Memoir written by Commander James Henry Butt, about 1920

Volume entitled 'Memories', written by Commander James Henry Butt, covering his school days and service in the Royal Navy up to his retirement in 1873. Butt was born in Gloucester in 1844 and was first permanently commissioned as lieutenant and second-in-command of the survey vessel HMS 'Sylvia' in September 1866, just before sailing for three years survey work in the Far East, mainly on the coast of Japan. He was a lifelong amateur artist in watercolour and the Museum also has an album of 55 mainly Eastern drawings by him made during that commission and another with 15 drawings of sea creatures compiled on the outward voyage: see PAJ2050 and PAJ2102. Both were presented by the same donor as this 'Memoir' (who was his granddaughter) but a large number of his other drawings, both from his voyages and later life are known to have been dispersed. Butt retired from the Navy with the rank of Commander in 1873, raised a family in Bristol and is known to have made a later voyage with his wife to China - though for unknown reasons - during which their youngest son was born in Shanghai. He appears largely to have lived on his naval pension with other occasional employments of which little can be discovered, except that he appears to have been a competent organist and continued to paint in watercolour, sell his work, and occasionally exhibit it including with the Royal Cambrian Academy after he eventually moved to north Wales. He died near Colwyn in 1936. [updated, PvdM 4/19]

Record Details

Item reference: BGR/53/1; MSS/93/027
Catalogue Section: Manuscript volumes acquired singly by the Museum
Level: ITEM
Date made: circa 1920
Creator: Butt, James Henry
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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