Explore the Collection

Our collections comprise over 15,000 objects and include ceramics, paintings, books and works on paper, silverware, furniture and costume, and many others. The museum was established in 1898 but a number of key items in our collection pre-date this and have been on display inside John Wesley’s House ever since Wesley’s death in 1791.

Scroll to see examples of objects you can see during your visit.

  • Pocket watch
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    Metal, enamel, glass
    c.1740-80

    This splendid pocket watch belonged to Thomas Coke (1747-1814). Coke was close to John Wesley and became one of the first Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, in a controversial move. Coke later took an increasing interest in overseas mission. He died at sea on his way to fulfil his dream of a mission to India in 1814.

    The watch is very elaborately moulded and chased, in the manner of the mid 1700s. Probably, it was made from then fashionable 'Pinchbeck'. This metal alloy looks very much like gold, but is lighter and cheaper. The watch may have been an inherited piece, or possibly a wedding present.
  • Creamware plate
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    Ceramic
    Made by Wedgwood, c. 2000

    This commemorative Wedgwood plate features an image of Mary Bosanquet Fletcher (1739-1815). Mary was one of the first female Methodist preachers, and it was she who persuaded John Wesley to allow women to preach in public. Mary Bosanquet became one of the most popular female preachers of her day and was greatly revered by Methodists for her work. She was married to John Fletcher (1729-1785), the potential one-time Wesley successor who died six years before John Wesley.

    'Creamware' is a cream-coloured, fine earthenware with a lead glaze over a pale body. It was invented about 1750 by Staffordshire potters and was very fashionable c.1760-1790.
  • Stairs in John Wesley's House
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    Photograph
    c.1994

    The photo shows the stairs inside John Wesley's House prior to refurbishment in the 1990s. The stairs are made of pine, in John Wesley's day referred to as 'deal', and a number of decorative schemes can be made out.

    The light brown stripped pine finish of the stairs dates to the 1930s. At that time all paintwork in the house was removed, in the (mistaken) belief that woodwork was left unpainted in the 1700s. The narrow central 'band' in dark brown is painted however and would seem to be earlier. It is probably a painted stair 'runner', dating to the mid 1800s.

    According to the 1779 building plans of John Wesley's House, the staircase was painted five times in French grey. Likely, there wouldn't have been a carpet but a 'drugget', a cloth painted to look like a stair runner.
  • Portrait of John Wesley (1703-1791)
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    Oil on paper
    Painted by Robert J. Westley, 1927

    An unusual early-20th century portrait of John Wesley. Most John Wesley portraits show Wesley looking to the right; this close-up picture shows him looking left.

    Nothing is known of the artist.

    1993/1619
  • Bust of Donald Oliver Soper, Baron of Kingsway
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    Metal, wooden plinth
    Sculpture by Ian Homer Walters (1930–2006), 1998

    This bust was sculpted to commemorate the life of Donald Oliver Soper, Baron of Kingsway (1903–1998). Soper was a Methodist minister, pacifist and socialist, who was known for his powerful preaching and wit.

    Ian Homer Walters (1930-2006) was a committed socialist who taught sculpture at Stourbridge College of Art and later at Guildford School of Art. He took part in Josip Broz Tito's public sculpture programmes in Yugoslavia in the 1960s and in the 1970s worked with the African National Congress.

    See also Soper's portable preaching stand and the cartoon of Soper preaching in the Online Collection.
  • Portrait bust of John Wesley
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    Parianware (ceramic)
    Probably by John Adams & Co, c.1870-1900, after L.F. Roubiliac

    This bust of Wesley is based on a marble bust modelled by Louis-François Roubiliac (1702-1762), a talented French sculptor who worked in London in the mid -18th century. The original is thought to have been worked around 1750-60, and Wesley is notably younger in this portrayal than in Enoch Wood's bust of 1781.

    Wesley was an admirer of Roubiliac's work, referring to the artist's monument of Lady Elizabeth and Joseph Nightingale in Westminster Abbey as the finest in the Abbey, 'as if the marble could speak'.

    See also Enoch Wood's bust of John Wesley in the online Collection.
  • John Wesley's Study
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    Postcard on paper
    c.1935

    A mid-century postcard view of John Wesley's Study, probably just before World War II. Compare with the other images of Wesley's Study in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley (1703-1791)
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    Oil on glass panel
    Unidentified artist, late 19th century?

    A profile view of Wesley painted in the naïve tradition and on glass. Compare also to Collection works 1999/1583 and 1999/1484 painted in a similar manner.

    1993/1621
  • Loving Cup
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    Ceramic
    c.1830-70

    A typical example of a two-handled 'love feast' or loving cup, the cup used during Methodist love feast services. It is very simple, decorated in a one-colour transfer print and featuring the words 'Wesley Chapel'. The wording (although grammatically not quite correct) would have made it relevant and usable in any Methodist Chapel.

    See also the other 'love feast' or loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • Miss Sarah Moore of Antigua
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    Engraving on paper
    1815

    Methodism came to Antigua through the plantation owner Rev. Nathaniel Gilbert (1736-1774), who baptized his slaves and established the first Methodist meeting house on the island.

    Gilbert's legacy lived on, and Antigua became one of the first places where women, many of whom freed slaves and black or mixed race, became central to the early development of Methodism. They preached, campaigned actively for the abolition of slavery and helped manage the finances of the local Methodist society. Sarah Moore was one of them although, sadly, little more is known of her life.
  • John Wesley's Bedroom
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    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1900

    An early postcard view of John Wesley's bedroom, with his bureau bookcase to the right.

    Compare also to the other views of Wesley's bedroom in the Online Collection to see how the displays changed over the years.
  • Coffin shaving
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    Wood
    Probably 18th century

    Wesley was revered greatly by his followers. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that Wesley commemorative ware - or Wesleyana - was very popular, even before Wesley passed away. According to the Victorian envelope in which it was kept, this small wooden fragment was taken from Wesley's coffin.
  • A Collection Of Hymns, For The Use Of The People Called Methodists
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    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1846

    The 'Collection of Hymns' was first published by John Wesley in 1780 and contained over 1000 hymns, written mostly by his brother Charles. The hymnal drew on the many other hymn books John and Charles Wesley had published over the previous decades and became the most influential hymn book in the history and development of Methodism.

    The 'Collection' went through many editions, and it was the ancestor and basis of all subsequent official Connexional hymn books, including today's 'Singing the Faith'.

    Compare also to the first edition of the hymn book in the Online Collection.
  • Horn pipe
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    Horn, silver, metal
    c. 1810-30

    This pipe is made from animal horn. It belonged to the Reverend Barnabas Shaw (1788-1857), first official Wesleyan missionary in Africa.

    In 1816, the Rev Barnabas Shaw and his wife established the first Methodist mission station at Leliefontein, Namaqualand. Shaw was instrumental in establishing Methodist Societies in and around Cape Town, South Africa. Later, his initiative helped Methodism expand all along the eastern Cape coastline.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Robert Carr Brackenbury, 1783
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    Ink on paper
    4th January 1783

    A short letter written by John Wesley to his friend and protegee, Robert Carr Brackenbury (1752-1818) in Jersey.

    Brackenbury was much younger than Wesley and came from a well-to-do and influential family. Unusually for a man of his background, he decided to join the Methodist cause and built his first Chapel above the stables of his newly-constructed mansion in Lincolnshire in 1779. A a preacher and Chapel builder, he was never ordained but was befriended, trusted and held in high regard by Wesley.

    This 1782 letter makes clear Brackenbury had just arrived in St Hellier on Jersey to serve as a preacher. Apparently the new preaching house was small, but Wesley was encouraging, writing: 'Hitherto is the day of small things'.
  • Frontispice , 'The Complete English Dictionary, Explaining most of those Hard Words used by the Best English Writers.'
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    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    Printed by W. Strahan, 1753

    Not everyone is aware that John Wesley published an English Dictionary, two years before Dr Samuel Johnson published the first edition of his dictionary in 1755. Wesley's dictionary was successful and was re-issued in a revised version in 1764.
  • Susanna Wesley - Mother of the Revd John Wesley
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    Engraving on paper
    Published by John Willey, Fleet Street, London, 1863

    Susanna Wesley (née Annesley; 1669 – 1742) was the daughter of Dr Samuel Annesley, a prominent Puritan and nonconformist pastor. Susanna married Samuel Wesley in 1688 and ultimately became the mother of nineteen children, of whom ten survived infancy, including John and Charles Wesley.

    As mother to John and Charles, particularly for the teachings and principles she instilled in her sons and all her children, she is often referred to as the 'Mother of Methodism'.
  • Vertebra preacher
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    Bone, painted
    c.1750-1830

    This curious object is made from the bone vertebra of a cow, oxen, or horse. It depicts a preaching clergymen, possibly John Wesley, and is a piece of folk art.

    Although unusual, this piece is not unique. There are three similar vertebra preacher statuettes in the Collection at Wesley's Chapel, and occasionally one comes across them in museums and private collections. The material, colouring and the bone 'wings' at the back make these small statues appear rather sombre.

    The original purpose of these preacher vertebrae is unclear. They may have been purely decorative, but it is possible that the material and pose of the preacher may have been intended as a reminder to lead a virtuous life.
  • Grace Murray (?) in Old Age
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    Oil on canvas
    Possibly by John Jackson (1778–1831), 19th century

    Grace Murray has been described by some as John Wesley's one true love; and he intended to marry her.

    Born in Newcastle, Grace converted to Methodism in 1739. She became a member of the Foundery Society in London but returned to Newcastle after the death of her husband in 1742. There, she became a class leader and John Wesley appointed her housekeeper of the Methodist Orphan House.

    Wesley was further acquainted with Grace during several visits to Newcastle and told her ‘If ever I marry, I think you will be the person!’. Shortly after during the summer of 1749, she accompanied Wesley on one of his preaching tours in Ireland, a move which was regarded as the prelude to marriage. However, Grace had another admirer who had proposed marriage and of whom she was fond also, a Mr Bennett, one of Wesley's preachers. Wesley procrastinated over the betrothal and asked his brother Charles for advice. Alarmed, Charles Wesley interfered and persuaded Grace to marry Bennett instead.

    Wesley never fully forgave his brother or Bennett and wrote to the latter: ‘I left with you my dearest friend, one I loved above all on earth, and fully designed for my wife. To this woman you proposed marriage, without either my knowledge or consent...'

    Grace went on to have five children by Bennett. John, possibly on the rebound, contracted an unsuitable and unsuccessful marriage to 'Molly' Vazeille in 1751.
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1767
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    Ink on paper
    6th October 1767

    A letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817) in Yarm, North Yorkshire.

    Like most of the other letters written by Wesley to Merryweather in the museum's collection, this one also hints at problems with the Society (circuit) at Yarm. It would appear two preachers wanted to change places, and Merryweather was embroiled in the conflict. Wesley advised: "Get out of the fire as soon as you can".

    Interestingly, Wesley opens the letter with a reference to "Mr Whitefield" who at "length meets me halfway". He may be referring to George Whitefield (1714-1770), fellow Holy Club member at Oxford but now leader of the Calvinist arm of Methodism opposed to Wesley's doctrines.

    See also the other letters written by John Wesley to George Merryweather in the Online Collection.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Robert Carr Brackenbury, 1790
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    Ink on paper
    24th February 1790

    A letter written by John Wesley to preacher and friend Robert Carr Brackenbury (1752-1818) in 1790. The letter illustrates how Wesley's hand writing deteriorated as he got older. Wesley found it increasingly hard to see, and sometimes he now dictated letters instead.

    The spidery hand writing is hard to make out. Wesley is referring repeatedly to a bailiff who has changed his mind about an issue relating to a 'present storm'.

    See also John Wesley's letter of 1783 to Brackenbury in the Online Collection.
  • Reverend Samuel Bradburn
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    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, early 19th century

    Samuel Bradburn (1751–1816), was a Methodist preacher, an associate of John Wesley, and a follower of John Fletcher of Madeley. According to those who heard him preach, he was an extraordinary orator, perhaps one of the greatest preachers of his day. He became President of the Methodist Conference in 1799.

    1993/1628
  • Commemorative plaque
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    Ceramic
    late 18th/early 19th century

    Commemorative plaques and other memorial items were produced in large quantities following John Wesley's death. This plaque is particularly interesting because the transfer-printed image is based on a miniature painting of Wesley on ivory, also in the museum' Collection.

    Transfer printing is a technique of decorating porcelain or pottery using an engraved copper or steel plate from which a print on paper is taken. This is then transferred by pressing onto the ceramic object.
  • Portrait of George Whitefield
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    Oil on canvas
    Painted by David Martin (1737-1797), c 1770

    Born in 1714, the seventh child of Thomas and Elizabeth Whitefield, George Whitefield was left with a squint by a bout of childhood measles. This resulted in a nickname, 'Dr Squintum', among those who didn't like Whitefield in later life. Whitefield's squint is very pronounced in this painting.

    At Oxford Whitefield met the Wesleys and became a member of the 'Holy Club', the fledgling evangelical group which preceded Methodism. Whitefield was an instant success as an evangelist and orator, and it was he who persuaded John Wesley to preach out of doors. Over the following thirty years, Whitefield's 'field preaching' attracted huge crowds in England, Scotland and the Americas, where he sailed seven times.

    As time went by, Whitefield increasingly followed Calvinist doctrine, which brought him into collision course with the Wesleys, who argued against Calvinist views that grace and salvation were only for the few. Eventually, in the 1770s, Methodism divided into Wesleyan (Arminian) and Calvinistic branches.

    See also 2001/8263 in the Collection for further information on the relationship between the Wesleys and Whitefield.

    2011/12897
  • Pulpit
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    Oak and pine, partially painted
    early 18th century

    This pulpit was used by John Wesley at his original London headquarters, the ’Foundery’, originally a government cannon factory which stood close to today’s Wesley’s Chapel. Made from pine and oak it is much simpler than the elegant mahogany pulpit which was given to the ‘New Chapel’ shortly after opening in 1778.
  • Portrait of Adam Clarke
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    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, Early 19th century

    Adam Clarke (1762 – 1832) was a British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar. He came to the attention of Wesley in 1778, who invited Clarke to become a pupil in the Methodist school established lately at Kingswood near Bristol. In 1779, Clarke converted to Methodism and became a preacher and theologian of great ability. Unusually, Clarke became President of the Methodist Conference three times, in 1806, 1814 and 1822.
    1992/497
  • Ink pot
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    Glass
    c.1790-1810

    This little ink pot is one of two and belonged to Thomas Coke (1747-1814). They were contained in his travelling writing desk or slope, an image of which is also in the Online Collection.

    The writing implement, at this time either a quill or an early metal-nibbed pen, would have been dipped into the ink pot every few seconds when writing. A writer of many letters and much other material, the ink pot is a potent symbol of Coke's work.
  • Bust of Bishop Sundo Kim
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    Marble, on wooden plinth
    Unidentified artist, c.2013

    Bishop Sundo Kim (b.1930) is the founding pastor of Kwanglin Methodist Church in Seoul, Korea. The Church has 94,000 members and is the largest Methodist Church in the world. Bishop Kim and his congregation have established global mission centres and seminaries in Moscow, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and China, amongst other countries.

    In 2011, a grant from Kwanglim Methodist Church started the fundraising process for refurbishing the Museum of Methodism at Wesley's Chapel, City Road.
  • John Wesley's monument
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    Engraving on paper
    Published in George J. Stephenson's 'City Road Chapel, London and its associations: historical, biographical and memorial', 1872

    An early view of John Wesley's grave and monument in the grounds of Wesley's Chapel, City Road, where he was laid to rest on 9th March 1791.

    Wesley was the 843rd person to be buried in the Chapel grounds and his epitaph was written by his fellow preacher and friend, Adam Clarke. Wesley's sister Martha, his biographer and six other preachers also share his crypt.
  • Portrait of John Wesley
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    Oil on canvas
    after Thomas Horsley, late 1780s

    In the background is the chapel Wesley built on City Road as it appeared when first built, with its original windows and smaller entrance portico.
  • Note from John Wesley to Miss Nancy Ford
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    Ink on paper
    Not dated

    This undated note to a lady friend - likely to date around 1780 - makes clear that John Wesley owned a carriage. He regrets not to be able to take Miss Nancy Ford to Bow, as 'My Chaise is gone to be painted. It will take a week or two to dry.'
  • Loving cup
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    Ceramic, printed
    Made by Chown China, c.2010

    A recent example of a loving or 'love feast' cup featuring Wesley's Chapel, intended as commemorative ware.

    For further information about the 'love feast' and the use of loving cups, see also the other loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • Samuel Wesley
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    Oil on canvas
    by John Jackson R.A. (1778-1831)

    Samuel Wesley (1766-1837) was the son of John Wesley’s brother Charles. He was a child prodigy and, like his father, became a well-known composer and organist.
  • Collection box
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    Bakelite
    c.1950

    This novelty Missionary Society collecting box in the form of a globe dates to around 1950. It was used in churches but also in a non-church context to collect money for mission projects.

    The Methodist Missionary Society was formed in 1932 out of many smaller missionary societies. The globe shape of the box illustrated that the Society operated world-wide - in Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.
  • Membership tickets
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    Paper, printed
    c.1800-1960

    The membership ticket or 'class ticket' system is specifically Methodist. Class tickets originate in the 1700s, when the Methodist Church was a religious society and still within the Church of England. Members belonged to 'classes' within local Methodist societies, and every member received a ticket at least once a year.

    Membership is an important milestone in becoming a Methodist, and membership tickets are still issued on a regular basis.

    This selection dates between 1812 and 1963. The museum's earliest ticket was issued in 1771.
  • Commemorative Teapot
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    Printed ceramic
    c.1867

    A 19th century Wesleyan Methodist commemorative teapot celebrating the opening of Ossett Wesleyan Chapel. The teapot is typical of the kind of commemorative ware produced at the time.

    The Wesleyan Chapel on Wesley Street in Ossett was built between 1866-68. It was unusually elaborate for a local chapel and said to be the third largest Methodist chapel in England. It was demolished in 1961.
  • Pagoda
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    Metal, silver plated
    c. 1920s

    This silver plate pagoda was a retirement present. It was given by the missionaries of the United Methodist Church in China to the Rev. J.E. Swallow in 1926. Little is known about him; he was one of many hundreds of Methodist missionaries who worked in China in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Extract from Charles Wesley's diary
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    Ink on paper
    May - August 1769

    An extract from Charles Wesley's diary for the summer of 1769. In it, he discusses the musical achievements of his 11 year old son, Charles junior (1757-1834).

    On Wed, July 3rd, he writes: 'Mr K... gave him his 104th Lesson (sic); which makes a year compleat (sic). No other, he assured me, could have learned so much in many years.' Charles Wesley jun. was noted as a child prodigy and became a composer and organist.

    Like his brother John, Charles Wesley sen. wrote his diary in code. The entries here are written out in plain English and relate to his son and music. They are extracts from his coded dairy, written in his hand.
  • Building work
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    Photograph
    c. 1955-60

    The area around Wesley's Chapel was bombed heavily during WWII, 1939-45. It took years to clear and repair the damaged buildings. This photograph shows the site next to the Chapel and John Wesley's House (visible from the side in the image) being redeveloped.
  • Jeremiah, the Mediator of God
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    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley statuette
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    Glazed ceramic
    Probably Staffordshire potteries, early/mid 19th century

    A 19th century statuette of John Wesley preaching. Small and cheap to produce, it would have been widely available.
  • Short Hymns on Select Passages of the Holy Scriptures, Vol II
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    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    By Charles Wesley, 1762

    This two volume hymnal was published in Bristol in 1762, following a period during which Charles Wesley suffered ill health. This may account for the reflective tone of a lot of the hymns.

    Often, they relate to a theme suggested by the biblical passages Charles Wesley read, and usually they have some sort of relevance to contemporaneous Methodist concerns. The preface makes clear that many of the hymns deal with debates about Christian Perfection, central to mid 18th century Methodism.

    John Wesley's collection of books included volumes I and II, and both volumes are still in the Collection.
  • The Mischief of Methodism
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    Etching on paper, hand-coloured.
    Drawn by George Moutard Woodward (1760–1809), published by Thomas Tegg, London, 1811

    This satirical etching was first published in Thomas Rowlandson’s popular Caricature Magazine, or 'Hudabristic Mirror'. The magazine observed and poked fun at the eccentricities of Georgian society.

    The print satirizes two stereotypical preachers: a slender Methodist - somewhat reminiscent of a young John Wesley - whose popularity in the pulpit causes the listeners at his chapel to neglect their daily obligations. The other, a rotund Anglican parish priest whose sermons are uninspiring and attract no attention or following at all.
  • View of Epworth Rectory
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    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, 1905

    Epworth Rectory in Epworth, Lincolnshire, was John Wesley's childhood home. Originally a large thatched building dating to at least the 1600s, the building burnt down in a catastrophic fire in 1709. This almost cost John's life, but his near miraculous escape convinced his mother Susanna that her son was the biblical 'brand pluck'd from the burning' and destined for great things.

    The new rectory was expensive, largely because it was built from brick, which was still unusual in this area at that time. In fact, the cost was almost ruinous for John's father, the Rev. Samuel Wesley (1662-1735), who had notorious money problems and once was thrown into debtors' prison for insolvency.

    In December 1716 the house became the backdrop to one of the best-known 18th century poltergeist claims, the 'Wesley poltergeist'. The house is said to have been plagued by mysterious knockings and loud noises, heard and attested by all the Wesley family (bar the eldest sons, who were studying in London). The haunting was assumed to be a ghost the eldest Wesley daughter Hetty nicknamed "Old Jeffrey". The occurrences ceased as quickly and mysteriously as they started, at the end of January 1717.

    1993/1485
  • Busts of John Wesley
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    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, late 18th and early 19th centuries

    The model on which all three busts are based was modelled in 1784 when Wesley sat for sculptor Enoch Wood, a member of a famous family of Staffordshire potters. The original was made from basaltware, an unglazed ceramic which enabled Wood to portray Wesley with much realism. The museum owns many Wesley busts; these are some of the most realistic.
  • Thomas Coke Ditty
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    Ink on paper
    Short song composed by Charles Wesley on Coke's consecration of Francis Asbury as superintendent or bishop, mid 1780s

    "On C. consecrating Asbury

    A Roman Emperor, tis said
    His favrite (sic) horse a consort made:
    But C. brings stranger things to pass,
    And makes a Bishop of his - Ass!"

    This ditty hints at a major late 18th century crisis between Methodism and the Anglican Church in England.

    When John Wesley sought the ordination of some of his followers whom he wished to send to the American colonies in 1784, the Bishop of London refused. Frustrated, Wesley decided to ordain the men for the work himself and sent Thomas Coke as superintendent of the colonies to America. John's brother Charles was furious that John had performed the ordinations without the Church of England's authority, arguing that such action was tantamount to breaking with the Church. The rift and Charles's scorn became greater when Thomas Coke proceeded to ordain Francis Asbury as fellow superintendent, or bishop, of the Americas at the 1784 Baltimore Christmas conference of Methodist preachers.

    The ordination signalled the formal breakaway of the American Methodists from the Church of England.
  • Apse windows
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    Photograph
    1978

    Two of the three stained glass apse windows in a close-up photograph during restoration works in 1978. The windows were installed in the 1890s, and this was the first time they were cleaned and conserved. The image also shows the architectural mosaic and plaster detail in the apse.

    In Christian churches, the apse is often a semi-circular recess, usually where the altar is placed. Normally, it faces east.
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1766
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    Ink on paper
    8th February 1766

    A letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817) in Yarm, North Yorkshire.

    Wesley knew the Merryweathers well and had enjoyed their friendship for many years. Perhaps this explains his familiar but somewhat authoritarian tone. Wesley suggests Merryweather may be covering for another preacher at Yarm who "is grown faint" and admonishes him: "Let not regard for any man induce you, to betray the faith of God". Wesley was concerned that the failing preacher would adversely affect Yarm Society (or circuit): "Where Xtian (sic) Perfection is not strictly & explicitly preached, there is seldom any remarkable Blessing from God, & consequently, little addition to ye Society."

    Wesley was certainly forthright with his preachers, and with his family and friends.

    See also the other letters from John Wesley to George Merryweather in the Online Collection.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Samuel Bradburn
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    Ink on paper
    26th February 1780

    In this short and personal letter, John Wesley addresses 'Sammy', or Samuel Bradburn (1751-1816). Bradburn was a Methodist itinerant preacher and friend of Wesley who became one of the greatest and physically most commanding orators of his day.

    Wesley congratulates Bradburn on acting wisely in a matter of personal conflict and tells him of his travel plans to Ireland that year (Wesley was 77 years old).
  • Vase
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    Ceramic, decorated and glazed
    c. 2010

    This vase commemorates a recent visit to Wesley’s Chapel by a Methodist group from Korea, where Methodism is particularly strong.

    The vase is decorated with two birds (possibly cranes) in flight and the famous Bible quotation connected to John Wesley, ‘Is this not a brand plucked from the Fire’ (Zachariah, 3:2.).
  • Portrait of Mrs Atmore
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    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, Early 19th century

    Mrs Atmore was the wife of Charles Atmore (1759 - 1826). He was an associate of John Wesley and after Wesley's death, Atmore took a leading part and contributed to the consolidation of the Wesleyan Methodist church. Atmore became President of Conference in 1811-12.
    1992/423
  • John Wesley's Study
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    Postcard on paper
    c. 1935-50

    A postcard view of John Wesley's study or living room as it looked after major refurbishment in the 1930s. By this time, the house was increasingly presented as a historic house, and as it might have looked while Wesley was alive. It is possible that this picture was taken just after the outbreak of WWII, around 1940, to record the interior of the house in case of bomb damage.

    Compare also to the Online Collection postcards of Wesley's Study dating earlier and later.
  • The Visit of the Rev. John Wesley A.M. to his Mother's Grave A.D.1779
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    Aquatint on paper
    By G.Hunt (active 1824-1831) after W. Lee, c.1825-30

    The subject of this aquatint is somewhat fanciful. John Wesley is depicted standing by his mother's grave in Bunhill Fields. The date given is 1779, the year Wesley moved opposite Bunhill Fields into his new house and the newly-opened New Chapel (today's Wesley's Chapel).

    Susanna Wesley's original tombstone is accurately depicted, with the epitaph written by Charles Wesley. The stone was later replaced with a different, more factual, epitaph.

    John Wesley's academic title is given as 'A.M.' in Latin for 'atrium magister'; today, the title would be 'M.A.' (Master of Arts).
  • Gold ring
    read more →
    Metal
    1800s

    This ring was made from gold dust given by the king of the Ashanti to the missionary Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman during an exchange of gifts in 1841. The king permitted the establishment of the first mission post in the Ashanti capital, Kumasi, and later granted land for a second mission.

    Thomas Birch Freeman (1809-1890) set up schools and agricultural projects in Africa and promoted the anti-slavery cause. Birch Freeman was the son of an African father and an English mother.

    1992/20
  • Scripture card dispenser or entertainment
    read more →
    Ink on paper, metal container
    c. 1800

    An interesting early religious entertainment or 'game' consisting of hand-written Bible scripture cards in a box. It is likely the idea was to pick one card, reflect on the nature of the verse and to apply this to daily life. Because of the perishable nature of paper and ink, such home-made entertainments are a rare survival.
  • Wesley's Chapel Interior
    read more →
    Graphite and watercolour wash on paper.
    Unidentified artist, ca. 1800

    An early interior view of John Wesley's 'New Chapel', today's Wesley's Chapel. It shows the Chapel much as it looked during Wesley's day, without stained glass.

    Originally, the pulpit had three levels, which were intended to reflect the importance of the readings delivered there. The top tier was reserved for the delivery of the sermon. The Chapel's pulpit was cut down in the 1860s.
  • Cartoon
    read more →
    Ink on paper, gouache
    circa late 1970s

    A cartoon depicting the Reverend Donald Oliver, Baron Soper (1903-1988) and entitled 'Humble Tribute to a Remarkable Ministry'.

    Soper is depicted in his preaching stand at London's Speaker's Corner at Hyde Park, where he could be heard preaching regularly for many years.

    For further information, see also Soper's metal preaching stand in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley jug
    read more →
    Ceramic
    c.1839

    This commemorative Wesley jug celebrates the one-hundredth anniversary of the first Wesleyan Methodist society founded in 1739. The jug was decorated in 'lustreware', a type of pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze.

    Lustreware is produced by metallic oxides in an overglaze finish; the technique is an ancient one, much used in middle eastern pottery.

    Compare also to the commemorative lusterware mug in the online Collection, which features the same decoration.
  • Model of a traditional Fijian boat or 'drua'
    read more →
    Wood
    c.1900

    Wesleyan Methodist missionaries started work in Tonga, Fiji, in 1835 and by the late 19th century had converted most Fijians to Christianity.

    This artefacts marries old traditions with new. Drua boats, also known as Waqa Tabu ("sacred canoe"), were large, traditional, double-hull sailing boats in use in Fiji at the time Christianity arrived. At that time, their main role was as war ships. This boat model has its sail painted with a cross, as a symbol of the peaceful conversion and nature of the Fijians.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Mr Cricket
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of two, 10th February 1783

    A letter written by John Wesley to one of his preachers in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1783.

    The letter contains advice how to inject vigour into the Londonderry Circuit and admonishes the recipient to show leadership. Wesley compares it to Barnard Castle:" Many years ago, the Society at Barnardcastle (sic), as large as that at Derry, was remarkably dead. (…) advised them to keep a day of Fasting and Prayers (&) a flame broke out & spread thro'ut ye Circuit.."

    The letter goes to show that not all areas took to Methodism straightaway. Structure to the worship or 'method' was an important aspect, but preachers also needed to be leaders, with a strong guiding hand.
  • John Wesley's House prior refurbishment
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1990

    A photograph of John Wesley's Study just before refurbishment works in the early 1990s. Although historically inaccurate, the wood panelling in the house was stripped off many layers of paint in the 1930s and can be seen here in its bare state. The panelling and doors were later repainted in an off-white colour.

    In front of the window stands John Wesley's reading or 'cockfighting' chair. For further information, please refer to the Online Collection.
  • War club
    read more →
    Hardwood, carved
    1800s

    This rather savage looking object is a typical traditional Fijian war club.

    War clubs were used by the indigenous Fijian population in conflicts. This one was presented to the Reverend James Calvert and his wife, a Wesleyan missionary couple in Fiji. It was given to them in the 1850s by the most powerful Fijian Chief of the day, Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau (c.1815 – 1883), following his conversion to Methodism.
  • Memorandum of Agreement
    read more →
    Ink on vellum
    First page of six, 8th November 1890

    This memorandum of agreement between the Wesley Chapel Trust and the Wilson Street Trustees repurposes John Wesley's House.

    The decision to repurpose John Wesley's House was made possible by three things. Firstly, a larger and more convenient ministers' manse built on the other side of the entrance to the Wesley's Chapel site. Secondly, the removal of a second minister on site, referred to as the 'Great North Road Minister' (who, at the time, lived in John Wesley's House). And finally, financial assistance from the Wilson Street Trustees.

    Originally, only Wesley's rooms on the first floor were to become a museum. Later, the whole house was given over to this purpose.

    For the full document, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.
  • Epworth Old Rectory timber
    read more →
    Probably oak,
    possibly 17th century

    A piece of wood from the "burnt Rectory House at Epworth, when little John Wesley was rescued from death", according to the late-19h century label attached. The fire took place on the night of February 9th, 1709 and John was the last person to be rescued from the house.

    See also the engraving of the rectory fire after Henry Perlee Parker in the online Collection, "The Epworth Rectory on Fire and the Rescue of John Wesley, Aged 6".
  • Paul at the Gate of the Temple Easing the Suffering
    read more →
    Oil on panel (oak)
    School of Godfried Schalcken, likely 1600s

    The title of the portrait would imply a passage in the Bible. However, it has not been possible to identify this, so it is possible that the painting was an imaginary composition.

    The scene is painted in the style of the Dutch Old Masters. It is similar to work by Godfried Schalcken (or Gottfried Schalken),1643 –1706. Schalcken was a Dutch portrait and genre painter. Schalcken's work was very detailed and finely painted, and he was particularly celebrated for reproducing candlelight.

    See also the painting of 'The Holy Family' in the Online Collection, likely painted by the same artist.

    1993/1482
  • Cream jug
    read more →
    Ceramic, printed
    c.1955-70

    A cream jug featuring an illustration of the staircase at Epworth Rectory, John Wesley's childhood home. The Rectory was acquired by the British Methodist Church with assistance from the World Methodist Council in 1954 and opened as a museum and guest house in 1957. The jug was probably produced shortly after, as a commemorative piece or memento.
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Robert Hunter (c.1715/1720–c.1803), 1765

    John Wesley (1703-1791) was an Anglican clergyman who became one of the founders of Methodism. When this portrait was painted in 1765, Wesley was sixty-two years old, older than the painting would suggest.

    Robert Hunter (fl. 1748–1780) was a portrait-painter and a native of Ulster. He had a painting studio of considerable size in Dublin in the middle of the eighteenth century. The tonality of his works was influenced by the colouring of old master paintings and he is said to have produced excellent likenesses.

    1994/2784
  • John Wesley Preaching from His Father's Tomb
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Alfred William Hunt (1830–1896), mid 19th century

    On Sunday June 6th 1742 John Wesley re-visited his home town, Epworth in Lincolnshire. His father Samuel Wesley had been the rector of St. Andrew’s Church there. Prior to the Sunday service Wesley had offered to assist the Curate with the service, who was dismissive. Instead, the Curate in his sermon that day discussed the dangers of religious enthusiasm, with scantily veiled references to John.

    John knew many of the parishioner in the full church that day had come with an expectation to hear him preach. Forbidden to do so inside, he decided to do so in the graveyard instead and, so as not to be ejected, he preached from his father's grave, which was the property of the Wesley family.

    Wesley later wrote he "... found such a congregation as I believe Epworth never saw before...I stood near the east end of the church, upon my father’s tomb stone and cried, ‘The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’

    This portrait is a 19th century rendering of the scene, by the Pre-Raphaelite influenced painter A.W. Hunt.

    1993/1607
  • John Fletcher's study chair
    read more →
    Oak, leather, metal
    Probably 1600s

    This armchair belonged to John Fletcher (1729-1785). Fletcher was a gifted preacher, writer and friend of John Wesley. Many contemporaries regarded him as an example of John Wesley's teachings of Christian Perfection and possible successor to Wesley.

    The chair dates to the 1600s and its style is derived from Spanish furniture. Its studded and embossed black leather upholstery is original. It is interesting that Fletcher should have used a study chair of this age. It would indicate that he had 'antiquarian' interests, i.e. an interest in the past.

    The chair bears a 19th century museum label set into the leather backrest.
  • Two love feast cups
    read more →
    Glazed, painted and printed ceramic
    Probably Staffordshire potteries, c.1800-1830

    Most love feast or 'loving' cups are plain, but some feature patterns; most were inexpensively produced. These two early love feast cups decorated in transfer print blue 'Willow' pattern and with other exotic decoration were inspired by Chinese patterns. The underglaze blue willow pattern was universally popular in the early 19th century and cheap to mass produce.

    For more information about love feast cups refer to the other 'loving' cups in the Online Collection.
  • Lunchtime preparations
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1950

    It is a long-standing tradition at Wesley's Chapel to have a Thursday lunchtime service, followed by lunch for the attendees. This image shows members of the congregation in the 1950s preparing lunch prior to the service advertised on the board in the background.
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal, glass, silk
    late 1800s

    This elaborate silver lodge medal was awarded by the Temperance Movement United Order of Total Abstinence, Sons of the Phoenix. This originated in Clapham, London.

    Temperance, i.e. the limitation of or total abstinence from alcohol, was a popular movement in the 1800s amongst Methodist but also most other religious denominations. Alcohol was regarded to be the root cause of many evils and social problems.

    Many chose to give up alcohol altogether, especially among the middle classes. Some joined organisations such as the Sons of the Phoenix, which was professionally organised, although not specifically Methodist.
  • Rev. John Rattenbury
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c.1872

    John Rattenbury (1806-1879) was a Wesleyan minister and the founder of a dynasty of Methodist ministers. He grew up in Manchester and was converted by Robert Newton. It is said that he was a near hypnotic preacher, and that he was responsible for many conversions. A family tradition asserts that the first railway excursion on the Stockton and Darlington line was to hear him preach. Rattenbury launched the Metropolitan Chapels Building Fund and was elected President of Conference in 1861.

    The painting requires conservation.

    1993/1615
  • Loving cup
    read more →
    Ceramic, hand-painted
    Mid 19th century

    Another example of a 'love feast' or loving cup, the two handled cup used during Methodist love feast services. This example is more elaborate than most, with hand-painted decoration and gilding. Many loving cups were very simply decorated, many with transfer prints instead of painted decoration.

    See also the other loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • Letter from John Wesley to his wife Mary (Molly), nee Vazeille
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    First page of two, July 10th, 1756

    A letter from John Wesley to his wife Molly sent from Athlone, Ireland, on 10th July 1756.

    His letter makes clear that around a dozen of Molly's letters written since March that year went missing and were delivered to John all at once in Ireland in July. In a letter in May, John had been upset over the fact that Molly had not written him for so long, and the tone of the May letter was tense.

    This letter contains a lot of business relating to preachers, books and other affairs. It shows that John discussed these affairs freely with his wife.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'. See also John Wesley's letter to his wife dated 21st May 1756 in the Online Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel interior
    read more →
    Black & white photograph on paper
    c. 2000

    This black and white photograph was taken from the Gallery. The monochromatic colour emphasises the architectural detail of the space, especially the ceiling and the Victorian and later stained glass windows.

    Compare also to the earlier watercolours and engravings of the interior in the Collection.
  • Habakkuk, the Sentinel of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Sculpted by Enoch Wood 1781, re-issued by Wood in 1831

    John Wesley sat five times for the modelling of the original bust in Burslem, Staffordshire in 1781. The modeller Enoch Wood was just 22 years old at the time, Wesley was 78. Wesley was very well pleased with the likeness of the bust, and it was widely acclaimed as the most realistic resemblance of Wesley ever produced.

    This particular bust was given as a presentation copy from Enoch Wood to Adam Clarke on the 50th anniversary of its first modelling, in 1831.
  • Charles Wesley's bureau bookcase
    read more →
    Walnut veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c. 1740-50

    This bureau bookcase belonged to Charles Wesley and dates to the middle of the 18th century. Although first resident in Bristol, Charles and his family moved to Marylebone in London in the early 1770s. It is likely, therefore, that the bureau was made or acquired for the Bristol house and was later moved to London. This might also explain why the bureau, which is of good quality, is still veneered in walnut, rather than the expensive mahogany imported from the West Indies and then newly-fashionable in London.

    The bureau was one of the early exhibits at John Wesley's House and its original label is still attached.
  • Interior of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1910-20

    An interior view of the Chapel early in the 20th century. On the first floor gallery to the left and right of the image can be seen two organs. These were installed in the late 19th century; one was a real organ, the other a dummy, installed for symmetry.
  • Portrait of John Wesley
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, Late 18th century

    This portrait of Wesley is a copy after George Romney (1734 -1802). Wesley sat for Romney on 29 December 1788 and three times in January 1789. Wesley wrote in his journal: "Mr Romney is a painter indeed. He struck off an exact likeness at once, and did more in an hour than Sir Joshua [Reynolds] did in ten."
    1992/421
  • The Revd. Charles Wesley, M.A.
    read more →
    Engraving
    Engraved by J, Cochran, after the painting by William Gush, 19th century

    A posthumous depiction of Charles Wesley (1707-1788), John Wesley's younger brother.

    For further information on Charles Wesley refer to online Collection object 1997/6656, 'Reverend Charles Wesley MA', by John Russell.
  • Romani encampment
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Arthur Nicholls (1842-1909), late 1800s

    A countryside scene, possibly in Cambridgeshire, where Arthur Nicholls had a studio. The sky in this work is painted particularly well.

    Nicholls (1842-1909) was an artist and photographer who specialised in portraiture.
  • John Wesley's Foundery
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    Published by Gardener, Zinco, Giltspur Street, London, c.1840

    The' Foundery', in Moorfields, was Wesley's first London base for worship and an early meeting place for Methodists.

    Built as a cannon foundry for the British Board of Ordnance, the cannons for Marlborough's campaigns against France in the reign of Queen Anne (the 'War of the Spanish succession') were cast here. It was closed in 1716 after a serious accident and Wesley acquired the lease and repaired the building in 1739. Wesley created a Chapel space capable of accommodating 1,500, which cost him around £900, a very large sum at the time. Wesley raised this from personal funds, subscriptions and donations.

    The Foundery became quickly a community centre, with a meeting room, a free medical dispensary with its own apothecary and surgeon, and a free school. Later, a lending society was added and an almshouse provided on an adjacent site. The building remained in use until Wesley built his 'New' or City Road Chapel, today's Wesley's Chapel.
  • Cream jug
    read more →
    Ceramic, glazed
    c. 1780-1800

    A late 18th century creamware commemorative milk jug of John Wesley featuring a black transfer print.

    See also the other commemorative creamware items in the Online Collection.
  • The Epworth Rectory on Fire and the Rescue of John Wesley, Aged 6
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    After the painting by Henry Perlee Parker (1840), 19th century

    John was born in 1703 at the rectory in Epworth. When he was six years old, on the night of 9 February 1709, the rectory caught fire. The family rushed to get out. Once outside they did a head count and realised that John was missing. The flames had become so fierce however that John's father Samuel was unable to get back into the house. Then, John appeared at an upstairs window. A human ladder was formed so he could be pulled to safety, apparently just in time before the roof fell in.

    It was this seemingly miraculous escape from the fire which convinced his mother Susanna that her son was a 'brand plucked from the burning".
  • Elijah, the Warrior of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Bible
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    early 1800s

    This small bible is only one of many bibles collected by the museum over the years. It is a particularly nice example, with an engraved leather cover, two silvered metal clasps and metal corners. The first page bears an inscription which states that the bibe was presented as a gift to the original owner William Porter in 1814.
  • Baby rattle
    read more →
    silver, coral
    mid 18th century

    This sterling silver baby rattle, with silver bells and a teething bit made from coral, is believed to have belonged to the children of Charles Wesley. It would have been an expensive item to purchase and is likely to have been a gift, possibly from a patron or family.
  • Rev. Robert Newton
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By John Jackson R.A. (1778 - 1831), early 19th century

    The Rev. Robert Newton (1780 - 1854) was the son of a farmer and became a Wesleyan Methodist minister in 1799. He was an enthusiastic advocate of overseas missionary activity, raised enormous sums for this purpose. and rose high within Wesleyan Methodism.

    For further biographical details, see also the portrait of Robert Newton by William Gush in the Collection, 1993/1610.

    1997/6631
  • Jonah, the Messenger of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Teapots
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, late 18th century

    Commemorative ware featuring John Wesley was popular during Wesley’s later years and increasingly so in memory of Wesley after his death in 1791. Like these teapots which are made of creamware (a type of ceramic associated with Josiah Wedgwood), they usually featured an image of Wesley and a prayer or moral text.
  • John Wesley's monument
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1870-80

    An early photographic view of John Wesley's monument. The plain, raised grave marker in front of the monument is Adam Clarke's (1762-1832) memorial.
  • Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
    read more →
    Photograph
    1978

    By the early 1970s, Wesley's Chapel had become structurally unsafe and a major building programme was required to ensure the building's survival. This took over four years to complete. The Chapel was re-opened on its 200th anniversary, on 1st November 1978, by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
  • Letter from Susanna Wesley to her son John
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    First of two pages, 23rd February 1724

    One of the earliest letters in the Collection, this letter was written by Susanna Wesley to her son.

    Aged 21 and about to take his final examination at Oxford University, John had written to his mother to inform her that he had decided to take holy orders. She refers to this as the 'alteration of yr temper' and the letter makes clear that she is very pleased with his decision. 'If it be so, happy are you if you cherish those Dispositions, and now in good Earnest resolv (sic) to make Religion the Business of yr Life.'

    Interestingly, Susanna points out that John's father would prefer an academic career for his son, and that she and her husband are rarely of the same opinion: '..tis an unhappiness almost peculiar to our Family, That (sic) your Father & I Seldom (sic) think alike'.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.
  • Highboy
    read more →
    Mahogany veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c. 1770-80

    This mahogany 'highboy', or chest-on-chest, was used for storing linens, including shirts, stockings and under garments. It has a brushing slide, a shallow board which pulls out from the centre of the piece. This was used for brushing out linens or clothes before they were used or worn.

    By tradition, this piece of furniture was John Wesley's. It has been in the Collection since Wesley's House was opened as a museum in 1898 and is marked 'John Wesley's Highboy' on an early, attached label.
  • Memorial plaque of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic, decorated in underglaze blue
    c.1795-1800

    This early, oval commemorative plaque of John Wesley is unusually elaborate and inspired by classical decoration, fashionable at the time the plaque was produced.

    Compare also to the other commemorative ceramic plaques of Wesley in the Collection.
  • Ezekiel, the Priest-Prophet of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Rev. William Clowes
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    William Clowes (1780 - 1851) was converted to Methodism in 1805. In 1807, he attended the first Primitive Methodist meeting, together with Hugh and James Bourne and others. This was an all day prayer meeting at Mow Cop.
    1993/1491
  • Christening dress (detail)
    read more →
    Silk, cotton lace
    1700s

    By tradition, this finely-worked silk Christening dress belonged to the Wesley family. It would appear to date to the mid 1700s.

    It is unlikely that John and Charles Wesley were christened in the dress. Their home, the old Rectory at Epworth, burnt down in 1709, when John was six and Charles two years' old. Susanna Wesley was not the type of mother who would have saved a christening dress when many other - more precious and essential - household items were lost.

    John Wesley had no children, so it is possible and most probable that the dress belonged to the family of Charles Wesley. Charles had seven (or possibly eight) children, although only three survived infancy.
  • Preachers Room
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1950

    A mid-20th century postcard view of one of the second floor bedrooms in John Wesley's House. This would have been a guest room during John Wesley's lifetime, usually used by travelling or itinerant preachers. Today, it is known as one of the two 'Preachers Rooms'.
  • Hallway, John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1935-50

    After the first floor rooms of John Wesley's House were opened as a museum in 1898, the house was refurbished a number of times with the aim to re-create faithfully the surroundings in which Wesley lived.

    This mid 20th century photograph of the hallway in Wesley's House shows the half height pine panelling and stairs stripped bare. The walls were painted a shade of white or light cream. This decorative arrangement was in keeping with then prevalent ideas of Georgian design and decoration. Later research showed that pine was always painted and never left bare in Georgian times.
  • Money jar
    read more →
    Ceramic, glazed
    1700s

    This stoneware money pot has an interesting history. It originates in Wednesbury, a town in the West Midlands, where John Wesley visited and preached a number of times.

    In 1743 Wesley ran into trouble here, facing riots from local people. However, the local innkeeper, William Griffiths, owner of the Lamp Tavern, hid Wesley by covering him with hay in his hay loft. Griffiths and Wesley struck up a friendly relationship, and Wesley apparently borrowed and used this money pot to collect money whilst in the town.

    The pot continued in use in the Lamp Tavern for many decades, and later was passed through the Griffiths family as a reminder of the encounter with John Wesley.
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic, glazed
    c.1840-50

    A typical John Wesley bust of the mid 1800s. Mass production made all ceramics more affordable and popular but led to a decline in quality. Many Wesley busts ended up looking like caricatures.
  • Unidentified minister or preacher
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Jonathan Pratt, 1892

    The subject of this painting is not identified. Likely, he was a Methodist minister or preacher.

    The painting is dated 1892 and it was painted by Jonathan Pratt (1835-1911). Pratt was a well-known painter of portraits, and genre and interior scenes.

    Sadly, the painting is in very poor condition.
  • Wesley's Chapel opening service
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    19th century

    A Victorian engraving of the inaugural service at Wesley's Chapel on 1st November, 1778. The architectural detail is rendered well, although it is likely the Chapel was more crowded than is apparent in the image. We know John Wesley remarked on the elaborate headdresses of the women - the artist in this instance chose to render these as more subdued, Victorian-style bonnets.
  • A Correct View of the Old Methodist Church in John Street Church, N York
    read more →
    Aquatint
    John I. Hill (1770-1850) (after); aquatint by Joseph B. Smith (1798–1876) & Peter C. Smith (act. 19th century), c. 1823/24

    View of the original John Street Methodist Church in Lower Manhatten, New York City. This was torn down in 1817 and rebuilt in 1818, hence the title of this print, "Old Methodist Church", published subsequent to the demolition. The house on the right was already on the site when the church was built and was used as the parsonage and library.
  • Note from William Wilberforce
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    '21st May' (no year)

    A scribbled note in connection with slavery from William Wilberforce (1759-1833) to the Rev. Marsden (1765-1838).

    Marsden had been recommended by Wilberforce in 1793 as assistant to the chaplain of New South Wales, Australia. There, Marsden became very active in the local superintendence and financial management of the London Missionary Society, as well as the affairs of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

    Unfortunately, the note isn't dated, and not all of the content is legible. Wilberforce apologised he had written 'in haste'.
  • Charles Wesley stamps
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    2007

    Issued in Ireland in 2007 to mark the 300th birth of Charles Wesley.

    Over the years, hundreds of stamps have been issued worldwide to celebrate Methodism and the Wesleys. Until recently, there was also a worldwide Methodist Philatelic Society.
  • Hymns And Sacred Poems
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Fifth edition, 1756

    In March 1739 the Wesley brothers issued the first in a new series of collected verse. This was titled 'Hymns and Sacred Poems'. It was published under the names of both Wesleys, but the evidence suggests that John was the primary collector of the content and the editor of the work. The work included many contributions from early religious revivalists, such as George Herbert, John Gambold, and also a German Moravian hymnal.

    'Hymns and Sacred Poems' went through five editions by 1756 and was central to early Methodist devotion and worship. This copy, the fifth edition (1756), belonged to John Wesley. The line 'And Hernhuth is the fav'rite name! Wesley annotated: "It was! But how is yr fine Gold become dim?'. By this time, Wesley had left behind his early fascination with the Moravian movement.
  • John Wesley preaching
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c 1800

    A naïve rendering of John Wesley preaching. Naïve style paintings of Wesley are not uncommon. They were made as commemorative pieces by amateur artists following Wesley's passing and later. Often, they were hung in smaller Chapels and working class homes.

    The painting requires conservation.

    1993/1583
  • John Wesley standing in a graveyard
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    c.1783

    An unusual portrait, possible painted by the Rev. Thomas Olave, vicar of Mucking Church, Essex, which is seen in the background.
  • Sampler
    read more →
    Wool, cotton
    1798

    This early embroidered sampler shows Wesley's Chapel. The view, taken from the south west, was copied from the first exterior engraving of the Chapel published by John Hindmarsh in 1779. This is also in the Online Collection.

    The sampler was worked by Elizabeth R(B)yalls, aged 12. The education of most girls in the 18th and 19th centuries included the stitching of a sampler. Like many, this one includes a religious verse. However, this unusually large and elaborate sampler has a very clear Wesley connection, which is very rare.
  • John Wesley's private rooms
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1935-50

    A photograph from around the time of World War II showing John Wesley's bedroom and prayer room.
  • Australasian Conference Chair
    read more →
    Wood, leather
    early 20th century

    In Methodism, the Conference is the governing body of the Church, which is headed by a President. It meets annually to discuss matters affecting the life of the Church, the nation and the world.

    The first conference of the Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Church was held in Sydney in 1855. This chair would have been used by the Presidents of the Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Conference during proceedings.
  • Portrait of a man with a dog
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c. 1830

    The subject of this painting is not identified. He is dressed in the manner of the early 1800s. Likely, he was a Methodist minister or preacher.

    Sadly, the painting is in poor condition.

    1993/1639
  • "The late Revd John Wesley, M.A. and 446 of the preachers in his Connexion represented as assembled in City Road Chapel, London"
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by T. Blood, published by M. Blanchard, London, May 1822

    A posthumous engraving of John Wesley amongst his preachers in the City Road (today's Wesley's) Chapel. The depiction is fanciful, as both preachers of Wesley's day, such as Thomas Coke, and others who were alive in 1822 are illustrated. The work is one of the earliest detailed engravings of the interior of the Chapel and gives an idea of its appearance before Victorian alterations were carried out.
  • The Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Weatherhead
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962), mid 20th century

    Leslie Weatherhead was a Methodist preacher of worldwide renown. He was known for his impressive appearance, clarity of thought and melodious voice.
  • Portrait of Rodney 'Gypsy' Smith
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by A.T. Nowell, Early 20th century

    Rodney, or 'Gipsy', Smith MBE (1860 – 1947) was a British evangelist who conducted evangelistic campaigns in the United States and Great Britain for over 70 years. He was an early member of The Salvation Army.

    Gypsy was born in a Romani tent in Epping Forest, close to London. He received no formal education, and his family made a living selling home made wares, such as baskets. At the age of 16, Gypsy was converted and noticed by William Booth of the Salvation Army. Gypsy became an evangelist with and for the Mission and served for a number of years. Later, he traveled around the world extensively on evangelistic missions or 'crusades', drawing huge crowds.

    It is believed that Gipsy never wrote a sermon out for preaching purposes, although he wrote several books. He could sing well, and sometimes he would interrupt his sermons and burst into song. Several of these hymns were recorded by Columbia Records.

    1997/6659
  • Portrait of Rev. William Atherton (1775-1850)
    read more →
    Oil on board
    Unidentified artist, early 19th century

    Atherton was born in Lancashire and his first ten years in the ministry were spent in Scotland, where he had been educated. He was an advocate for Chapel building, missions and Methodist day schools. Elected President of the Conference in 1846, he was a leading opponent of Jabez Bunting. Atherton became superintendent of the circuit in Wakefield in 1849 and also Chairman of the Leeds District, but died the following year.

    Sadly, the portrait is in bad condition and requires conservation.

    2005/10372
  • A Collection of Hymns, for the use of the People called Methodists
    read more →
    Frontispiece
    1780

    The ‘Collection of Hymns’ was the first comprehensive Methodist hymn collection published during John Wesley’s lifetime and the ancestor of all Methodist hymnals.
  • View of Savannah, Georgia
    read more →
    Paper
    20th century

    This map of Savannah is based on Fourdrinier's and Peter Gordon's map of Savannah of 1734, the earliest engraved map of the settlement.

    John and Charles Wesley arrived in Savannah in February 1736, but for both it became a disappointing and extremely trying experience. John Wesley returned to England in December 1736, his brother Charles had already sailed home earlier.
  • The Chapel complex, 1821
    read more →
    Watercolour
    Unknown artist

    In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the chapel was flanked by two near identical houses; in fact, five were planned originally with a central archway leading to the Chapel behind, but only two were built. Today only one, John Wesley’s House, survives.
  • John Wesley's Study
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1935-50

    An unusual mid twentieth century postcard view of John Wesley's Study, featuring his bookcase, electrical machine and study chair.
  • Clothing and other items worn by John Wesley
    read more →
    Textile, leather and metal
    late 18th century

    A few items of clothing belonging to John Wesley are preserved and on display in John Wesley’s House, including this gown, a pair of shoes, shoe buckles and spurs.

    The gown is especially interesting. Long thought to have been a preaching gown, this garment was in fact a library gown, similar to today's dressing gown.
    It is also an early example of recycling. The way this garment was put together, with a sometimes upside-down pattern which does not match up across the arms, back and front, indicates that only a limited amount of material was available.

    Did the fabric originally make up another garment or was it a leftover? John Wesley was known to be economical and thrifty, so a garment made from reused or leftover material would be entirely in keeping with his character.
  • John Wesley, by John Jackson R.A.
    read more →
    Oil on board
    early 19th century

    A Methodist himself, Jackson was commissioned to paint portraits of several Methodist ministers, including this one painted after Wesley's death.
    (1997/6655)
  • Frontispice, 'Letter to a Friend, Concerning Tea.'
    read more →
    Pamphlet printed on paper
    Published by W. Strahan, London, 1748

    John Wesley's 'Letter to a Friend, Concerning Tea' is an attack on fashionable and expensive 18th century tea drinking. It illustrates Wesley's interest in health and personal economy.

    In the pamphlet, Wesley recounts how, nearly three decades earlier, he found himself suffering “Symptoms of a Paralytick Disorder.” Wesley decided it might be his tea intake that was the cause and resolved only cutting out tea altogether provided relief. It also helped save money.

    Wesley had a lifelong interest in health. The year before, in 1747, he had published the “Primitive Physick,” an overall preventive approach to health which included a long list of remedies for specific ailments.
  • John Wesley Preaching to the Indians
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    c.1900

    John Wesley went to Savannah in Georgia (north America) in 1736 to serve as minister to the colonial settlement. The posting was not a success. This fanciful print dating to around 1900 shows him preaching to indigenous Americans.

    The print is factually not quite correct. It is dated '1735', and we have no evidence that John Wesley ever preached to or converted native Americans.
  • Samuel Wesley
    read more →
    Engraving on paper, handcoloured
    18th century

    Samuel Wesley (1662-1735) was the father of John and Charles Wesley and another seventeen children, nine of whom died in infancy. He was a clergyman of the Church of England and also wrote prose and poetry.

    Samuel Wesley spent most of his life as the Rector of Epworth in Lincolnshire. There, he faced many trials with his parishioners and much of his literary talent remained unrecognised.
  • John Wesley's Study
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.2000

    This postcard view shows John Wesley's Study in about 2000. Compare to the earlier photographs and postcard views of this room to see how its presentation has changed over the years.
  • John Westley (1636-1670)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    late 18th century (ca)

    The Reverend John Westley was the grandfather of John Wesley. A Puritan and Non-Conformist, he was imprisoned for preaching 'illegally'.
    (1993/1635)
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic
    c.1781-90

    This 'basaltware' bust of John Wesley is a black, unglazed ceramic version of Enoch Wood's original bust of Wesley modelled in 1781.

    See also the other ceramic busts of John Wesley in the Online Collection.
  • Two busts of John Wesley
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    Inspired by Enoch Wood's model of 1784, Staffordshire, early-mid 19th century

    Examples of John Wesley busts produced around the second quarter of the 19th century (c. 1825-50).

    Compare with earlier Wesley busts in the Collection.
  • John Wesley's teapot
    read more →
    Transfer printed ceramic
    Possibly made by Josiah Wedgwood, late 18th century

    It is said this teapot was made for John Wesley by Josiah Wedgwood, and there is a story that part of the decoration of the teapot was inspired by one of Mrs Wesley's gowns. The teapot is a large one gallon size and it is possible that it was used by the preachers in Wesley's house during meetings or when debating sermons.

    Ironically, Wesley was no friend of tea, and he published a pamphlet in 1748 criticizing his contemporaries' craze for (unhealthy and expensive) tea drinking.
    See also 'Letter to a Friend, Concerning Tea', in the Collection.
  • Chapel forecourt
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1900-1920

    A view of the Chapel forecourt and the statue of John Wesley by the sculptor John Adams-Acton (1830-1910). This was installed in 1891. The pavement around the statue was later removed, to allow for better vehicle access, and the trees were pollarded.
  • Collection of photographs of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photographs
    c. 1920

    An early collection of photographs of Wesley's Chapel and the site, which would have been available to visitors and tourists in the early 20th century.
  • Chair (detail)
    read more →
    Mahogany, horsehair (upholstery)
    c.1760-1770

    This image shows the back of a mahogany armchair in John Wesley's House. Because the intricate back of the chair looks like a ladder, this chair type is also known as a 'ladderback' chair. The ladder back is carved intricately, in the style made fashionable by Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779).

    Although no documentary evidence exists, the chair dates to the 1700s and may have been part of the first furnishings of John Wesley's House. The chair is also pictured in a photograph of John Wesley's monument from the 1870s in the Online Collection. In the photograph, a gentleman holding a top hat leans on the back rest.
  • The Revd. John Wesley, A.M.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    William Ridley, after Henry Edridge, 1792

    This engraving of John Wesley was engraved shortly after Wesley's passing in 1791. There was a great demand for commemorative images and mementoes of Wesley, and many engravings and works in ceramic were produced.

    John Wesley's academic title is listed as 'A.M.' in Latin for 'Artium Magister'; today, the title would be 'M.A.' (Master of Arts).
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, 19th century

    A portrait of John Wesley which may have been inspired by Nathaniel Hone's portrait of Wesley, now in the National Gallery. Wesley's pose with a bible (or possibly a hymn book) in his hand and his hand outstretched, as well as the sky in the background, are very similar. However, in Hone's portrait Wesley is depicted walking to the left, in this portrait he is walking to the right.

    The style of the painting is somewhat naïve.

    1993/1613
  • John Wesley pulpit and clock statue
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, mid 19th century

    Ornaments depicting John Wesley were very popular in the Victorian age as mantelpiece decorations. Many depicted a clock probably to emphasise the passing of time and as a reminder to lead a worthy life.
  • Electricity machine
    read more →
    Metal, glass, wood,
    mid to late 18th century

    Like many educated men and women of the 18th century Enlightenment, John Wesley was an enthusiastic believer in the healing properties of electricity. Portable machines such as this one were invented to harness and channel electricity in the treatment of ailments.

    In 1747 Wesley wrote a tract, the 'Primitive Physic', a compendium of treatments for many common problems and diseases. In this, he mentions use of 'electrifying' as treatment for a wide range of conditions. Unusually for 18th century London, Wesley offered free electrification for his followers.
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic, painted
    Staffordshire, c.1800

    Based on Enoch Wood's 1781 model of John Wesley, this bust is well modelled and well painted. Soon after 1800, the quality of Wesley busts started to deteriorate. By the mid 1800s, as Wesley busts were produced in ever larger numbers and got cheaper, they were no longer naturalistic. Some featured Wesley with pink hair, eyeliner and rouged cheeks!

    See also the other ceramic busts of John Wesley in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley's monument and graveyard
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Photograph, c. 1880-1890

    Two early photographic views of John Wesley's monument and the graveyard behind the Chapel. The plain, raised grave marker in front of the monument is Adam Clarke's (1762-1832) memorial. The metal railings surrounding John Wesley's monument no longer exist.
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic, painted
    c. 1830

    A bust of John Wesley produced at a time when Wesley mementoes became ever more popular and cheaper. Gone is the naturalism and artistry which was a hallmark of early production, especially in busts produced by and after Enoch Wood (1759-1840). Note the pink tint of the hair and uninspired facial painting.
  • John Wesley walking between two of his preachers, Dr James Hamilton and Joseph Cole, in Edinburgh
    read more →
    Oil on board
    by Joseph Kay, c.1790

    The picture depicts the three preachers, the best known Methodist preachers of their day in Scotland, walking together in Edinburgh in 1790. Wesley was small of statue, about 5ft 4 inches.
  • Wesley's Tree, Winchelsea, Sussex
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    Worked by D.C. Delt, published by C. Moody, Holborn, London, Mid 19th century

    John Wesley preached his last open air sermon in Winchelsea, East Sussex, on October 7th, 1790 under the tree depicted in this print.
  • Roderick MacDonald's typewriter
    read more →
    Metal, celluloid, wood
    Made by Blickensderfer, c. 1900

    This typewriter belonged to the Rev Roderick John Johnston MacDonald (1859-1906) from Edinburgh, medical missionary in China.

    The Wesleyan Missionary Society had sent out missionaries to China from 1852 and established itself in Hankow and the province of Hupeh. Missionary work was often hard but could also be very dangerous. Roderick MacDonald was travelling on China's West River on SS Sainam when the boat was seized by pirates on 13th July 1906. MacDonald was shot while attending the wounded captain of the ship. His mangled typewriter and umbrella were the only items recovered.
  • Commemorative plaque
    read more →
    Brass
    1924

    An unusual John Wesley brass plaque which was made in Germany in 1924.

    The Methodist Community in Germany is comparatively small. The first Methodist missionary to Germany, G. Müller, started preaching in 1830 and gained followers mainly in Württemberg, southern Germany.
  • Lowboy
    read more →
    Walnut veneer on pine
    c.1740-60

    This small side or dressing table is known as a 'lowboy', in contrast to a 'highboy', which is essentially a chest of drawers raised on a small table. It dates to around the middle of the 18th century. The table has long been associated with John Wesley's House and may have been part of the furnishings when Wesley lived in it.
  • William Wilberforce
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Drawn by W.M. Craig, plate engraved by Thomson, c.1810-20

    William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was an evangelical Christian and leader of the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade in the late 1700s. As Member of Parliament (MP) for Yorkshire, he campaigned for twenty years until the Slave Trade Act of 1807 was finally passed.

    John Wesley's last letter, written on February 24th 1791, six days before his death, was addressed to Wilberforce. In it, Wesley urged Wilberforce to continue the fight against the slave trade, the “execrable sum of all villainies”.

    See also the goose quill believed to have been the pen Wesley used to write his letter to Wilberforce in the Online Collection.
  • Letter from Charles Wesley to John Wesley
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of two, 28th July 1778

    A significant letter written by Charles to his brother John Wesley in July 1778.

    On page 2, Charles asks his brother: "What think you of our National Estate? My Bro. & I agree to differ (underlined). He is, as usual, all hope, & I am all fear. But a very short time will show who is the true prophet".

    It is not quite clear what Charles means. The letter was written only two weeks after France declared war on Britain in July 1778 (they were opponents in the American War of Independence, 1775-83). Charles may thus be referring to the possible repercussions of these conflicts.

    Charles Wesley's tone, and the strong emphasis on their opposing views, hints at disagreements or even a rift between the brothers.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents' (letter listed as July 26, 1776).
  • John Wesley's monument and graveyard
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Photograph, c. 1930-50

    An early 20th century photograph of John Wesley's tomb and the graveyard behind Wesley's Chapel. In the early 1980s, a mirrored office building was built at the back of the site, approximately where the trees are located in the photograph. The layout of the paths was changed at the same time.
  • The Ordination of Francis Asbury
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    late 18th century

    Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was born in Staffordshire, brought up a Methodist and ordained a travelling preacher by Wesley. He went to the Americas in 1771 to minister to the growing number of Methodists there.

    In 1784 in a controversial move, John Wesley ordained Englishman Thomas Coke as Wesley's American superintendent. Coke, in turn, ordained Asbury at the Baltimore "Christmas Conference" of 1784 as Co-Superintendent, or Bishop. This gave birth to the American Methodist Episcopal Church and ultimately split American Methodism from the Anglican Church and the Methodist Church in England.

    See also Charles Wesley's ditty on the occasion of Coke's controversial ordination of Asbury in the Collection.
  • Two busts of John Wesley
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    Staffordshire Potteries, early to mid 19th century

    Examples of John Wesley busts produced for the lower end of the market and available to many lower income earner households.

    Compare with earlier Wesley busts and Enoch Wood's models in the Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel interior
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    ca. 1870-80

    A mid-Victorian view of the interior of Wesley's Chapel, prior to stained glass being installed and after the pulpit had been cut down. There is an interesting lighting arrangement of glass bowls mounted all around the gallery at first floor level; these were probably gas lights. Compare also to the other interior views in the Collection.
  • Organ installation
    read more →
    Photograph
    1930s

    The image shows the organ at Wesley's Chapel whilst in the process of 'voicing'. The voicing of an organ is a very important part of the work, turning the pipes and the keyboard into the musical instrument.

    The picture was probably taken in the mid 1930s, when the present organ was installed in the Chapel.
  • Map of Moorfields and the Foundery
    read more →
    Paper
    Drawn by R.R. McCullagh, then engraved, 1861

    This 19th century commemorative map is based on one issued by Mr Roquet in 1746. It shows the Moorfields area around the time John Wesley was living and preaching at the Foundery Chapel. The Foundery is located to the right of the map, just above Upper Moor Fields, in Windmill Hill.
  • Corner cabinet
    read more →
    Oak
    c. 1770-1800

    A hanging corner cabinet with a 'swan neck' pediment top and astragal glazing, dating to the last quarter of the 1700s. An 'astragal' is a moulding or fillet profile composed of a half-round surface surrounded by two flat planes. It used to be employed as a framing device on furniture and woodwork.

    Corner cabinets were fashionable and very common between 1760 and 1830. This particular example did not belong to John Wesley, but it is quite likely that one would have been in Wesley's house.
  • Chapel interior
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1975

    A view of the Chapel during restoration works in the 1970s. A large portion of the gallery rail had become unsafe. The extent of the wood rot can be seen in the centre foreground and to the centre right of the photograph. There were other serious problems, such as sinking foundations and a leaking roof.

    The photograph shows the pulpit boxed in for protection.
  • Reverend Charles Wesley (1707–1788), MA
    read more →
    Oil on Canvas
    Painted by John Russell R.A. (1745-1806), 1771

    The Reverend Charles Wesley, MA was John Wesley's younger brother. He was one of the youngest children of Susanna and Samuel Wesley, their eighteenth child. Like his brother, Charles was ordained into the Anglican Church and later became active in the Methodist movement, However, despite their closeness, the brothers did not always agree on questions relating to their beliefs, in particular whether a breach with the Church of England was permissible or justified. This led to open conflict.

    Charles Wesley is best known for writing about 6,500 hymns and he has sometimes been called the 'sweet singer of Methodism'.

    1997/6656
  • Teapot
    read more →
    Ceramic, printed
    c. 1770-90

    A creamware commemorative teapot of John Wesley dating to the late 1700s. Like many commemorative Wesley ceramics of this period, it isn't hand-painted but features a black transfer printed image. These could literally be stuck onto ceramics and then fired on. Transfer prints were quick to produce, cost effective and became very fashionable.

    See also the other commemorative teapots in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley preaching inside a Pulpit
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    statuette, Staffordshire, c. 1800

    Ornaments depicting John Wesley were very popular in the 19th century, often as mantelpiece decorations. This particular one shows Wesley preaching inside a pulpit, a very poignant image which warns against temporal living and reminds of the need to prepare for the hereafter through spiritual devotion.

    Many 'Wesleyana' ceramicware items were made in the potteries in and around Staffordshire, where Methodism was especially strong. Often, the modelling and decoration are quite rough.

    Compare also to the John Wesley Pulpit and Clock statuette in the Collection.
  • Fijian priests' dish
    read more →
    Wood
    1800s

    This vessel is made from sacred ‘Vesi’ wood and was once used for cannibal ceremonies. The dish was given to the Rev. James Calvert (1813-1892) when its Fijian owner converted to Christianity. Calvert was a missionary to Fiji who arrived there in 1838, the same year as the Rev. John Hunt.

    See also the other Fijian artefacts in the Online Collection.

    1992/15
  • Rev. John Wesley (1703-1791)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Possibly by Thomas Horsley (b. 1754), late 18th century?

    A number of portraits of Wesley attributed to Thomas Horsley of Sunderland exist; Horsley is said to have been a pupil of George Romney. It is likely that some of them are copies, as the quality of most of the attributed pictures is not high.

    Wesley may have been painted by Horsley on his visit to Sunderland in 1784; Wesley's journal entry for Saturday afternoon, 5 June includes: ‘3 on business, picture!'. But no further evidence has as yet come to light.

    1993/1617
  • John Wesley's Study
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1898-1900

    The first floor rooms of John Wesley's House were opened as a museum in 1898, one of the earliest museums in a historic house in the country. This photograph shows John Wesley's study or living room as it looked shortly after the opening, around the turn of the 20th century. The rooms were presented very much like a shrine to John Wesley, not like a historic house in the way they are today.
  • Explanatory Notes Upon The Old Testament
    read more →
    Paper, leather
    1765

    John Wesley's commentary on the Old and New Testaments was produced between 1754 and 1765, in a number of volumes. Wesley was keen to give his readers essential information about the Bible and the doctrines of Christian life in plain and simple language. His verse by verse notes are concise and focus mainly on providing a historical context for the Gospel, alongside interpretation and critical commentary.

    This volume is no. 2 of the 'Explanatory Notes Upon The Old Testament'.
  • Portrait of the Rev. Richard Watson (1781-1833)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, 19th century

    Watson was one of the first outstanding Wesleyan Methodist theologians and had a keen interest in promoting foreign missions. He became President of Conference in 1826. Watson is perhaps best remembered for his 'Theological Institutes' (1831), in which he tried to bring John Wesley's theology into a coherent system.
    1993/1480
  • John Wesley (1703 - 1791)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, 19th century

    This painting of John Wesley compares closely to another in the Collection, 1992/421, and was also inspired by a well-known portrait by George Romney (1732-1804). However, the quality of this painting is not comparable to the other; this portrait 'feels' more naïve and less polished. It is one of thousands painted and copied after Wesley's death to celebrate Wesley's life and achievements.

    Sadly, the painting is in need of conservation.

    1992/1427
  • Statue of John Wesley
    read more →
    Bronze, marble
    Modelled and sculpted by John Adams Acton (1830-1910), 1891

    This statue of John Wesley was sculpted by John Adams-Acton (1830-1910) for the forecourt of Wesley's Chapel in 1891. The bronze plinth is inscribed: "The World is My Parish".

    Adams-Acton exhibited at the Royal Academy and sculpted the Wesley memorial in Westminster Abbey, the Cruikshank memorial in St Paul's Cathedral and a memorial of Cardinal Manning in Westminster Cathedral. He was well-known as a modeller and sculptor of public figures in Victorian Britain.
  • John Wesley preaching from the Steps of a Market Cross
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    by J.W. Hatherell, mid 20th century

    John Wesley is shown preaching from the steps of the market cross, possibly in his home town, Epworth, in Lincolnshire. He is said to have preached around 40,000 sermons and travelled some 250,000 miles in his lifetime.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Mrs Mary Fletcher (nee Bosanquet)
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    2nd April, 1785

    In this short letter John Wesley advises Mary Fletcher of his travel plans that spring. He explains that his journey via Bolton, Wigan, Liverpool and Holyhead to Ireland won't leave time to visit Yorkshire that year. (Presumably Mary Fletcher had asked specifically about a visit there).

    It is interesting that the envelope of this letter is addressed to Mary's husband, John Fletcher, but that John Wesley is writing exclusively to Mary.
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1763
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    5th October 1763

    This letter written by John Wesley to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817) relates to the opening of the octagonal Methodist Chapel in Yarm, Yorkshire.

    Merryweather was a wealthy salt merchant involved deeply in the Methodist cause. He was overseeing the construction of Yarm Chapel on land given by his family. The letter confirms the arrangements for the opening but also hints at some troubles. Apparently, the number of 'hearers' of the sermons (as Wesley calls them) was decreasing and the book or 'tract' accounts of the society in Yarm were showing irregularities.

    Yarm's octagonal Chapel was described by John Wesley in 1764 as 'by far the most elegant in England'.
  • Sunday School medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1880

    This medal commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sunday Schools by Robert Raikes in 1780.

    Raikes (1736 - 1811) was was a pioneer of the Sunday school movement, which started with a school for boys in the slums. Raikes saw schooling as the best early intervention in a possible life of crime, a preventive measure which was better than a cure. Sunday schooling was chosen as this was usually the only day boys were not working (usually in factories), and teaching materials were based on the Bible. Although not a Methodist, Raikes' efforts and achievements were discussed in Wesley's Methodist or 'Arminian' Magazine. Methodism organised its own Sunday schools, open to boys and girls, from the early 19th century.

    The medals would have been distributed among children attending Sunday Schools in 1880
  • Portable lantern
    read more →
    Metal, glass
    late 18th century

    This little lamp is believed to have been John Wesley's. In the 18th century, streets were unlit at night and pedestrians difficult to see. Portable lamps like this helped light the way and gave protection from oncoming horse and carriage traffic.
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Wood, paper
    c. 1910-1925

    This early wooden collecting box was used in the work of the Wesleyan Missionary Society Department Women's Work.

    The organised work of women in the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (WMMS) began in 1858, as an auxiliary to the main Society. The Ladies' Committee aimed at promoting systematically women's work. Women were selected and prepared for employment, for instance as teachers, in the missionary field abroad and overseas. The Committee provided its own funds and worked independently from - if alongside - the WMMS.

    Both WMMS and WMMS Women's Work became part of the Methodist Missionary Society in 1932, although Women's Work continued to operate separately until the 1970s.

    For further information about the Methodist Missionary Society, see also the other collection boxes in the Online Collection.
  • Primitive Physick, Or, An Easy And Natural Method Of Curing Most Diseases
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1761, 9th edition

    John Wesley published the first edition of his 'Primitive Physick' in 1747. Wesley had a life-long interest in health, in that only physical and spiritual health in combination could make for healthy people. This was unusual at that time.

    The book was both an overall preventive approach to health and a compendium of remedies for specific ailments - in total more than 800 prescriptions for more than 300 different disorders. It was very popular throughout the 18th century and by the time Wesley died in 1791, the book had gone through twenty-three editions.
  • John Wesley Attending a Deathbed
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c. 1840

    This fragment of a painting depicts a somewhat romanticised John Wesley attending a dying patient. The painting was executed around the 100th anniversary of Wesley's conversion and the opening of the Foundery Chapel, a time when Methodism was growing sharply.

    At some point in the painting's past it was overlaid with tissue paper, which has fused with paint.
  • Mary Bosanquet's hair
    read more →
    Hair
    1814

    A strand of Mary Bosanquet's hair, cut in 1814. The original card on which it is mounted features the wording:
    "A small part of the Hair of the blessed Woman of God now in Heaven Mrs Fletcher of Madeley - cut in 1814".
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Bakelite
    c.1940-60

    A Methodist Missionary Society collections box in the shape of a Chapel. It is typical of the money boxes used to gather small contributions for mission work abroad and overseas in the mid 20th century.

    For further information about the Methodist Missionary Society, see also the other collection boxes in the Online Collection.
  • Portrait of John Wesley (1703-1791)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unknown artist, 19th century

    Previously attributed to miniature painter John Barry (active 1784–1827), this painting of John Wesley is by an unidentified artist. The execution of the portrait is quite crude, very likely copied in the 19th century from a more accomplished 18th century work.
  • Set of trenchers
    read more →
    Wood, painted
    ca. 1550-1600

    This set of 16th century roundels or trenchers (from Old French, 'tranchier' - to cut) in the original box was a wedding present. In 1788, the roundels were given by John Wesley to Adam Clarke, the British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar, on the occasion of Clarke's wedding.

    Trenchers were used during Elizabethan times as a kind of plate or place-mat during meals, usually to serve sticky desserts such as cheeses, fruit, or sweets. This set is decorated richly, including entertaining verses relating to marriage. It is possible they were meant for after-dinner entertainment, the verses to be recited or sung by the eaters.

    The trenchers are still in as-new condition; likely, they were never used.
  • Reverend John Mason (? - 1864)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by William Gush (1813–1888), c.1850

    John Mason served as Book Steward of the Book Room, the Methodist Publishing House in City Road, for thirty-seven years. With good financial acumen and business sense, he cleared many of the Book Room's debts and put the business onto a much sounder footing. Earlier in his career, he had served as a Foreign Missions Secretary. Also compare this painting to 1999/6633, listed in the Collection register as a 'portrait of an unknown young man'. Painted around thirty years earlier, the similarity of the sitter is striking.

    William Gush was a well-known Victorian artist. He exhibited 53 pictures at the Royal Academy and the National Portrait Gallery in London owns many of his works.

    1993/1513
  • Television recording
    read more →
    Photograph
    1983

    This image shows the recording of Songs of Praise in the Chapel on 10th March 1983. The camera equipment was mounted on a chassis next to the pews and on the balcony. Its bulk made it hard to manoeuvre.
  • Commemorative mug
    read more →
    Printed ceramic
    c.1839

    This commemorative Wesley mug celebrates the one-hundredth anniversary of the first Wesleyan Methodist society founded in 1739. The mug was decorated in 'lustreware', a type of pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze.

    Lustreware is produced by metallic oxides in an overglaze finish; the technique is an ancient one, much used in middle eastern pottery.

    Compare also to the commemorative lusterware jug in the online Collection, which features the same decoration.
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1761
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    June 7th, 1761

    In this letter to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817), John Wesley informs the recipient of his changed travel plans.

    Instead of spending two full days and nights in Yarm (Yorkshire), he will only spend the Friday night and preach Friday evening and Saturday at noon. Apparently, there was other business further south at Hutton Rudby, which was, accordingly to Wesley, "nearer the Center (sic) of our Societies".

    John Wesley visited North Yorkshire frequently. He is reputed to have stayed with the Merryweather family in Yarm on nineteen occasions.

    See also the two other letters by John Wesley to George Merryweather in the Online Collection.
  • Hymns on the Nativity of our Lord and New Year's Day
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1793

    In 1745, Charles Wesley published a small collection of 'Hymns on the Nativity of our Lord and New Year's Day'. The work contained 18 hymns which related to the Christmas period. It stood in the tradition of liturgical hymnody which celebrates the seasons and festivals of the church calendar.

    The work was popular and went through many editions during Charles Wesley's lifetime and afterwards. This edition dates to 1793 and was marked for sale specifically at the 'Chapel, City Road, and at Methodist Preaching Houses in Town, and Country'.
  • John Wesley meets George Whitefield
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Goldwyn Lewes, 1889

    This fragment of a painting depicts the first meeting between John Wesley and George Whitefield, with Whitefield still in civilian clothing. Wesley and Whitefield first encountered one another in Oxford in 1732 when Whitefield, still a student, joined the 'Holy Club'. This was a prayer and assistance group which visited the poor and destitute, the imprisoned and others shunned by society. Both men were inspired by their Holy Club experience, which helped set them on their future course as leaders of the eighteenth-century revival and 'Methodism'.

    However, the relationship between Whitefield and Wesley was complicated and their differences soon caused the infant Methodist movement to split. The Wesley brothers were “Arminians” who denied predestination, but Whitefield came to believe in a more Puritan, Calvinist doctrine which argued against Grace for all. Later years brought a degree of personal reconciliation but 18th century Methodism never (re)united as one movement.

    2001/8263
  • Reverend Thomas Allen
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Arthur Trevethin Nowell (1862–1940), 1906

    Thomas Allen (1837-1912) trained for the Wesleyan Methodist ministry at Didsbury College. He rose to become Chairman of the Sheffield Wesleyan Methodist District (1886-1897) and Chairman of the Birmingham and Shrewsbury District; he also became Governor of Handsworth College (1887-1905). Allen was elected President of the Methodist Conference in 1900.

    Arthur Trevethin Nowell was a painter of classical subjects, portraits and landscapes. Between 1882 and 1939 he exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and America.

    The portrait requires conservation.

    1993/1612
  • 'Deborah', Judges, Verse 3
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Henry le Jeune A.R.A. (1819-1904), mid 19th century

    Deborah is the most celebrated female prophet of the Old Testament.

    Henry le Jeune was an English painter who produced landscape, literary, genre and religious paintings. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (A.R.A.) in 1863.
    (1997/6660)
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1758
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    16th January 1758

    An early letter written by John Wesley to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817) in Yarm.

    The Merryweathers were a merchant family who were committed Methodists. At the time, Methodism was growing in Yarm, and John Wesley writes: "If the Work of God does so increase at Yarm, we must not let the opportunity slip." He recommends that a travelling preacher visits every Sunday evening, or at least every other Sunday.

    This letter was written a few years before Yarm's octagonal Methodist chapel was built on Merryweather land. See also John Wesley's letter of 5th October 1763 to George Merryweather in the Online Collection.
  • Sacred Harmony - A Set of Tunes Collected by the Late Revd. John Wesley M.A.
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    Edited and revised by Charles Wesley (jnr), 1822

    John Wesley's first 'Sacred Harmony' hymnal was issued in 1780, with a second edition published in 1791. 'Sacred Harmony' was the most substantial collection of hymn tunes published during John Wesley's lifetime, and an acknowledgment of the practice of singing in parts that was commonplace in eighteenth-century Methodism.

    This revised and corrected edition with tunes was published by John Wesley's composer nephew, Charles Wesley (jnr), in 1822.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Mr Gaulter
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    19th February 1790

    Aged 87 and with failing eyesight, Wesley dictated this letter to one of his preachers in Sunderland. The letter is not in Wesley's hand, only the recipient's address and the signature are.

    It appears Mr Gaulter (1765-1839) was having trouble with three individuals involved in the Methodist Society (or circuit) in Sunderland. Wesley calls them "brethren fallen asleep" and, more harshly, "Sinners of the Methodist Society".

    As promised in the letter, John Wesley did indeed visit Sunderland later that year. On 12th June 1790, he preached an evening sermon to a large congregation there. It was his last visit.
  • Wesley's Chapel land title deed
    read more →
    Ink on vellum
    1776

    The title deed of Wesley's Chapel was issued to the trustees of what was called the 'New' or City Road Chapel (today's Wesley's Chapel).

    It includes a site plan and a drawing of the proposed view of the site from City Road by George Dance the Younger (1741-1825), the Architect and Surveyor to the Corporation of London. He was responsible for the design of public buildings in the City.

    The title deed shows that Dance proposed a terrace of five houses facing City Road, at the front of the site. The Chapel, of which there is no design in this deed, was to be hidden completely, accessed by a central columned archway. This suggests that Wesley's Chapel, as a Nonconformist or dissenters meeting house, may not have been regarded as entirely respectable, or on a par with the established Church.

    In the end, only two houses at either end of the proposed terrace were built, apparently both in a simplified version of Dance's design. The central space, today's courtyard, was kept free and the Chapel became visible from City Road.
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Gouache on ivory or bone
    Unidentified artist, late 18th/early 19th century

    This miniature shows John Wesley in old age, his features - in particular his nose - being very strong. Wesley is depicted in in front of books and with what is probably an open bible. It is possible that the pigment the artist used to paint Wesley's skin has faded somewhat, making the latter appear almost ghostly.
  • Rev. Charles Atmore
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    Charles Atmore (1759 - 1826) was born in Heacham in Norfolk. He was an itinerant preacher and was ordained in 1781, opening the first Methodist preaching house in Glasgow. Atmore became a close friend of John Wesley and was included in the 'Legal Hundred'. This was a group of one hundred of Wesley's most able leaders, chosen by Wesley and appointed by him as the policy making body of the Methodist Church following his death.
    (1997/6632)
  • John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1995

    A photograph taken just after the major refurbishment of John Wesley's House in 1995. The image shows Wesley's House to the right and the Chapel in the background.

    The metal entrance gate and railings are original to the house and in part date to 1779. Like the house, they have English Heritage grade I listed status.
  • Bookcase
    read more →
    Mahogany veneered on oak and pine
    c. 1780

    This simple mahogany bookcase belonged to John Wesley. It was made for his sitting room or study. Amongst other books, it used to contain proofing copies of Wesley's own publications.

    The door arrangement is unusual; the upper doors slide, while concealed push buttons release two large folding doors below.
  • Two John Wesley memorial plaques
    read more →
    Ceramic, hand-painted
    late 18th/early 19th century

    Two examples of John Wesley memorial plaques issued after Wesley's death in 1791. Many were produced quite cheaply, so they were accessible to most of his followers. Note the letters 'I M' - 'In Memoriam' (In memory of) - on one of the plaques.

    Compare also to the other commemorative plaques of John Wesley in the Collection.
  • Ribbon cutting ceremony
    read more →
    Photograph
    1995

    In the early 1990, it was decided to present John Wesley's House closer to how it might have appeared when John Wesley lived in it. Following extensive studies and with professional advice, the house was fully refurbished.

    The image shows the re-opening day in 1995, with the Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, cutting the ribbon. Behind her on the right John Wesley looks on, played by a re-enactor.
  • Chamber horse
    read more →
    Wood, leather, metal
    c.1770-80

    This unusual type of chair is an 18th century 'Chamber Horse'. Essentially, chamber horses were exercise chairs. The leather covered part contained a set of metal springs, which, when sat on and pushed, bounced up and down. It was very similar to the motion made as one sat on a trotting horse, so this exercise chair was soon known as a 'chamber' horse. It allowed the user to take exercise when the weather did not permit riding on horseback, or when a horse wasn't available.

    Although this is not John Wesley's, John had a chamber horse just like it. He wrote to his nice Sarah in a letter on August 18, 1790, (when Wesley was 87 years old):
    " You should be sure to take as much exercise every day as you can bear. I wish you would desire ... to send you the chamber-horse out of my dining-room, which you should use half an hour at least daily."
  • Portrait of a gentleman
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, possibly 18th century

    It is likely that this fragment of a painting depicts Charles Wesley. Compare also to John Russell's painting of Charles Wesley in the online Collection.

    Sometime in the past, the work was overlaid with tissue paper, which has fused with the paint.
  • Reverend John Wesley M.A.
    read more →
    Engraving
    After miniature painting by J. Barry, 1825

    This well-known engraving was done after a miniature painting by J. Barry in 1825. Versions of the original painting and this engraving (in varying quality) were used in later Wesleyan hymn books. See also John Mason's 1846 edition of the 'Collection Of Hymns, For The Use Of The People Called Methodists', in the Online Collection.
  • Rev. Frederick James Jobson D.D.
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, 19th century

    The Rev. Frederick James Jobson D.D. (1812 - 1882) became a Wesleyan minister in 1834. His Promotion of the Gothic architectural style was a major influence on Methodist and Nonconformist buildings, especially after his publication 'Chapel and School Architecture' (1850).
    1993/1479
  • Pulpit
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    Photograph
    c.1900

    A view of the pulpit in Wesley's Chapel dating to about 1900.
  • Membership or class ticket
    read more →
    Printed on card
    early 19th century

    Methodism has a strong organisational structure. This includes the issue of membership or 'class' tickets to members of the society or church. This ticket dates to June 1822 and was issued to Mary Tooth, a relation of Samuel Tooth, Methodist local preacher and builder of Wesley's Chapel.

    A strand of Mary Tooth's hair is attached to the ticket with sealing wax. This would have been added later, when the membership ticket became a memento.
  • John Wesley's Cottage
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    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, 1905

    This old thatched cottage in Oxwich, Gower, has gained fame for being the place in which John Wesley stayed and preached on five separate occasions between 1764 and 1771. Wesley was impressed with Oxwich and wrote of Gower as a whole in his Journal:
    "Gower is a large tract of land, bounded by Brecknockshire on the north-east, the sea on the south-west, and rivers on the other side. Here all the people talk English, and are in general the most plain, loving people in Wales. It is, therefore, no wonder that they receive 'the word with all readiness of mind' ".

    The cottage still exists and is now run as a holiday home.

    1996/4818
  • James Calvert of Fiji
    read more →
    Marble
    Unidentified artist, late 1800s

    The Reverend James Calvert (1813-1892) and his wife Mary were a Wesleyan missionary couple in Fiji. He and his wife landed at Lakemba in 1838 and remained in Fiji for the next seventeen years. They were instrumental in the conversion of Cakobau, the most powerful chief in the Fijian islands. Later, Calvert served as missionary in the Diamond Fields of South Africa.

    See also Cakobau's traditional Fijian war club and the Fijian priests' dish in the Online Collection.
  • The Holy Triumph of John Wesley in His Dying
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Marshall Claxton (1811 -1881), c. 1842

    On 2nd March 1791, Methodist founder, Rev John Wesley died at his house in London following a final five day illness. He was 88 years old. It is reported that he sang a final hymn “I ‘II Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath”, his final words being: “Best of all is, God is with us.” Wesley’s ministry re-energized and transformed the expression of Christian faith in Britain and his pastoral and preaching activity generated great enthusiasm. This in turn helped shape and direct Methodism.

    The portrait shows Wesley on his deathbed, surrounded by friends, family and preachers. The work was painted around fifty years after Wesley's death and the artist has employed considerable license, including the dimensions of the room in which Wesley passed away. There is also a tradition which suggests Wesley died in a chair in his Study.

    Marshall Claxton (1811 - 1881) was the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister from Lancashire and painted landscape, portrait and genre paintings. He was known for his depictions of Wesleyan and Methodist subjects and exhibited around 30 paintings at the Royal Academy, including this work.

    1997/6733
  • Portable organ
    read more →
    Wood, ivory, metal
    c.1900-1930

    From the late 19th century, organs became an important part of Methodist musical worship. This travelling organ is a four octave example made in the early 20th century and carried around the streets for evangelistic campaigns or carol singing at Christmas.
  • Prayer Meeting Plan
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1802

    A characteristic feature of Methodism is its methodical structure and the provision of preaching and prayer meeting plans. The plans are essentially a diary of prayer and preaching appointments for preachers and other prayer and worship leaders working within a Methodist 'circuit', or defined groupings of chapels.

    This particular prayer meeting plan is an early printed example showing the arrangements for the City Road and Spitalfields Circuit (today's Wesley's Chapel, City Road Circuit), in 1802. It is interesting - and characteristic of Methodism - that women were accepted and welcome to lead prayer meetings.
  • Hymns For Times Of Trouble And Persecution
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    By John and Charles Wesley, 3rd edition, 1756

    The first edition of 'Hymns for Times of Trouble and Persecution' was released in 1744, in the context of a feared Stuart invasion of Britain from France. Shortly after, with the threat of invasion continuing, the Wesleys issued a second edition, with fifteen new hymns in a section titled “Hymns for Times of Trouble for the Year 1745.” The third edition was printed in 1756, shortly after a major earthquake in Lisbon, which claimed many lives.

    There is good reason to believe that Charles was author of all the hymns in this volume. John's name may have been added to indicate an editorial role and his shared political views.

    This 1756 edition is bound with other pamphlets, a dated list (1776) of which is to the left in Charles Wesley's hand.
  • Courtyard works
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1977

    A photograph taken during the Chapel refurbishment works of the 1970s. The picture shows the Chapel courtyard being re-landscaped.

    Originally, the courtyard landscaping was formal and very symmetrical. The refurbishment works softened the lines of the road and walkways.
  • Pew rent receipt
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    1804 (1809?)

    Pew rents were commonly charged to families or individuals in churches of most faiths until the mid 20th century. It was one of the principal ways of raising church income. The pew rent system often resulted in a kind of social status and hierarchy in church. The pews closest to the altar were usually occupied by the wealthiest of a parish.

    This early receipt features an engraving of the Chapel soon after it was built, with its original round arch portico.
  • John Wesley preaching on his Father's grave
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    mid 1800s

    Another version of the famous scene when John Wesley preached from his father's tombstone to a large congregation outside St Andrew's Church in Epworth in June 1742.

    For further information, see also the oil painting of the same subject in the Online Collection.
  • City Road Wesleyan Chapel
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    A. La Riviere, London, c. 1870

    A Victorian view of Wesley's Chapel, in which the artist has employed considerable license. The Chapel reminds somewhat of a Venetian Palace, in particular the detailing of the windows. Classical or 'Italianate' architectural style was the most admired at that time.
  • The Methodist Hymn Book
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in cardboard
    1904

    The Methodist Hymn Book was a joint publication between the Wesleyan Conference and the Methodist New Connexion. It indicates that attempts to move closer and possibly towards a union of the various Methodist Churches started much earlier than 1932, the year in which Methodist Union was finally achieved.

    Only three years after this hymnal was published, the Methodist New Connexion and the Bible Christians as well as the United Free Methodist Churches merged to form the United Methodist Church.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Joseph Cownley
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    17th September 1755

    A serious letter written by John Wesley in 1755 and addressed to Joseph Cownley (1723-1792). Cownley was a talented Wesleyan Methodist preacher and in regular correspondence with John Wesley. Around this time, Cownley attracted unwanted attention and controversy by administering the sacrament to his listeners which, as a lay person, he was not entitled to.

    Wesley talks of Cownley's health and sleep which, for some time, had not been good. Wesley's advice for better sleep is to be 'as regular as a Clock'. Wesley goes on to comment on Cownley's lack of spiritual well-being, apparently rooted in 'lack of seriousness'. It is possible that this is a veiled reference to and rebuke for Cownley's recent indiscretion.
  • Portrait of John Cennick
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, late 18th or 19th century

    Cennick was an Evangelist and hymnwriter. Born in 1718, he was raised in a strict Anglican home but was only converted to religion in 1737, after a youthful bout of rebellion. Concerned with his spiritual life and having heard of Wesley's 'Holy Club' at Oxford, he travelled to Oxford and met both John Wesley and George Whitefield. For a while, he assisted with the Kingswood School Whitefield and Wesley had set up in Bristol, but soon found himself drawn to open air preaching with Wesley's encouragement.

    Unfortunately, he and Wesley fell out over the role of Christian Perfection and Wesley's doctrine of Arminianism within the new movement. Cennick was suspended from the Kingswood Society in 1741. This brought Cennick closer to Whitefield, and soon after he became his assistant and had pastoral charge of the 'Tabernacle', Whitefield's new church in London, whenever Whitefield was away. Cennick also conducted a campaign of evangelisation in north Wiltshire, and built up a network of societies there.

    By the mid 1740s, increasingly displeased with the Calvinist strand within Whitefield's Methodist movement, Cennick decided join the Moravian Church instead. He spent some time travelling in Europe and visited the Moravian headquarters at Herrnhut, after which he went to Ireland. There, he started dozens of societies and was ordained a Moravian deacon in 1749.

    Cennick died early, in 1755, in London.

    A number of similar portraits of Cennick exist; none is of high quality. It is likely they were all copied from a better portrait, possibly now lost.

    1993/1481
  • The Charter House Hospital
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by W.H. Toms, 1739

    The London Charterhouse was founded as a Carthusian priory in 1371, reportedly on land used as one of the largest London plague pits during the 'Black Death' plague of 1348-49. In 1611, the buildings were bought by Thomas Sutton, who established a school for boys and almshouses for the elderly.

    John Wesley was admitted as a Foundation Scholar at the school in 1714, aged 11. John had been nominated by the Duke of Buckingham and Marquis of Normanby, his father's patron. Foundation Scholars were given financial support by the Charterhouse (or the 'Charter House Hospital', as it was known then), as their fathers could not afford to pay the school fees. John stayed until 1720 and then went on to study at Christ Church, Oxford.

    This engraving shows the Charterhouse much as John would have known it.
  • Portrait of an unknown young man
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c. 1820

    This portrait is listed in the Collection register as an 'unknown young man'. Likely, it is Reverend John Mason; the similarity between the sitter and Mason is striking (compare 1993/1513). Mason became Book Steward at the Book Room, the Methodist Publishing House in City Road, in 1827. For further information about him, refer to 1993/1513.

    1997/6633
  • Wesleyan chapel money box
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, early/mid 19th century

    The design of this money box reflects the Methodist tradition of building preaching houses and small chapels rather than traditional churches with spires. Methodists were often reminded to be thrifty, and to give to good causes.
  • Portrait John Alfred Sharp (1856-1932)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Agnes Clara Tatham (1893–1972), c.1920

    Sharp was born in Dorset in 1856. After working as a carpenter, he was converted by Alexander M'Aulay, after which he trained at Didsbury and Handsworth Colleges. He became particularly interested in social issues and educational affairs. In 1906 he became Connexional Temperance Secretary. Later, between 1911 and 1932, he served as Book Steward in the Methodist Book Room on City Road, the Methodist publishing house.

    Sharp strengthened the Book Room's links with the book trade and also with Churches overseas, and he oversaw many well-known publications whilst in charge. In 1921 he was elected President of Conference.

    1993/1640
  • Original Hymn Tunes Adapted To Every Metre
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1828

    Samuel Wesley (1766-1837) was the son of Charles and nephew of John Wesley. Samuel was a child prodigy - called by some the 'English Mozart' - who began an oratorio aged 6 and became a composer, organist, conductor and lecturer. A man of wide culture, his personal life was unconventional, which contributed to obstacles in his professional life.

    This late work was published in 1828, by which time Samuel had become music adviser to the Wesleyan Methodists. It is inscribed in his hand 'S Wesley'.
  • Portrait of John Fletcher
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by John Jackson, R.A. (1778–1831), Early 19th century

    Born Jean Guillaume de la Fléchère into an aristocratic French family in 1729, Fletcher's early life was spent soldiering and tutoring in England. There, he experienced a religious conversion in 1755, was ordained in 1757 and made the acquaintance of the Wesley brothers and Selina, Countess of Huntingdon. Fletcher became the Countess's chaplain but was also involved closely with the parish of Madeley and Colebrookdale. Fletcher proved a good preacher and got involved in Methodism more widely.

    Close to Wesley and the Countess, Fletcher ultimately found himself at the centre of the controversy between Calvinist and Arminian Methodism, in which he chose (and fiercely defended) Wesley's Arminian side. His final contributions to the controversy, 'The Doctrines of Grace and Justice' and 'The Reconciliation', suggest that Calvinism and Arminianism should co-exist.

    Many contemporaries regarded Fletcher as an example of John Wesley's teachings of Christian Perfection and possible successor to Wesley.



    1993/1643
  • Wesley memorabilia display
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1910-30

    An early 20th century photograph showing a John Wesley House display case with Wesley memorabilia. These include Wesley's glasses, his night cap and his mother's needle case.
  • Window fragment
    read more →
    Wood, glass
    late 18th century

    On 6th December 1879 a large fire burnt down the Morning Chapel and part of the main sanctuary at Wesley's Chapel. All windows on one side of the building were destroyed, as was the ornate Chapel ceiling and parts of the gallery. Later, the remaining Chapel windows were re-glazed with stained and patterned glass.

    This window fragment removed after the fire is all that remains of the original Chapel windows.
  • Ship model
    read more →
    Wod, paper, fabric
    c.1860-1900

    A wooden ship model of the 'John Wesley'. The 'John Wesley' was built in 1846 and was 90ft long and 25ft wide. She had with twin masts and a double hull for protection from the coral reefs of the South Pacific, where she was to sail.

    The 'John Wesley' served the Methodist Missions in the South Seas for nineteen years. During this time, she returned to England only once in 1850, for repairs and to be fitted with iron tanks for transporting coconut oil. Sadly, she was thrown onto a Tongan reef during a violent storm in 1865 and foundered, luckily without loss of life.
  • Portrait of Mrs Bradburn
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, Late 18th/early 19th century

    Mrs Bradburn was the wife of the Rev. Samuel Bradburn (1751–1816), who was a Methodist preacher, an associate of John Wesley, and a follower of John Fletcher of Madeley. Little is known of Mrs Bradburn; she may have been the first or second wife of Samuel, his first wife passing away in 1786 of consumption (tuberculosis).

    1993/1636
  • Breast pin
    read more →
    Metal
    18th century

    A breast pin containing a lock of hair. The accompanying label identifies the hair as Susanna Wesley's, mother of John Wesley. The pin and label were originally exhibited in March 1891 at a 'Centenary Exhibition Of Wesley Relics, etc'
  • Chest of drawers
    read more →
    Mahogany venneer on pine
    c.1780

    A small mahogany veneer chest of drawers, with a first generation (c.1890s), bakelite museum label attached stating it was John Wesley's.

    The chest of drawers is of good quality but plain. Perhaps it was acquired to furnish Wesley's new house in 1779 when he moved in. It certainly looks similar in age and overall plain style to other furniture in the house, notably the mahogany bookcase in Wesley's Study. All original furniture pieces in John Wesley's House recall John Wesley's comment about Wesley's Chapel (then the 'New' Chapel) in 1778: "The Chapel is neat but not fine."

    The chest of drawers is seen in Wesley's bedroom; the bedstead is a modern reproduction.
  • John Wesley (1703-1791)
    read more →
    Oil on board
    Painted by Richard Gilmore Douglas (b.c.1937), 1990

    A portrait of Wesley painted at the end of the 20th century in an older tradition.

    Richard Gilmore Douglas is a painter of John Wesley, the Wesley family, and Francis Asbury. He trained in Theology at Rhodes University and gained a B.Ed. degree from Durham University.

    1994/1733
  • Wesley's Chapel exterior 1778
    read more →
    Lithograph
    Worked by J. Knight and published in George J. Stephenson's 'City Road Chapel, London and its associations: historical, biographical and memorial', 1872

    A 19th century view of how the New or City Road Chapel (today's Wesley's Chapel) would have appeared shortly after completion in 1778. Although some of the brick detailing is different today and the entrance portico was replaced around 1820, the Chapel is essentially still recognisable.
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Papier mache
    c. 1930-50

    'Mission', in particular the conversion to Christianity of indigenous people, became an important aspect of Methodist work as the 19th century progressed. There were many small Methodist missionary societies which eventually, in 1932, merged to become the Methodist Missionary Society. This operated in Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

    This novelty collection box in the shape of a post box was used to collect money in Churches and further afield for the work of the Society.
  • Busts of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Inspired by the model by Enoch Wood (1759-1840), Staffordshire, 1820s

    Two busts of John Wesley loosely based on the bust modelled by Enoch Wood in 1784 but produced by other artists and manufacturers. One bust is dated '1824', the other is undated. Both busts are crudely modelled and fancifully decorated. They are also smaller than Wood's model. As the years passed, Wesley busts became cruder and less realistic.

    Compare also to the Wood-modelled busts of John Wesley in the Collection.
  • The Revd John Wesley as an Old Man
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Frank O. Salisbury (1874–1962), 1932

    The rather grand and austere portrait depicts John Wesley in old age. It was painted posthumously in 1932, to commemorate the coming together of the Wesleyan Methodist, the United Methodist and the Primitive Methodist denominations that year.

    Having Methodist roots himself, Frank O. Salisbury arranged and paid for the restoration of John Wesley's House in City Road in 1934. Salisbury painted many easel pictures of historical events and religious and allegorical scenes, as well as mural scenes for buildings. He painted five British prime ministers, five US presidents, and many other notable personalities of the interwar years (c. 1918-1939).

    For his self portrait, see 1992/419 in the Collection.
    1997/6654
  • Portrait of Thomas Coke
    read more →
    Gouache on ivory
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    Thomas Coke (1747-1814) was the first Methodist bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Americas and is sometimes referred to as the Father of Methodist Missions.

    Born in Brecon, South Wales, Coke met John Wesley in 1776, becoming one of his closest assistants. Wesley called Coke "the flea" because he seemed always to be hopping around from one place to another.
    Controversially, John Wesley consecrated Coke for the work in the Americas which, theoretically, only bishops were able to do. Then, in December 1784, a conference of Methodist preachers was held at Baltimore. At this Coke, together with Francis Asbury, was elected superintendent and the Church was constituted as an independent body under the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1787 the American Methodist Conference formally endorsed the title of 'bishop' instead of superintendent.

    Coke later returned to England and hoped to open Methodist missions in the East Indies. He set sail for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 30 December 1813 but died after four months at sea.

    1992/12
  • Necessaire set
    read more →
    Metal, cardboard
    late 18th/early 19th century

    A 'necessaire' is a small ornamental case or etui for pencils, scissors, tweezers, and other small and useful items. They were often used by people on their travels. This case belonged to ‘M.Emett, Methodist Preacher’. He entered the Church in 1791 and was stationed in the Yarmouth Circuit in Norfolk.
  • Daniel, the Statesman of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Portrait of Rev. John Atlay
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, late 18th/early 19th century

    John Atlay (born 1736) was John Wesley's book steward at the City Road Chapel. The book steward was responsible for the day-to-day management of the so-called 'Book Room', Methodism's (and Wesley's) first publishing house. The Book Room used to be on City Road also, virtually next door to the Chapel. Atlay managed to reduce the debts of the Book Room in the 1770s and turned the business around in the 1780s - although Wesley tended to spend any surplus monies freely and as he saw fit.

    1993/1511
  • Model of Chapel site
    read more →
    Cardboard, pvc, paint
    c.1980

    A model of Wesley's Chapel and the surrounding site. To the left of the entrance and in front of the Chapel are the ministers' manse and the Benson office building, to the right John Wesley's House and behind (not fully visible) the former Curate's House, now offices. The Chapel is in the background.

    The model was commissioned as a working model, prior to building the large mirrored office building at the back of the Chapel in the early 1980s. The model shows the Victorian Benson building office block in the forecourt replaced with a square mirrored structure. This was not built, to preserve the architectural character of the courtyard.
  • John Wesley's wig
    read more →
    Horse (?) hair woven onto cotton cap
    c.1780

    Believed to be John Wesley's wig, which was handed down in his family. Wesley would have worn this wig in later life; in younger years, he wore his own hair, preferring to give the money saved by doing thus to the poor.

    Originally, the upper part of the wig cap would have been covered with hair, too. It is likely this would have been human hair, while the lower part was made from another organic material, possibly horsehair. This would have been more suitable for curling. The human hair has disintegrated over time, while the other hair has lasted and kept its shape.

    The wig is displayed on Wesley's death mask. Its fit is remarkable and the overall appearance recalls portraits of John Wesley in old age.
  • Portrait of a young man (detail)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    C.1860

    Likely, the unidentified young man in this portrait was a preacher. Sadly, we know nothing of him or his background.

    1993/1616
  • Chinese teapot
    read more →
    Earthenware
    Probably 1800s

    This small teapot belonged to David Hill (1840-1896). Hill was a British Wesleyan Methodist missionary in China in the mid 1800s. He served with the English Wesleyan Methodist Society, primarily in Hankow.

    Hill established a hospital and homes for the aged, the blind, and orphans and his evangelical work extended outside the boundaries of existing Methodist circuits in China. This resulted in the formation of the Central China Lay Mission in the 1880s.
  • 'Cockfighting' or reading chair
    read more →
    Walnut and imitation leather (replaced)
    c.1720-30

    This chair, with broad armrests that form a yoke with the back rail and to which a collapsible reading desk is attached, was a library or reading chair. It became known later as a 'cockfighting' chair, because this type of chair was often illustrated in paintings and engravings of cockfights. Cockfights were a very popular - if cruel and bloody - pastime in the 18th century and often took place in the backyards of inns and pubs.

    The seat of the chair is shaped so that the sitter can either sit normally or astride, facing the collapsible desk at the back of the chair. The large armrests made the latter position comfortable. Beneath one armrest is a hidden pen tray; underneath the other there would have been a fold-out brass candlestick, now missing. The desk flap has a compartment for storing paper, and beneath the seat is a drawer for storing documents.

    The chair is an early example of this type. By tradition, it was given to John Wesley by a penitent, former cock-fight-loving man Wesley converted to Methodism. More likely, perhaps, it was a gift from a well-to-do patron.
  • Snuff box
    read more →
    Wood, carved
    c. 1780-1800

    This little snuff box belonged to Thomas Coke (1747-1814). Coke was the first Methodist bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Americas and is sometimes referred to as the Father of Methodist Missions.

    Snuff is a form of smokeless tobacco which is made from ground tobacco leaves. It is inhaled (or 'snuffed'). Snuff originated in the Americas but was popular in Europe from the 1600s. It may be that Coke acquired the habit for snuff whilst living in America in the 1780s. Fittingly, the snuff box is in the shape of a book.
  • Refurbishment of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    1970s

    By the 1970s, the Chapel was in a very bad state of repair. The foundations were giving way, there was wood rot in many places and the Chapel needed extensive roof repairs. The situation was critical and there were some who wanted to demolish the historic structure and replace it with a new building. Luckily, with help from Methodists around the world, the Chapel was saved. The photograph shows the roof works under way, some months before the re-opening of the Chapel in November 1978.
  • Portrait of Hugh Bourne
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    Hugh Bourne (1772 - 1852) and William Clowes (1780 - 1851) were joint founders of the Primitive Methodist movement, the largest offshoot of Wesleyan Methodism. Primitive Methodism, the Wesleyan Methodists and the United Methodists re-united in 1932, establishing Methodist Union.
    1993/1476
  • John Wesley's bureau bookcase
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1898

    This late Victorian image of John Wesley's bureau and a small table also in his possession was taken in Wesley's bedroom. Likely, this is one of the first photographs of the newly-opened museum rooms, taken around 1898.
  • Thomas Coke’s Travelling Desk and writing tools
    read more →
    Mahogany
    early 19th century

    Thomas Coke (1747-1814) was a friend and close associate of John Wesley. Controversially, he was ‘ordained’ by Wesley as superintendent of the Methodist cause in America, which eventually helped cause the split between the Church of England and the Methodists. Coke dreamt of setting up a Methodist Mission in India but died at sea on his way to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1814.
  • John Wesley pulpit and clock statuette
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, mid 19th century

    Another John Wesley pulpit and clock statuette made in the Staffordshire potteries in the 19th century. It is very similar to the gothic-style pulpit statuette featuring in the online Collection and depicts a clock, probably to emphasise the passing of time and as a reminder to lead a worthy life. Like most pieces of 'Wesleyana', they were decorative items which had a strong moral message.
  • The Holy Family
    read more →
    Oil on panel (oak)
    School of Godfried Schalcken, likely 1600s

    A portrait of the Holy Family.

    The scene is painted in the style of the Dutch Old Masters. It is similar to work by Godfried Schalcken (or Gottfried Schalken),1643 –1706. Schalcken was a Dutch portrait and genre painter. Schalcken's work was very detailed and finely painted, and he was particularly celebrated for reproducing candlelight.

    See also the painting of 'Paul at the Gate of the Temple Easing the Suffering' in the Online Collection, likely painted by the same artist.

    1993/1487
  • John Wesley's bureau bookcase
    read more →
    Walnut veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c.1715-30

    This bureau, with a mirrored bookcase above, was John Wesley's. It was made early in the 18th century, unlike most of the furniture in John Wesley's House. Wesley probably already owned this piece when he moved into this house in 1779. It is possible the bureau was a family piece, a gift, or purchased second hand sometime in the mid 18th century.

    The bureau is of excellent quality, veneered in walnut, with an elaborate interior and a number of secret compartments. These compartments proved very useful one night in the 1780s, when Wesley's House was broken into but the thieves did not discover numerous gold coins hidden in one of them!

    The elaborately-bevelled mirrors in the upper doors and the three vase finials are Victorian replacements.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Ann ('Nancy') Smith
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    16th June 1769

    A letter written by John Wesley to Ann ('Nancy') Smith in 1769. Wesley speaks repeatedly of love for the recipient, and offers her accommodation - 'whether single or married' - at Kingswood or Bristol.

    Wesley felt deep spiritual comradeship with a number of women but these relationships were not sexual. However, taken out of context it is easy to see why intimate letters such as this one led to arguments in Wesley's marriage to Mary ('Molly') Vazeille. Molly was an independent woman, by all accounts rather jealous, too, and she was convinced such letters were proof of his infidelity.
  • Amos, the Spokesman of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Portrait of Anna Kull
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by James Smetham (1821-1889), 1857

    Born in Austria, Anna Kull (1841-1923) was probably the best known mid 19th century female Cellist and a child prodigy. She spent much of her youth travelling through Europe on concert tours. Aged 12 she first performed in London (1853), and then visited again in 1857, when this portrait was painted. Her final performance in the English capital took place in 1859. Kull withdrew from public performances in 1860 aged only 19, although she lived to the age of 82.

    James Smetham (1821 – 1889) was an English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painter and engraver. He was a follower of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

    1997/6642
  • John Wesley's bedroom
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1930-50

    A mid-20th century postcard view of John Wesley's bedroom. Note the stripped woodwork which was then fashionable, and the arrangement of Wesley ceramics inside the lit display cases. The pewter plates on the mantelshelf were once used for collections in church.
  • Trunk
    read more →
    Leather on wood carcase
    1700s

    This large trunk dates to the 1700s and would have been used when travelling by coach. Judging by its size and good condition, the trunk was probably used for travel by private (not mail) coach.

    Although the trunk has been in John Wesley's House for many years, we have no documentary evidence that it belonged to John or indeed the Wesley family.
  • Portrait of Christ
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    by Herbert Beecroft (1864-1951), 1927

    And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the Lord’s words; “Tonight before the cock crows you will disown me three times (Luke XXII.61)

    This painting is among the most reproduced paintings of Christ of all time. Beecroft lived in Reading and attended Methodist Church there, before emigrating to Australia in 1905.
  • Letter from William Wilberforce to Robert Carr Brackenbury
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of two, 15th September 1807

    This dictated letter of thanks was sent by William Wilberforce (1759-1833) to Robert Carr Brackenbury (1752-1818).

    Brackenbury was a wealthy Lincolnshire landowner who had been influenced by John Wesley from an early age, built chapels and was very active promoting the Methodist cause. Wilberforce, a fellow Methodist, was the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. This took twenty years to secure.

    The letter is an acknowledgement of and thanks for Carr Brackenbury's public support of Wilberforce during the 1807 parliamentary session. This session was crucial in securing the Slave Trade Act that year.

    Interestingly, the letter was written as late as September 1807 - royal assent to the Act had been granted in March - which would indicate that Wilberforce was extremely busy that year. This may also explain why Wilberforce added the note that he could not acknowledge and thank "every friend within your circle" who had supported him.
  • Commemorative ring
    read more →
    Yellow metal, glass and hair
    late 18th century

    This commemorative ring contains woven braids of hair, reputedly the hair of John Wesley and John Fletcher. Jewellery pieces featuring hair, either of living or deceased persons, were not unusual in the 18th and 19th centuries. Often, they were used in 'mourning' jewellery, worn after a person passed away.

    The ring is in its original cardboard box.
  • Portable pulpit or preaching stand
    read more →
    Metal and wood
    mid 20th century

    This portable, folding preaching stand was used regularly by Donald Oliver Soper, Baron Soper (1903 –1998) at London's Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park.

    Soper was a Methodist minister, pacifist and socialist, who was known for his powerful preaching and wit. From 1936 until his retirement in 1978, he was the minister of Kingsway Hall, the home of the West London Methodist Mission. The mission exercised a ministry of practical care for marginalised groups. Soper served as President of Conference in 1953-54 and was awarded a life peerage in 1965.
  • Mrs Charles Wesley, by unknown artist
    read more →
    Oil on board
    early 19th century

    Sarah ('Sally') Gwynne (1726-1822) married Charles Wesley in 1749. The marriage was happy and produced two sons, both well-known musicians. The portrait shows Mrs Wesley in old age.
    (1997/6629)
  • Francis Asbury, by unknown artist
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    mid-19th century

    Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in north America, today's United Methodist Church. John Wesley had chosen - practically ordained - him and Thomas Coke for overseeing and directing Methodism in the Americas, which caused great controversy back home and contributed to a separation of Methodists from the Anglican Church.
    (1993/1643)
  • Letter
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    From John Wesley to his wife, Mary (Molly) nee Vazeille, 21 May 1756

    John Wesley's marriage was difficult almost from the start. John and Molly got married in 1751. Both were in their forties, headstrong and used to having their own way. Five years into their marriage, this letter hints at trouble. The opening lines are tense, followed by John's complaint that his wife is negligent in writing. He in turn writes of the overarching importance of the ministry and travel in his life, "But my journeys are first". This caused many arguments.

    John and Molly split up in 1758. They got back together and split again over the following years until Molly left John for good in 1771.

    See also John Wesley's letter of 10th July, 1756 to his wife in the Online Collection.
  • Letter from William Wilberforce to Reverend George Marsden
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of three, 18th February 1824

    A letter written by William Wilberforce (1759-1833) to Rev. George Marsden (1765-1838) about the good that has already been achieved vis-à-vis the abolition of slavery, and the effect of the Sunday newspapers.

    Wilberforce writes:" As for the Sunday newspapers, no one can be more deeply impressed than myself with a sense of their being vicious in principle, and injurious in their effect (…)" Unfortunately, it is not quite clear from the letter how exactly the newspapers influenced or injured the abolitionist cause - perhaps by reporting negatively on abolitionist activities?

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.

    See also the other letters from William Wilberforce in the Online Collection.
  • Two pieces of fabric
    read more →
    Printed cotton
    18th century

    According to a 19th century tradition, these pieces of fabric were taken from John Wesley's bed hangings. They probably date to the mid 18th century, when Indian chintz designs were very popular. They were used for clothing and as furnishing fabrics. Unfortunately, John Wesley's bed does not survive.
  • Re-opening of John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    1995

    An image of the re-opening of John Wesley's House in 1995 following refurbishment.

    In the early 1990s, it was decided to present John Wesley's House closer to how it might have appeared when John Wesley lived in it. Following extensive studies and with professional advice, the house was fully refurbished.

    The image shows the re-opening day in 1995, with the President of Conference, the Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, and the then minister of the Chapel in the centre of the picture.
  • Field bed
    read more →
    Wood, fabric, metal
    c.1990

    This four poster or 'field' bed is on display in John Wesley's bedroom. Beds such as these could be dismantled easily and used to be taken on military campaigns and into the 'field'.

    The bed is not original. As Wesley's bed has not survived, this one was made for John Wesley's House when the house was last re-displayed in the 1990s. It is a copy of a bed published in one of the many furniture pattern books of the late 1700s.
  • Second Isaiah: The Forerunner of God's Great Day
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Country rocking chair
    read more →
    Oak, fabric
    c. 1760-1790

    This oak country rocking chair was probably made in Wales. It is a piece of 'Wesleyana', with an association to John Wesley.

    By family tradition, Wesley visited the cottage of the owners of this chair and sat in it, after which it was passed down in the family. Later, it was presented to the museum and is now on display in John Wesley's House.

    The photograph shows it in about 1950.
  • Portrait of Roger Crane
    read more →
    Oil on wood panel
    Unidentified artist, ca. 1820

    Roger Crane (1758-1836) joined the Wesleyan Methodist society in Preston after a controversy in the Presbyterian church in which he had grown up. He became a local preacher and became known as one of the 'Apostles of the Fylde', together with William Bramwell and Michael Emmett. Crane was known for eloquent and powerful preaching and became one of the leaders of Lancashire Methodism. He met John Wesley on a number of visits to Lancashire in the 1780s.

    The portrait requires conservation.
  • Portrait of a young man in gown and bands
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c.1750-1800

    The identity of the young man in this picture, like that of the artist, is unknown. It is likely he was a young Methodist preacher, possibly within John Wesley's circle. There is a tantalizing similarity to John Cennick, see 1993/1481 in the Collection. It is interesting that the sitter chose to have himself painted in front of a background of gothic church architecture when the fashion would have been for all things classical. This may indicate that he wanted to associate himself with the values of the traditional Church and emphasise the respectability of his faith. Alternatively, the work may have been commissioned as a commemorative portrait.

    We know nothing of the painter but the portrait is of good quality. The colouring suggests the painter was influenced by Old Master paintings; or the client asked for this traditional rendering to emphasise the message he wanted to convey.

    1993/1637
  • Artwork
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    2003

    This artwork was produced by Katherine Baxter to commemorate the 300th birth of John Wesley.

    Katherine Baxter is a map illustrator. After leaving Bath Academy of Art and exploring different avenues of illustration, she started focusing on map illustration. In her own words: "I felt I really had found my true passion, and in a way it fulfils a deep psychological need of knowing where I’m going."
  • Letter from John Wesley to Duncan Wright, 1772
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    21st January 1772

    A further letter from John Wesley to Duncan Wright (1736-1791) in Scotland.

    Here, Wesley discusses travel plans for his visit to Scotland that year and asks whether all societies (circuits) in Scotland are supplied with the necessary (hymn) books. He advises Wright: " The Success of the work greatly depends on the constant change of the Preachers & the showing of the whole Methodist, both as to Doctrine and Discipline in every place."

    For further information on Duncan Wright, see also Wesley's 1771 letter to him in the Online Collection.
  • John Pawson
    read more →
    Oil on board
    By unknown artist, late 18th century

    John Pawson (1737 - 1806) was superintendent of the Chapel in City Road after John Wesley. He became known for burning Wesley's annotated secular books after his death, including Shakespeare, in an effort to control Wesley's posthumous image.
  • Adam Clarke and two former Buddhists
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Alexander Mosses, 1820

    Adam Clarke (1760 - 1832) is depicted in his library with two former Buddhist monks.

    Arriving in England in May 1818, the two monks were met by Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke (1762-1832), an Irish Methodist and well known scholar on the New Testament. Clarke looked after the monks. In 1820, he wrote: ‘did so; and in doing it encountered many difficulties, which, because the good hand of my God was upon me, I surmounted; and, after twenty months instruction under my own roof, I was fully convinced that they were sincere converts to the Christian religion, and that their minds were under a very gracious influence. At their own earnest desire I admitted them into the church of Christ by baptism’.

    Later in life, Adam Clarke would become a notable collector of Arabic, Persian and Syriac Manuscripts and he was the composer of the epitaph on John Wesley's tomb.

    1992/496
  • New Chapel, City Road
    read more →
    Engraving
    Published by John Hindmarsh, 1779

    This view shows the New Chapel (today’s Wesley’s Chapel) shortly after it was built. Wesley described the Chapel as ‘neat but not fine’. Although changes have been made over the years Wesley would still recognise ‘his’ City Road Chapel today.
  • Reverend John Wesley (1703–1791), MA
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, late 18th century

    Another contemporary or near-contemporary depiction of John Wesley. Nothing is known of the artist. The colouring is deliberately suggestive of Old Master paintings and is similar to many other portraits of John Wesley.

    Interestingly, whilst the chin, mouth and nose compare to other portraits of Wesley and are probably good likenesses, the eyes are quite different.

    1997/6653
  • Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    1899

    This unusual photograph dates just before 1900. Unlike most early images of the Chapel, it shows the whole site, including John Wesley's House to the right and the (then newly-built) ministers' manse to the left.

    At the time, the Chapel had a small cupola on the roof. Probably, this was added for venting once gas lighting was installed, which gave off heat and created soot.

    The landscaping of the forecourt in the image is still as laid out in the late 1700s. The straight lines of the pavement were removed and softened in the late 1970s when the Chapel was refurbished.
  • Letter
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Written by John Wesley, June 1738

    This first page of a letter John Wesley wrote to his mother Susanna from Amsterdam on June 19th, 1738.

    The letter was written only shortly after Wesley's conversion experience in May 1738 and on his way to Herrnhut in Germany,
    where he went to study with some Moravian brethren. Wesley had become greatly impressed with the Moravians' deep piety while travelling with them on his voyage across the Atlantic a few years earlier.

    In the letter, Wesley records his impression of Holland. He counters the 18th century English prejudice, that Dutch people were 'slovenly, unpolished people'. Instead, his first-hand experience showed him that the Dutch were 'neat' and everything was remarkably clean - possibly more so than he was used to from home!

    The letter is dated 'OS', or 'old style'. England adopted the Gregorian calendar formally in 1752, much later than Catholic countries, by which time it was necessary to push the Julian or 'old style' calendar forward by 11 days. In practice, different parts of the UK began using the new style informally at different times. This may explain Wesley's insertion of 'OS' in 1738.
  • Clock
    read more →
    Walnut veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c.1715-30

    By tradition, this clock was given to John Wesley by a member of his Society. It was made by the well-known French Huguenot clockmaker, Claude Duchesne, who had a workshop in Long Acre, in central London. It is one of his less elaborate clocks but is of excellent quality and has an early moon phase, as well as an eight day movement.
  • John Wesley II Missionary Ship
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Sketched and engraved by George Baxter, Northampton Square, London, c.1870

    There were four Methodist Missionary ships in the 19th century; the Duff (1796 onwards), the Triton (1839-1846), the John Wesley (1846-1865) and the John Wesley II (1866-1881). Each one was tasked with taking missionaries and supplies from the UK to the Pacific.

    The John Wesley II missionary ship replaced the John Wesley, which had been hit by a violent storm and broke up on a Tongan reef in 1865. The JW II had three masts, was 117 feet in length and cost £3,400 to build, then a great deal of money. She reached Australia in 1867 and served a growing number of mission stations . In 1881, the ship was sold for commercial use, as steam powered ships were proving more viable and suited to the work of the Mission.
  • Cast of John Wesley's death mask
    read more →
    Plaster
    20th century

    This is a cast taken from the original death mask of John Wesley. A death mask is a likeness of a person's face after their death, usually produced by taking an impression from the deceased person's body.

    Death masks are often highly realistic. Before the days of photography, death masks served sculptors as models for creating busts and statues of the deceased individual. By the time John Wesley died, such masks were beginning to be valued and collected in their own right, especially if the person was of high social standing or well known.

    An engraving of John Wesley on his death bed is displayed behind the mask.
  • Moses, the Friend of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Lease of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Ink on vellum
    1779

    This is the original Chapel lease signed by John Wesley and the trustees of the Chapel on 9th June, 1779. By its terms, Wesley leased the Chapel and grounds for "59 years from Ladyday 1779 at the cost of £76 and 14 shillings for the first year and... £96 and 14 shillings for the residue of the term".

    'Lady Day' was an old fashioned term even in 1779. It was the traditional day on which year-long contracts between landowners and tenant farmers would begin and end in England and the old start of the Julian legal year, technically phased out in 1752. In 1779, in the new Gregorian calendar and with various date adjustments, it would have referred to the 5th April. A remnant of this arrangement remains in the start and end of the tax year in Britain (i.e. 6th April).
  • Portrait of a young woman in a lace bonnet
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, Early 19th century

    Artist and sitter are unidentified. It is possible the young lady was a preacher or a Sunday School leader. The portrait is sensitively and well painted, the dark background emphasising the whiteness of the bonnet and colour of the young woman's skin.

    1997/6658
  • Loving cup
    read more →
    Printed ceramic
    c. 1839-42

    The first loving cups were used amongst Methodists in the 18th century at "love feasts." They gathered for these feasts at private homes, small chapels or simply in small groups, praying, reading the Scriptures, and testifying to God's love in their lives. Unlike Holy Communion, the love feast, or 'agape' meal, recalls the meals other than the Last Supper which Jesus shared with the disciples and others.

    Loving cups have two handles for passing water from one participant to the next. The tradition of the love feast still continues in Methodist churches in slightly amended form.

    This black-printed cup was produced to commemorate the establishment of the first Wesleyan Methodist society in 1739 and the building of a new Centenary Mission Hall in Bishopsgate, London.

    See also the other examples of 'love feast' or loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley preaching in Ireland
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Maria Sppilsbury Taylor, 1815

    John Wesley visited Ireland twenty-one times between 1747 and 1789. On his last visit, in 1789, he preached under the Spanish chestnut tree depicted in the painting. Spilsbury Taylor painted the scene after Wesley's death, in 1815, which accounts for the early 19th century garments and hair fashions.
    1997/6628
  • Horse riding spurs
    read more →
    Metal
    1700s

    These horse riding spurs are reputed to have belonged to John Wesley. Every year, John Wesley travelled hundreds of miles and made many long distance journeys, a lot of which on horseback.

    Spurs are attached to the heels of riding boots for the purpose of making a horse move forward. They are usually used to back up the rider’s natural aid, such as seat, leg, hands and voice, to encourage the horse to move.
  • Portrait of Ann Griffiths (1776-1805)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified painter, late 18th or early 19th century

    Ann Griffiths (nee Thomas) was born in Montgomeryshire into a devout Welsh family. A sermon by Benjamin Jones of Pwllheli led to her conversion. In 1797 she joined the Methodist society at Pont Robert and started writing hymns with figurative language and rich scriptural allusions.

    Ann Griffiths died in 1805 in childbirth, a year after her marriage to Thomas Griffiths (also a Methodist). She was remembered as 'a woman of extraordinary piety and prayer' and is still one of the best-known hymn writers in the Welsh language.

    The painting was once thought to have been after a work by Gainsborough but the dates do not match; Gainsborough died in 1788, when Ann Griffiths would have been only twelve years old.

    1997/6630
  • Letter from John Wesley to Duncan Wright, 1771
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    20th December 1771

    A letter full of advice written by John Wesley to Duncan Wright (1736-1791). Wright was an itinerant preacher who was noted for travelling with Wesley all over the United Kingdom in the 1760s and later for preaching in Gaelic in the Sottish Highlands.

    In this 1771 letter, Wesley advises to rotate the preachers regularly in Scotland, especially in Edinburgh. Knowing the locals from experience, he notes that only 'plain, blunt speakers, or none at all, will do good there'. On a very personal note, he tells Wright to act as a 'whole' (or through and through) Methodist wherever he goes, and believe in himself.

    Wright died the same year as John Wesley (1791). He was buried alongside Wesley in his tomb behind the Chapel in City Road London, today's Wesley's Chapel.
  • Communion cup in travelling case
    read more →
    Copper alloy, leather
    early to mid 18th century

    This communion cup with its leather travelling case is reputed to have been John Wesley's. Originally it would have been plated, but the plating has worn off. The travelling case would have kept the cup safe from damage and unnecessary wear. The decorative shape of the cup and the elaborate tooling of the leather case indicate quality, but not luxury.
  • Letter from George Whitefield to Charles Wesley
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of four, 30 December 1736

    An interesting letter from George Whitefield, the well-known evangelical preacher and fellow Holy Club member, to Charles Wesley.

    The letter was written following Charles's return to England in 1736, while his brother John was still serving in Savannah, Georgia. The letter makes clear Whitefield feels called to join John Wesley in Georgia, but also criticises Charles for serving as the governor's secretary when 'Labourers are so much wanted in the quality of a Missionary'.

    Whitefield was to arrive in Georgia in May 1738, by which time John Wesley had already left. Whitefield became the leader of the American evangelical awakening.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.
  • Select Hymns with Tunes Annext
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1770

    'Select Hymns with Tunes Annext' was originally published in 1761. It is an interesting volume in that it helps one understand John Wesley’s attitude towards music in 18th century Methodist worship. It comprises about 100 tunes which are presented in melody, with some notes on how to read music and John Wesley’s ‘Directions for Singing’.

    The hymnal contains many influences. These include psalm tunes, folk tunes, German-influences hymns but also tunes resembling the fashionable music of the day, music Wesley's followers would have been familiar with.
  • Epworth Bible
    read more →
    Leather, paper

    This bible was found under some outside stairs and in rubble at Epworth Rectory in the mid 19th century. The bible dates to the 17th century and is partially singed. It is likely that it survived the fire of 1709, which burned the old rectory to the ground.

    Inside the bible are a number of ink childrens' doodles, especially of animals and birds. It is possible these were drawn by the Wesley children.
  • Television Recording
    read more →
    Photograph
    1983

    Another image of the recording of Songs of Praise in the Chapel on 10th March 1983. The camera equipment was mounted on a chassis in various locations in the Chapel, so the recording views could be varied. The bulk of the cameras is very obvious in this photograph.
  • Statuette of John Wesley
    read more →
    Bronze
    Modelled by John Adams-Acton (1830-1910), c.1890-91

    This statuette of John Wesley was a maquette or model sculpted by John Adams-Acton (1830-1910). The maquette served as the model for the statue of John Wesley in the courtyard of Wesley's Chapel, which was sculpted in 1891.

    Adams-Acton exhibited at the Royal Academy and sculpted the Wesley memorial in Westminster Abbey, the Cruikshank memorial in St Paul's Cathedral and a memorial of Cardinal Manning in Westminster Cathedral. He was well-known as a modeller and sculptor of public figures in Victorian Britain.
  • Dresser
    read more →
    Pine, painted
    c.1779

    This pine dresser was made for John Wesley's House and has always been in the kitchen in the basement. Although technically a free-standing piece of furniture, wall panelling behind it has been built in such a way that the back of the dresser fits neatly and flush into the panelling.

    Like today, the dresser would have held crockery, pots and kitchen utensils. It was probably painted a shade of grey-green originally, like most of the woodwork in the house.
  • John Wesley on his way to America
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    c.1840

    A Victorian illustration of John Wesley in 1735, on shipboard to Georgia in America. The ship was thrown about in storms and Wesley admired the collective calm of a Moravian group of fellow travellers, who were praying and singing without fear. For some years after, Wesley was influenced by Moravian thought and doctrine.
  • Wesley's belongings
    read more →
    Various
    1770-90

    These items belonged to John Wesley. They include a travel case, his glasses, cufflinks, an indoor hat (worn either whilst studying or in bed), and books.
  • Busts of John Wesley and George Whitefield
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    Sculpted by Enoch Wood (1759-1840), c.1790-1800

    Two busts by Enoch Wood of the two great evangelists of the 18th century, John Wesley and George Whitefield. Both busts are sensitively modelled and expertly-decorated. Note Whitefield's prominent mole and squint; Whitefield was famous for being cross-eyed.

    Compare also to the other Enoch Wood busts of Wesley in the Collection.
  • Brooch
    read more →
    Gemstones and metal
    c. 1950

    This small diamond and Burmese sapphire brooch in the form of the letter ‘W’ stands for ‘Women’s Work'.

    The stones in uncut form were given as a thank you and retirement present to Mrs Harold Crawford Walters, wife of a Methodist missionary in Burma (now Myanmar), in 1930. She had participated very actively in his work. After her death, Mr Crawford Walters' second wife had the stones cut and set in a brooch in the form of a 'W'. She then donated the brooch as a badge of office for the President of the North Lancashire District of the Methodist Missionary Society ' Women’s Work'.

    The Methodist Missionary Society 'Women’s Work' trained, equipped and financed the sending of women missionaries overseas. Although not without ethical issues from today's perspective, the society empowered women at a time when it was still expected that most women would become housewives and mothers.
  • Portrait of John Cennick
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, probably 18th century

    This portrait of John Cennick is related closely to painting 1993/1481 in the Collection. One would appear to be a copy of the other or, more likely, both are copies of a third painting of Cennick. For further information about him, refer to 1993/1481.

    Nothing is known of the painter.

    The painting requires conservation.

    1993/1624
  • John Wesley pounce shaker
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    19th century

    This salt or pepper shaker-like object likely was a pounce shaker or pounce pot.

    Pounce was a fine powder, most often made from powdered cuttlefish bone, which was used both to dry ink and to sprinkle on a rough writing surface to make it sufficiently smooth for writing. In times when paper came "unsized", that is, lacking the thin gelatinous material used to fill the surface of the paper and make it smooth enough for writing with a quill or a steel nib, a fine powder was needed to prepare the paper. Similarly, pounce was used instead of blotting paper to dry ink.

    The shaker is only one example of a wide variety of commemorative Wesley objects, or 'Wesleyana', produced in the 19th century.
  • Portrait of Mrs Mary (‘Molly’) Vazeille (1710-1781)
    read more →
    Oil on wooden panel
    mid to late 18th century

    Mary Vazeille, usually known as ‘Molly’, was the widow of a Huguenot City banker and merchant. She and John Wesley were married in 1751 after an exceptionally short courtship. Molly and John were not suited well for each other and the marriage suffered from misunderstandings and jealousy from the start. The marriage remained childless and resulted in separation.
  • Reading glasses
    read more →
    Horn, glass, metal, wood
    c. 1770-80

    The smaller pair of glasses in its original case was owned by John Wesley.

    The first eyeglasses were developed in Northern Italy in the second half of the 1200s; by the 1700s, spectacles were common. Wesley's type of glasses, with temples passing over the ears, and similar to modern spectacles, was developed sometime in the 1720s.
  • Bomb damage
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1945

    WWII, particularly the Blitz of 1940-41, caused much damage in the City and the surrounding boroughs. In this photograph of Wesley's Chapel and its neighbourhood, the heavy bomb damage is obvious. By good fortune the Chapel survived virtually undamaged.
  • Bust of F.L.Wiseman (1858-1944)
    read more →
    Stone, on wooden plinth
    By George Henry Paulin (1888–1962), 1948

    The Revd Dr Frederick Luke Wiseman (1858-1944) started his ministry as the first Superintendent of the Birmingham Mission (1888-1913). He served as President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in 1912 and of the Methodist Conference in 1933. Between 1940 and 1944, he was minister of Wesley's Chapel, City Road. Wiseman also served as Chairman of the committee preparing the 1933 Methodist Hymn Book, which included 11 hymn tunes he had composed himself.

    Following WWII, The Methodist Connexion commissioned the well-known Scottish sculptor G.H. Paulin (1888-1962) to model Wiseman's bust. Paulin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of British sculptors in 1938.
  • John Wesley's Prayer Room
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1900

    An early postcard view of John Wesley's Prayer Room, looking into his bedroom. As it is a small room in an extension to the original house, it is also known as John Wesley's Prayer Closet.
  • Isaiah: The Appointed of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley's monument
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1870

    This early photograph shows John Wesley's monument in the garden of Wesley's Chapel, still with its original metal railings. The gentleman in front, probably a minister or preacher, leans on a chair which is still in John Wesley's House today. Likely, it was already in the house when Wesley was living there.

    The house in the background of the picture has since been demolished and all houses in this area have been rebuilt.

    Compare also to the other views of the monument and graveyard in the Online Collection.
  • Portrait of Robert Newton
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by William Gush (1813–1888), Mid 19th century

    Newton was born at Roxby, near Whitby, in 1780. He was the son of a farmer, and was converted to Methodism in 1798. After becoming a minister, he served primarily in northern circuits and raised large sums for overseas missionary work. He was handsome, and a persuasive preacher with a powerful voice, described by Benjamin Gregory in 1841 as 'the grandest figure and the best-loved preacher in the whole Connexion'. Over the years Newton opened numerous chapels and became repeatedly secretary of the Methodist Conference. Like few others he also served as President of the Conference four times (in 1824, 1832, 1840 and 1848).

    The following description by a contemporary provides an interesting perspective:

    'He was not a statesman like Dr. Bunting, nor a man of high culture like W.M. Bunting, nor a theologian like Hannah, Farrar and Jackson, nor a teacher of wisdom and a cyclopaedia of knowledge like Osborn. Newton had the advantage of them all in this way, that he was nobly handsome and an orator by nature. Tall, with good features, grizzled hair, fine eyes, and very dark arched eyebrows, he was impressive even before he spoke, and when he rolled out his rich organ notes, he was irresistible. I have listened to orators at the bar and in the pulpit for half a century, and have never met with such a magnificent voice as that of Robert Newton. He was not great in conversation, nor did his sermons and speeches, when examined, show original power. He had simply the great gift of being able to present commonplaces in the most attractive and forcible way.'

    R. Denny Urlin, Father Reece, the Old Methodist Minister (1901), pp.61-2

    See also the other portrait of Robert Newton in the Collection, painted by John Jackson, R.A., 1997/6631.
    1993/1610
  • Dining Room
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1950

    This mid-20th century postcard shows the ground floor dining room in John Wesley's House. We know from John Wesley's correspondence to his niece that he kept his 'chamber horse' or exercise chair in this room, which he used regularly to stay fit when not travelling.

    See also the chamber horse on the Online Collection.
  • The Holy Man (Christ)
    read more →
    Ripolin enamel on board
    Painted by John Reilly (1928-2010), c. 1960

    Reilly attended Kingston-upon-Thames art college between 1949 and 1952. His Christian beliefs formed the basis and inspiration of his work, coupled with a conceptual, modern style.
  • Portrait of Rev. David McNicoll
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    After J. Jackson R.A. (1778-1831), Early 19th century

    As a young man, David McNicoll (c. 1782-1836) showed much promise as a poet and preacher. He was held in high regard by Adam Clarke, in whose family he lived for a while. Later, McNicoll became an assistant in the London (Southwark) circuit (1828-29).
    1993/1477
  • Susanna Wesley's burial
    read more →
    Mezzotint on paper
    S. Gimber, Sculpt, after D. Woolstenhome, 1865

    After Susanna Wesley died on July 23, 1742, she was buried in Bunhill Fields graveyard in City Road, opposite the site John Wesley would one day acquire for his New Chapel, today's Wesley's Chapel. John conducted the service, his brother Charles wrote the epitaph for her tombstone.

    Although best known for her influence on her sons, Susanna Wesley was an accomplished writer, teacher and theologian in her own right. She has often been referred to as the 'Mother of Methodism'.
  • A Form of Discipline
    read more →
    Ink on paper, bound in leather
    5th edition, 1789

    The full title of the book is a lengthy one: "A form of discipline, for the ministers, preachers, and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, considered and approved at a conference held at Baltimore, in the state of Maryland, on Monday the 27th of December, 1784: in which Thomas Coke, and Francis Asbury, presided. : Arranged under proper heads, and methodised in a more acceptable and easy manner. With some other useful pieces annexed."

    The book is the outcome of the American Christmas Conference of 1784 in Baltimore. There, the appointment of Thomas Coke as Superintendent was confirmed and the American Methodist Church was constituted as an independent body. During the Conference, Coke ordained Francis Asbury as his co-superintendent, supported unanimously by some sixty American Methodist itinerant preachers. In 1787, despite Wesley’s strong disapproval, the title ‘Superintendent’ was replaced by ‘Bishop’ and the American Methodist Church became the Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • Wesley's Chapel on fire
    read more →
    Photograph
    1952

    Over the years, there have been a number of fires at Wesley's Chapel. The 1879 fire was particularly bad and caused much damage. However, a fire in 1952 also had the potential to become devastating, had it not been for the fire crew extinguishing the blaze in time. The photograph shows smoke rising from the Chapel roof and the firemen working hard to put out the blaze.
  • Quill pen
    read more →
    Goose feather quill
    c.1791

    Reportedly the last pen John Wesley wrote with on his death bed. It is possible that this quill was used by Wesley when, six days before his death, on Feb. 24th, 1791, he wrote his last letter, addressed to William Wilberforce. In it, Wesley had spoken out forcibly against slavery, referring to the slave trade as the “execrable sum of all villainies".
  • Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    By William Hogarth, 19th century re-print of 1762 original

    This satirical engraving ridicules secular and religious credulity, and illustrates the popular 18th century view of the exaggerated religious "enthusiasm" of the Methodist movement.

    In the pulpit preaches a misguided clergyman who wears a harlequin gown under his clerical jacket and whose book is opened at a page which reads "I speak as a fool". There are various references to George Whitefield beneath the pulpit - is the preacher Whitefield? - and references to John Wesley beneath a giant emotional thermometer to the right. The congregation in turn is in throes of religious ecstasy, horror and disgust.

    Only the turbaned Muslim looking in through the window and smoking his pipe appears sane.
  • Vertebra preacher
    read more →
    Bone, painted
    c.1750-1830

    This curious object is made from the bone vertebra of a cow, oxen, or horse. It depicts a preaching clergymen, possibly but not necessarily Methodist, and is a piece of folk art.

    Although unusual, this piece is not unique. There are three similar vertebra preacher statuettes in the Collection at Wesley's Chapel, and occasionally one comes across them in museums and private collections. The material, colouring and the bone 'wings' at the back make these small statues appear rather sombre.

    This particular statuette has very distinctive facial features and may be a portrait painted from life.

    See also one other vertebra preacher - possibly a depiction of John Wesley - in the Online Collection.
  • Frank O. Salisbury, self portrait
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    1937

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer in the early 20th century. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    See also 1997/6654 in the Collection and the series 'The Prophets of Israel' on loan from the Bible Society.

    1992/419