This is a portrait of Marchant Tubb, sometime surgeon in Jamaica, and generally really nice man. Judging by his clothes and the grey hair, or lack of it, it was painted in England probably in the 1780’s and was in the possession of Robert Cooper Lee’s family who had labelled the back of the frame ‘Old Tubb’.
Marchant was born in Bath about 1732, one of a large family of at least eleven children. Although his brother Decimus is the eighth child of John Tubb listed in the baptisms at Bath Abbey his name strongly suggests that he should have been the tenth child!
How Marchant obtained his training as a surgeon I don’t know, but as a young man he went to Jamaica – perhaps as a plantation doctor, perhaps to serve the white colonists.
He married Ann Morant widow of Stephen Morant of Jamaica who was some years older than him, and together with her daughter Mary Powell Morant they returned to England before the autumn of 1771 when both Marchant and Ann Tubb were witnesses at the wedding of Robert Cooper Lee. Ann Tubb died in 1777 and was buried at Ringwould, Kent, near to Deal where they spent many happy holidays with the Lee family.
When Ann died Marchant erected a touching monument in her memory.
In the Vault beneath are deposited the Remains of Mrs Ann TUBB, wife of Marchant Tubb, Esqr. late of the Island of Jamaica. She died 26th of June 1777, Aged 55 Years. In Testimony of whose Virtues, As an affectionate Wife, A Tender Parent and a faithful Friend, This Memorial is erected By her surviving Husband Who too severely feels The Loss he records.
Marchant and his step daughter moved into number thirteen Bedford Square in London, close to the Lee family and several other ex-Jamaica inhabitants. In August 1782 Mary made a hasty, and hastily regretted, marriage to Joseph Royall a widowed planter many years older than her. As was usual a marriage settlement was drawn up protecting Mary’s interests, but under the right of ‘coverture’ making her property over to Joseph and any children they might have. Within months she had left him and gone back to her step father necessitating the creation of a second document protecting her rights under her separated state.
When Marchant Tubb died in December 1791 he left all his property to Mary Powell Royall who also inherited a share in the Wheelerfield Plantation in Jamaica. He was buried with his wife Ann at Ringwould and in 1816 Mary joined them there.
You can read their Wills in the Will Collection on this site.