Portrait of Matthew Weston, the 'Durham Dwarf'
Shelfmark: Additional MS 15539
Known as the "Durham dwarf", Matthew Weston was only 2 feet 8 ½ inches tall at the age of fifteen, according to Grimm's note on his portrait of the young man. Dwarves and midgets had earlier been employed as amusements at noble courts. In the following century, persons of restricted growth, such as "General" Tom Thumb, would be exhibited for public entertainment.
Of Weston, nothing more is really known. More famous for his lack of height was the Polish Count Boruwlaski, who reached 2 feet 1 inch at 15 and grew to be only 3 feet 3 inches. He was a great favourite in Durham and died at the age of almost 100 in 1837. Some of his clothes and possessions are still displayed in the Town Hall.