, first led him to poverty, and then caused him to drag his amiable wife in the same unhappy condition. He spent his own fortune first, and then soon afterwards sacrificed that of his wife to the one object of his life. But filled with enthusiasm for his work, he had faith and courage. And in these particulars Mrs. Audubon suffered no disadvantage. For a number of years they made their home in Kentucky, the town of Henderson being their place of residence. A few years before the publication of his book, and while sojourning in New Orleans in search of specimens, he was reduced almost to penury. A dark hour seemed to be growing upon the hitherto happy couple, but in the time of need, with the same ease and familiarity with which he applied himself to all other projects, Audubon turned dancing-master, raised a school and carried on a successful business. In like manner, whenever necessity demanded, he turned his hands to different callings, and made sufficient means to keep out of debt. He became celebrated, and on this account his life was for years full of strongly contrasting scenes and incidents, such, for instance, as feasting abroad one day, with the most opulent of the land, receiving the most magnificent entertainment, and the next day surrounded by the circumstances of poverty at home. in all the vicissitudes of his life, his wife was a patient and faithful sharer. With the publication of Audubon's great work, “The Birds of America," in 1828, fortune began to return. After several voyages to Europe, where the couple were received with honor due to royalty, the couple returned to America, and settled, finally, in 1833, on Minnies Island, on the Hudson then near New York. Hero Audubon died, leaving his wife in possession of the homestead, which was sold soon after his death for about $60,000. The city of New York now embraces this property, which is known as Audubon Park, and is worth over $1,000,000. After her husband's death Mrs. Audubon returned to Kentucky to live, and took up her abode with her sister-in-law, at Shelbyville. Mrs. Audubon died at the age of eighty-eight years, in full possession of all her faculties. During her latter years she has written and published the life of her husband and the book is full of interesting and thrilling interest, and, it is said, will compare favorably with the several works written upon the same subject


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