A Yorkshire treasure house

The east front of Nostell Priory. ©NTPL/Matthew Antrobus

In my previous post I featured a major painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger which we are trying to purchase for Nostell Priory. One of the reasons we want to keep the painting at Nostell is that it has a long connection to the house, which gives it added meaning and value.

The library at Nostell, remodelled by Adam and with furniture by Chippendale - the desk is one of his masterpieces. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

Nostell is one of the treasure houses of Yorkshire. It was decorated by Robert Adam, and Thomas Chippendale supplied much of the furniture.

A scene from The Tempest (Act I, Scene II) by William Hogarth, acquired from the Winn family in 2002 with the help of the Art Fund. ©NTPL/John Hammond

But there is also an extraordinary collection of paintings at Nostell, evidence of the collecting of several generations of the Winn family.

Sir Rowland and Lady Winn in the library at Nostell (see the photograph of the same room above), attributed to Hugh Douglas Hamilton, 1770. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Baronet, not only commissioned Adam and Chippendale, but was also an avid collector of paintings.

All the building and collecting rather overstretched Sir Rowland’s finances, but by the time his grandson Charles Winn inherited Nostell in 1805 the family fortune had been sufficiently restored to allow for further acquisitions.

Adoration of the Magi by the Master of St Severin, photographed following conservation. ©National Trust

Charles Winn was a scholar with an interest in antiquities and old master paintings. The National Trust recently purchased an Adoration of the Magi by the early sixteenth century German painter known as the Master of St Severin, which was originally brought to Nostell by Charles Winn.

The artist hesitating between the arts of Music and Painting, by Angelica Kauffman, 1791 or 1794. ©NTPL/John Hammond

Even in the twentieth century the Winn family was still collecting. Angelica Kauffman’s wonderful self-portrait hesitating between Music and Painging was bought for Nostell by the 2nd Lord St Oswald in 1908.

The ceiling in the Tapestry Room, designed by Adam and with paintings by Zucchi. ©NTPL/Andreas von Einsiedel

There is a connection between Kauffman and Nostell through her husband Antonio Zucchi, who was commissioned by Adam to produce decorative paintings for various rooms in the house.

The Procession to Calvary by Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Image Robert Thrift

The Brueghel we are trying to acquire is an important part of this extraordinarily rich mixture of architecture, art and design. Please support the campaign to keep it at Nostell.

2 Responses to “A Yorkshire treasure house”

  1. Hels Says:

    Angelica Kauffman’s self-portrait hesitating between Music and Painting was created in the early 1790s, yet it was not bought for Nostell by the 2nd Lord St Oswald until 1908. Where had it been for 120 years? Both Kauffman and Zucchi look as if they were originally made for Nostell!

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    The 2nd Lord St Oswald bought it from the collection of Mrs Strickland at Cokethorpe Park, Oxfordshire. I will try to find out what its earlier provenance was.

    At the time the Kauffman came to Nostell it was thought that she had painted the decorative paintings in the house herself, and it was only rediscovered more recently that they were actually by her husband Antonio Zucchi.

    Although the 2nd Lord St Oswald was a military man and a great game hunter (his trophies adorned the Lower Hall), he also commissioned a beautiful catalogue by Maurice Brockwell of the paintings and the furniture at Nostell.

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