TURNING to the back pages of the old Family Bible, I find that the story of my family begins under the shadow of St. Paul's. At the end of this worn-out and much-read Bible, where all the births, marriages and deaths of the Patmore family are recorded, the following event is noted down in the fine writing of the eighteenth century:
Maria Clarissa Stevens married Peter Patmore on the 21st August 1783 [her birthday] at St. Laurence Jury.
There is no record of Peter Patmore's parentage, although it is thought that the family originally came to London from a village of this name in Hertfordshire. His wife was the daughter of John Stevens and Maria Beackman. Maria Beackman was the sister of a German painter, some of whose work hangs in Hampton Court. Family tradition says that he had been a painter at the Court of Frederick the Great.
There is little record of their only son, Peter George Patmore's early life. His childhood appears to have been easy and untroubled. He grew up in a cultured and comfortable middle- class home, and as he was the only child, he was rather spoilt by his parents.
His mother, who was half-German and half-English, was an exceptional woman. She apparently possessed amazing energy, and she was keenly interested in the arts. She painted a little, and was an expert needlewoman. She dominated the lives of both her husband and her only son; and she lived for almost a century, witnessing in her lifetime the passing of the old order and the transformation of English life by the Industrial Revolution. Undoubtedly a woman of force and ambition, she saw her son make his entry into that exciting world of letters in