Edmund Russell Roberts
[This sitting does not appear in the Silvy daybooks, so presumably took place during the period covered by the missing volume, July 1863 to June 1864. The sitter was identified on the page of the album in which the portrait once was housed.]
Born on 11 September 1834, Edmund Russell Roberts was the eldest on of Samuel Johnson Roberts, a solicitor of Chester. He was baptised at Queen Street Congregational Church in Chester on 16 December 1834.
Educated at King’s College, London and at Queen’s College, Cambridge. As a rowing man, he won some distinction while at university. He was called to the Bar on 17 November 1862 and subsequently practised law, mainly as a equity draftsman and conveyancer.
On 9 December 1862 at St Saviour’s in Maida Vale he married Marguerite Villeneuve Smith, fourth daughter of Francis Smith of Campania, Tasmania.
The couple appear on the 1871 census living at 4 Stanley Gardens in Notting Hill, London, with their daughters Ethel and Winifred and son Francis, aged 2.
In 1891 he was elected a bencher of the Middle Temple (Pall Mall Gazette, 21 November 1891). Towards the end of that year the Globe informed its readers that ‘Mr Edmund Russell Roberts, whom the Benchers of Middle Temple selected to represent the junior members of the Inn at the Equity Bar, has been at the Bar nearly thirty years, and occupies the useful but not very eminent post of examiner in the preliminary examinations of the Inns of Court’ (The Globe, 24 November 1891).
Edmund Russell Roberts died, aged 66, on 18 May 1901 at 6 Bickenhall Mansions, Gloucester Place, London. He left an estate valued at £13,333.
‘News has been received of the death of Mr Edmund Russell Roberts, a bencher of the Middle Temple. Mr Russell Roberts practised in Lincoln’s Inn, and thus his name was not well known to those of his brethren who practised in the Temple. Mr Roberts death, which was due to paralysis, was quite sudden. He was dining in the Hall of the Middle Temple less than a fortnight ago, when he took Major Towse, the blind V.C. of the Gordons, in to dinner. A few terms ago, Mark Twain was the guest of Mr Russell Roberts in the Hall of the Middle Temple. Those who saw Mr Roberts ten days since, erect and apparently in rude health, will be shocked by the news of his sudden death. Mr Roberts, who was 66 years of age, was the son of Mr Samuel Johnson Roberts of Chester and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1862. He was one of the examiners for the admission of students to the Inns of Court’ (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 22 May 1901).