Ruins of Pevensey Castle, Sussex

  • About the work
    Country: Switzerland
    City: Berne
    Place: British Embassy

    This rapidly sketched view of Pevensey Castle, near the East Sussex coast, by artist George Bryant Campion is one of numerous watercolour studies of British castles produced by the artist. Other examples include Blackrock Castle on the River Lee, County Cork; Dover Castle and several views of Windsor Castle on the River Thames.

    The history of Pevensey Castle begins in the fourth century, when it was one of the last and strongest of the Roman Saxon shore forts. In 1066 it was the landing place of William the Conqueror's army. After the Conquest it was assigned to the new king’s half-brother, Robert, Count of Mortain. In 1098 it withstood a six week siege by the army of William II. During the 1250s the towered outer wall was constructed and soon put to the test when the castle was sieged in 1264–65. In 1372 the castle passed to John of Gaunt (fourth son of Edward III), whose son Henry, Duke of Lancaster claimed the crown in 1399. This led to another siege by the troops of Richard II. During the Tudor period the castle fell into decay. However, in May 1940, with the fall of France and the threat of a German invasion, Pevensey was refortified for use as an observation and command post.

  • About the artist
    Watercolourist George Bryant Campion initially specialised in topographical views, first exhibiting in 1829. In 1834 he became a member of the New Watercolour Society, where he exhibited c.400 works and served as vice-president (1839-41). From 1841 he was a drawing instructor at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Later in his career he specialised in military subjects and studies of uniforms. His lithographs include 17 plates for ‘The History of the Corps of Royal Sappers and Miners’ (1855). He also painted the army training camp at Cobham for Queen Victoria and two of his watercolours of the review of Household Troops at Windsor (1869) were purchased by Prince Arthur. He was married with three children. He died Woolwich, aged about 74.
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  • Details
    Ruins of Pevensey Castle, Sussex
    Watercolour on paper
    height: 34.00 cm, width: 51.00 cm
    Purchased from Appleby Bros, April 1973
    With Appleby Bros., London; from whom purcahsed by the Department of the Environment in April 1973
    GAC number