The first members of the Leach family settled in Cambridge in 1675, when Barnett Leach and his wife Margaret lived at the Archers Inn in St Andrew’s Street. Little is known about their son Barnett II, but grandson Barnett III (1737-1792) became the first College cook of the family, appointed ‘Master Cook’ of Trinity College in 1770. At this time College cooks were self-employed. They rented out their own pots, utensils and crockery to the Colleges, and often ran other businesses alongside their daily work.
This portrait is of Barnet III, worked into a box lid and surrounded by quill work. We can only guess what the box might have contained as only the lid survives – maybe tea or some lover’s token?