Warwick Castle on the River Avon

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Downing Street

    This view shows Warwick Castle bathed in an eerie light, filtering through heavy storm clouds. Two figures with a dog are seen in the grounds of the Castle, to the left of the painting, and a horse-drawn carriage crosses the bridge, which spans the River Avon to the right.

    Warwick Castle was also painted by John Wootton (c.1682-1764) in about 1700 and is one of just five country seats painted by Canaletto (1697-1768) in c.1753.

    Country houses like this example are now frequently open to the public to help with running costs, a practice that began during the 19th century. Warwick Castle became one of the most popular ‘show-houses’ of the early 19th century and was visited by at least six thousand visitors between 1825 and 1826. When the house first opened, visitors were served tea on silver trays. However, this hospitality was discontinued after it was noted that ‘local tradesmen’s wives were availing themselves of a free tea’.

  • About the artist
    Thomas Christopher Hofland, landscape painter, was born in Worksop, Nottinghamshire. He was a pupil of landscape painter John Rathbone and later taught painting in Kew. In 1805 he moved to Derby and continued his teaching career, relocating again to Leeds in 1808. In 1810 he married Barbara Hoole, a writer of text books and children’s fiction. Hofland was never elected a Royal Academician and in reaction took a leading role in creating the Society of British Artists in 1823, where he showed at least 119 works. Hofland’s subjects are almost exclusively British and include views of the Lake District and country houses. In 1840 he travelled to Italy, staying near Rome and Naples. He died of stomach cancer at Leamington Spa.
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  • Details
    Warwick Castle on the River Avon
    Oil on canvas
    height: 61.00 cm, width: 74.00 cm
    Purchased from Frank T Sabin, February 1962
    With Sabin Gallery, London; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in February 1962
    GAC number