Richmond Castle, Yorkshire

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

    The impressive ruins of Richmond Castle in Yorkshire form a backdrop to the rural scene in the foreground of this painting. A cart loaded with hay travels across a bridge, while a man fishes below.

    Richmond Castle stands on land given to Alan the Red of Brittany by William the Conqueror in return for his part in defeating King Harold. Building work on the castle began in 1071, although little of the 11th-century Norman structure remains today. King William the Lion of Scotland was imprisoned in the castle after he was taken at Alnwick in 1174. King David II was also a prisoner there after his defeat at Neville’s Cross in 1346. In 1647, Charles I lodged at the Castle after his surrender to the Scots. Today, the best surviving part of the ruined structure is the 12th century keep. As one of the best preserved Norman fortresses in Britain, it is part of English Heritage.

    In the 18th and 10th centuries, it was common for British travellers with no possibility to travel abroad on the Grand Tour, to embark on 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.

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  • Details
    Richmond Castle, Yorkshire
    Oil on canvas
    height: 51.50 cm, width: 69.00 cm
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, August 1970
    Sbr&Ins on stretcher :C C Wamby Pinxit (TR) & Richmond Castle, Yorkshire (TC)
    With Parker Gallery, London; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in August 1970
    GAC number