The portrait is of Mr Robert Arthington a Headingley man known locally as a miser who lived the life of a recluse in a large house. Maintaining himself on 1/2 a crown a week Mr Arthington chose to live and sleep in one room and refused entry to anyone else. The son of a brewer he allowed the money inherited from his father to accumulate until in his early 70s he decided to make out a will believing himself to be worth about £80,000. When informed the sum was neaarer £800,000 he replied 'No man has a right to so much money and proceeded to donate it to charities decreasing his fortune by a minimum of £80,000 a year for the next three years. This generosity can be attributed to the teachings of his mother who believed a man should 'Do his duty to his fellow creature'. When he died on 7th October 1900 at Teignmouth aged 77 provision was made for his cousins and large amounts were given to charities including the Baptist Missionary Society, The London Mission Society and Leeds Medical charities, who set up a semi convelescent home in Cookridge in his name and in 1905 came a trust allocated £135,000 to distribute which lasted until 1936. An Oxford undergraduate, Mr Arthington had toured extensively through Italy as a young man and rumour had it, this batchelors choice of poverty was the result of a tragic love affair.
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