Between 1832-1836 he was engaged at Knowsley by Edward Stanley, the thirteenth Earl of Derby. He drew sketches of the estate and the plates to accompany the 'Knowsley Menagerie'. He was popular with the Derby family and wrote the "Book of Nonsense" for the Earl's grandchildren. This was published in 1846, and along with a number of subsequent volumes published in the 1870s, popularised the limerick. His verse include eternal favourites such as the 'Owl and the Pussy Cat went to Sea'