Thomas Pole's library

Thomas Pole (attributed). In the Library, 1805 c. Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery. Rear Face of 14 St James's Square, Bristol.

Thomas Pole was a doctor in Bristol from 1802-1829.  He was born in Philadelphia to English parents, went back to England as a young man and stayed, studying medicine, specialising in obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics.  He lived at 14 St James' Square in Bristol, this is his daughter in the library at the back of the house looking on to the servants' area in front of the kitchen in the low building on the right.
Pole was a Quaker, and a man evidently of great tolerance and wide interests.  He started an adult education school in 1812, wrote a textbook of anatomy and illustrated it himself, he was a member of the American Philosophical Society, and he painted architecture and landscapes.

There is a great calm in the library, all pale jade and water-coloured shadows, the industrious girl copying things out of books, mind busy in such a still room.  The view out the window is like a painting, full of light and a separate perspective system, hung on the wall of a soft, dim room.  Aspect and prospect: controlled, orderly, infinitely pleasing.