I love to buy antique albums. Sometimes they are full of coloured scraps, sometimes drawings and watercolours by the owner or by friends. If you find a name and some dates it might even be possible to discover a secret story.
This one had a name,
Anne Mayers Burton.
Inside there was a painting of Anne's home, Taverham Rectory in Norfolk, where her father Robert was vicar - and a date, 1852. I was able to find out that Anne was born in 1839 which means she was 13 when she painted the Rectory.
She filled the album with charming pictures, some of country life and others of Cromer, on the North Norfolk coast, where she probably spent summer holidays.
There was another clue - a drawing of a genteel house in Brasted, Kent. This was owned by Anne's maternal grandfather, John Pollard Mayers who was born in Barbados, as was his daughter Sarah, Anne's mother.
Anne died in 1856 aged just 17. I wonder if she knew about her grandfather's family history? His family had owned sugar plantations and slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries and, in the early 1830s, John Pollard Mayers fought for compensation after slavery was finally abolished. He owned over 700 slaves and received at least £16,000 from the British government - which would be worth around £10,000,000 today.
What would a well-to-do vicar's teenage daughter have thought about slavery, 20 years later, in the 1850s?
Perhaps she would have preferred playing with Spot to contemplating the past.