The picture shows the ruins of Leybourne Castle, near West Malling in Kent, from the south-west. It is one of three views of the Leybourne estate painted by George Lambert in 1737 for its owner, Francis Whitworth. A Member of Parliament for Minehead, Whitworth bought Leybourne Grange in 1724 and later rebuilt the house and improved the grounds. The ruins of the old castle had been rebuilt as a gentleman’s dwelling house in 1703, before Whitworth purchased the estate, but by the time this view was painted it had been converted to a farm house.
George Lambert, theatre scene and landscape painter, divided his career equally between the two professions. For most of his life he lived in Covent Garden. His early style of the 1720s is similar to that of John Wootton. However, his later classical landscapes earned him the accolade ‘the English Poussin’. Lambert painted the landscape backgrounds for William Hogarth’s paintings ‘The Pool of Bethesda’ and ‘The Good Samaritan’, made for St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (1736-37). In 1761 he was elected chairman of the newly founded Society of Artists of Great Britain. The Society received the Royal Seal on 26th January 1765 and just five days later Lambert died at his home in Covent Garden, leaving his possessions to his servant, Ann Terry.
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