Arthur Benoni Evans was born on 25th March, 1781, at Compton Beauchamp, in what was at the time the county of Berkshire, but is now in Oxfordshire. His father, the Rev. Lewis Evans, the vicar of Froxfield, in Wiltshire, was a well known astronomer, and for many years held the professorship of mathematics at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He married Ann, eldest daughter of Thomas Norman.
Their second son, Arthur Benoni, received his education at the college school, Gloucester, of which his uncle and namesake was head-master. Here he was known as ‘The Bold Arthur,’ from his remarkable personal courage. He went into residence at St. John's College, Oxford, on the 23rd of October, 1800 and gained his B.A. on the 21st of February 1804, his M.A. in 1820,his Batchelor of Divinity and his Doctorate in 1828.
In addition to his knowledge of classical languages, Evans became versed in Hebrew, French, Italian, Spanish, German, and Icelandic. He had a musical talent as well, and played several instruments. As an artist he sketched in pencil, crayon, and sepia. His cattle drawings were of particular merit. He studied geology and botany, and his knowledge of Greek, Roman, and English coins, of which he had a large collection, was considerable.
He was ordained in Gloucester cathedral in August 1804 to the curacy of Hartpury, and after receiving priest's orders in September 1805, was, the following month appointed as professor of classics and history in the Royal Military College, then recently established at Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire. He moved with the college to Sandhurst in October 1812.
Resigning this appointment in 1822, he went to Britwell, near Burnham, where he prepared pupils for the universities, and served the curacy of Burnham until 1829, when he accepted the head-mastership of what was “the free grammar school at Market Bosworth, Leicestershire”.
Unusually Evans was one of the few headmasters of the Dixie Grammar School to be appointed other than by the local Dixie Baronets. The Bishop of Lincoln, John Kaye, appointed Evans, since in 1829 the 8th Baronet was only a child of 13. The schools' commissioners reported Evans' tenure as one of the most successful in the school's history.
While resident at the Dixie Grammar School he held successively the curacies of Bosworth, Carlton, and Cadeby between 1829 and 1841. From his clerical profession he never received more than £100 a year and it was as a schoolmaster that he was much more successful.
In June 1819 Arthur married Anne, third daughter of Captain Thomas Dickinson, R.N., of Bramblebury, near Woolwich, by whom he had six children. She died 10 May 1883, in her ninety-second year. He died on 8th November, 1854, and is buried in the churchyard of St. Peters at Market Bosworth.
This portrait shows him as a handsome man circa 1820 holding a letter inscribed with his name, A. B. Evans, and the town of Earl Shilton, which is in Leicestershire and near to the school where he taught and the town where he is buried. His fine gold watch chain and the carved scrolled sofa and green drapery all indicate a gentleman of comfortable means.
This painting was in the collection of Jas. E. Elliott of Essex, CT, who many remember as a great dealer from the old days. 26" x 32" sight size.