Ripley Castle, near Harrogate, Yorkshire

John Kemshead (1762 - 1842)

Watercolour on paper

  • About the work
    Country: Uruguay
    City: Montevideo
    Place: British Embassy

    Although this watercolour view by John Kemshead is titled ‘Ripley Castle’, it bears only a passing resemblance to the property near Harrogate, in Yorkshire, and may in fact represent a generic property with the purpose of providing a setting for Kemshead’s design for a park entrance, seen to the right. This theory is strengthened by a related Kemshead drawing at the Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut, U.S.A., titled ‘Design for a Castellated Entrance’.

  • About the artist
    John Kemshead was described as ‘architect’ when he exhibited two works at the Royal Academy. He advertised himself as a builder and carpenter, and worked for architect and County Surveyor of Essex John Johnson, who operated from 32 Berners Street, off Oxford Street, in 1767 (later Nos. 32-33). Kemshead lived at No. 34 (which Johnson owned) from at least 1798 until Johnson’s death in 1814. Johnson’s biographer notes: ‘Kemshead …made occasional [architectural] designs and applied for the post of county surveyor in 1816.’ Kemshead was involved in several projects, headed by Johnson, including works to the Shire Hall (1789–91) and House of Correction (1802–06), Chelmsford, and a bridge at Widford, Hertfordshire (1805). He died in Islington.
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  • Details
    Ripley Castle, near Harrogate, Yorkshire
    Watercolour on paper
    height: 33.30 cm, width: 46.50 cm
    Purchased from Frank T Sabin, October 1962
    GAC number