The castle depicted is a folly known as Stainborough Castle, which was built on the estate of Wentworth Castle by the first Earl of Strafford, between 1730 and 1739. The folly, built as a ruin, took the former name of Wentworth Castle, which is situated in Stainborough, South Yorkshire. It is an unusual work by Thomas Bardwell, who is better known for portraits and decorative works, and for writing 'The Practice of Painting and Perspective Made Easy', a manual for aspiring artists.
Thomas Bardwell, portraitist, decorative painter and writer, was born in East Anglia. He is first recorded producing decorative painting in 1728, shortly before settling at Bungay in Suffolk and running a decorative painting firm. Between 1729 and 1741, he painted overmantels and views of country houses, as well as conversation pieces. In 1741 Bardwell painted Lord Rochford, a Suffolk peer, to whom he dedicated his book ‘The Practice of Painting and Perspective Made Easy’ (1756). In 1752/3 Bardwell made a visit to Scotland, where he painted a number of portraits. By 1759 he had settled in Norwich and developed a successful practice. He died in Norwich in September 1767.
Stainborough Castle, Folly in the Grounds of Wentworth Castle
Oil on canvas
height: 76.50 cm, width: 127.50 cm
Purchased from Oscar & Peter Johnson, November 1974
sdbc; signature and date are unclear, possibly: 'Gill...1745'
Collection of Lord Cobham; by descent to Charles John Lyttelton, Viscount Cobham; by whom sold through Sotheby’s, London, on 11 July 1973; with O. & P. Johnson, London; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in November 1974
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