Donnington Castle, taken from a Field adjoining the Road to East Ilsley, from Newbury

  • About the work
    Country: Other
    City: other locations abroad
    Cows and farm workers relax in the foreground of this idyllic scene. The stools and buckets suggest the cows have been milked, or are about to be. On the hill in the distance, the medieval gatehouse of Donington Castle can be seen. This print was published as a plate in Part II of Britannia Depicta: a Series of Views of the Most Interesting and Picturesque Objects in Great Britain.This second volume deals with the counties of Berkshire and Cambridgeshire.
    Donington was a medieval castle, located near the town of Newbury in Berkshire. It was built by Richard Abberbury the Elder, after a licence was granted by King Richard II in 1386 AD. In 1646, Parliament voted to demolish the castle, so when this image was published in 1805, the 14th-century gatehouse depicted was all that remained of Donnington Castle.

  • About the artist
    William Turner’s father died when he was an infant and in 1803 he went to live with a wealthy uncle at Shipton-on-Cherwell, Woodstock. He studied drawing under William Delamotte, before becoming a pupil of John Varley in London. Aged 18, he was elected the youngest ever member of the Royal Watercolour Society. In 1812, he returned to Oxford and began teaching. He travelled extensively to the Lake District, Wales, the Peak District, Clifton Gorge and the Wye, later exploring the New Forest and the South Downs. In 1838, he made his longest sketching tour through Scotland. His reputation was as a provincial painter. However, he was praised by Ruskin for his ‘quiet, simple earnestness, and tender feeling’. He died in Oxford at the age of 72.
    William Byrne made etchings and engravings of landscapes after contemporary artists. At 22 he won a premium of 25 guineas from the Society of Arts. From 1769 to 1772 he worked for Johann Georg Wille in Paris. After returning to the UK he became a prosperous engraver and publisher. He exhibited from 1766 to 1780 and was elected a fellow of the Incorporated Society of Artists. With watercolourist Thomas Hearne he produced the series of engravings for ‘The Antiquities of Great Britain’ (1778-06). Among his pupils were Samuel Middiman and Johann Gottlieb Schumann. Byrne married twice and had five children, all of whom became painters and / or engravers. Byrne died suddenly at his home in Titchfield Street, Westminster, at about the age of 62.

  • Explore
  • Details
    Donnington Castle, taken from a Field adjoining the Road to East Ilsley, from Newbury
    published 1 January 1805
    Coloured engraving
    Purchased from Sotheby's, 22 February 1977
    GAC number