Young middle-class men of the 18th and 19th centuries, with an interest in history and antiquities but without the means to travel abroad on the Grand Tour, could instead make an ‘English Grand Tour’, visiting ruined abbeys, castles and other notable sites around the British Isles. The connoisseurship of British architecture and landscapes, as well of the works of art inspired by them, was articulated through popular literature, such as William Gilpin’s ‘On Picturesque Travel’ (1792). The publication coincided with an increasingly marked national identity and pride in Britain. As demand for British history and travel grew, so the popularity of painted landscape views of historical sites, like this example, increased.
Views of Richmond Castle were painted by numerous artists, including John F. Tennant (1796-1872), Edmund John Niemann (1813-1876) and Philip Wilson Steer (1860-1942). However, although signed, the name of the artist of this work has yet to be satisfactorily deciphered.
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