Charles Allen Du Val

His life and works

Death of Charles Allen Du Val

On 14 June 1872 Charles Allen Du Val went to Alderley to see a client. Three days later the leading newspaper reported on the tragedy that ensued.

“We regret to have to announce the sudden death on Friday of Mr. Du Val of this city, a gentleman who had attained considerable celebrity as an artist. Mr. Du Val was at Alderley on Friday afternoon on professional business. On the road he met Mr. H.M. Stoehr, who resides in that neighbourhood, and walked beside him (Mr. Stoehr being on horseback) for a short distance. Becoming faint, Mr. Du Val drank a glass of water at a house on the way, and went direct to the Larches, Mr. Stoehr’s residence.
Alarming symptoms supervened, and within half an hour the unfortunate gentleman (who, we are informed, suffered from disease of the heart) died. He was about 64 years of age. As an artist, the deceased was extensively known. His works – chiefly portraits – have had a place in the exhibitions of the Royal Academy for many years. In the present exhibition he has two, a portrait of Mrs. James Pender, and one of his daughter, Mrs. Wilkinson” (1).

On 18 June 1872 he was buried in Ardwick Cemetery in the presence of a great many artists, writers and other friends (2).

Despite his great fame and the very high social standing of many of his clients, Charles Allen Du Val did not die a rich man. Letters of administration granted to his widow on 8 July 1872 valued his estate at under £1,000 (3). His fine personal collection of paintings was sold (4). The expense of bringing up his large family with great success would have been very heavy. His legacy is in his beautiful paintings and fine photographs and talented descendants.

(1) Manchester Guardian 17 June 1872.
(2) Manchester Times 22 June 1872.
(3) He seems not to have made a Will. The details from the Letters of Administration here given are from the official Probate Records.
(4) Notice of the sale of his collection appeared within a few weeks of his death: Manchester Times 20 July 1872.