1846 large 92cmx77cm Portrait Drawing of Capt. Richard John Lechmere Coore (1823-1856) at 23 years.


Large and impressive charcoal and pastel on paper drawing, frame 77 cm by 92cm.

Richard John Lechmere Coore (1823-1856) was the third child and third son of  Frederick Richard Core and Isabella Blagrove. The Blagroves were wealthy plantation owners in Jamaica, while on Frederick's side, his mother was Anne Winthrop Lechmere. She was a descendant of Governor John Winthrop of Massachusetts Bay Colony, who arrived in the New World leading a band of Puritan settlers in 1630. The Lechmeres of Hanley Castle had arrived with William the Conquerer and remained a prominent family ever since. The families' histories show in microcosm the reliance of Europe, and particularly England, of the wealth to be obtained from the Atlantic slave trade and its products. Having studied that and other slave trades for decades, I realise that there is probably no person of African or European heritage alive who does not number in their ancestry both a slave and a slave owner. It may date back to the Roman Empire, the Vikings, Louisiana or colonial Queensland, but it will be there! Alas! Ancestry.com will not be able to differentiate between our slave and slave owner ancestors.

R.J.L. Coore was a lieutenant by purchase in 1847, and listed as a captain in 1852. The finely drawn portrait we have was probably the work of a family member. I do not know what cut his life so short, but one might guess he was a casualty of the Crimean War. Melbourne was founded when Richard was 12 years old.

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