FREE FLOOR TALK
Benjamin Duterrau (1768–1851) and his Huguenot background in London
Benjamin Duterrau was born in Soho, the son of Benjamin Duterrau, and the elder brother of John Duterrau, watchmaker, who worked in partnership with Francis Perigal and obtained a royal patent from King George III in 1799. Benjamin’s great grandfather Ferdinand Duterrau came to London from Fribourg, Switzerland by 1709, when he stood godfather at the Huguenot L’Eglise des Grècs, Hog Lane, Soho. He worked as a tailor in Rose Street, Soho. By 1809 Duterrau and Perigal were at the fashionable address 62 New Bond Street. Benjamin’s first cousin John Francis inherited the firm of Perigal and Duterrau after Francis Perigal’s death in 1817. John Francis also enjoyed royal patronage from King George IV in 1820 and King William IV in 1830.
The Huguenot watchmaking community in London was established in the 16th century but grew in number and influence, playing a leading role in the formation of the Clockmakers’ Guild in the 1630s. As persecution of the Protestants in France gathered momentum during the reign of Louis XIV, hundreds of Huguenot watchmaking families left their regional city homes in Blois, Dieppe and Rouen for refuge abroad in Amsterdam, London and Geneva. Tessa Murdoch will place this London-based French community of craftsmen in an international context, illustrating the life and times of the Duterrau family and their Huguenot contemporaries.
Dr Tessa Murdoch FSA worked at the Museum of London 1981–1990 and at the V&A 1990–2021. Her recent publications are Europe Divided: Huguenot Refugee Art and Culture (V&A, 2021) and as consultant on Great Irish Households: Inventories from the long eighteenth century (John Adamson, 2022). For Bloomsbury, she is co-editing with Dr Heike Zech A Cultural History of Craft in the Age of Enlightenment for publication in 2024.
Tessa advises the National Trust and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, is a Board Member of the Idlewild Trust, and currently serves as Chair of the Trustees of the Huguenot Museum. She is a member of the Contemporary Craft Committee at the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. She also serves the Arts Council Acceptance in Lieu Panel.
This is a FREE EVENT and you are welcome to bring non-member friends.
Above: Noon (detail) From The Four Times of Day, William Hogarth, London, 1736–7, Oil on canvas, 76.8 x 63.2 cm. The Trustees of the Grimsthorpe and Drummond Castle Trust
Huguenots emerging from Sunday morning service in L’Eglise des Grècs, Hog Lane, Soho. Disorderly Londoners on the other side of the gutter contrast with the soberly dressed Huguenots who demonstrate mutual affection as they emerge from midday worship.