Archive for the ‘Nunnington Hall’ Category

Nunnington re-imagined

August 9, 2011

The Oak Hall, Nunnington Hall, by Jane Pinkney. Chris Beetles Gallery, London

Illustrator Jane Pinkney was recently invited to be artist in residence at Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire.

The Oak Hall. ©NTPL/Dennis Gilbert

Pinkney is well known as the illustrator of books such as The Mice of Nibbling Village, Mouse Mischief and Mouse Time.

The Oak Bedroom, Nunnington Hall, by Jane Pinkney. Chris Beetles Gallery, London

She grew up on the rural outskirts of Barnsley, Bradford and Middlesbrough. Her father’s interest in botany inspired her own fascination with the natural world. Pinkney combined a prodigious talent for drawing with a vivid, nostalgic imagination.

The fireplace in the Oak Bedroom. ©NTPL/Mike Williams

Now her watercolours are being exhibitied for the first time in this selling exhibition at Nunnington, organised in collaboration with the Chris Beetles Gallery. The show includes both older work and new pictures inspired by the house.

The Panelled Bedroom, Nunnington Hall, by Jane Pinkney. Chris Beetles Gallery, London

The exhibition runs at Nunnington Hall from 9 August until 18 September 2011. 

The Panelled Bedroom. ©NTPL/Dennis Gilbert

The book The Mice of Nibbling Village has also been brought out in a new edition by the National Trust.

Saved by love

February 25, 2010


Circle of Joseph Highmore, portrait of William, formerly 4th Baron Widdrington

The man in this portrait, William, 4th Lord Widdrington, looks like a characteristically self-assured Georgian gentleman. In fact, by the time the picture was painted he had lost his title and estates because of his involvement in the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion. 

Nunnington Hall. ©NTPL/Andrew Butler

He had actually been condemned to death as well, but his former lover, Catherine Graham, pleaded on his behalf and he was reprieved at the eleventh hour. He then married her, and they lived the rest of their lives at Catherine’s ancestral home, Nunnington Hall, North Yorkshire.

The portrait was purchased by the National Trust at the Newton Hall sale at Christie’s South Kensington, London, on 20 January. Funds for the purchase came from several generous bequests. 

The Oak Hall at Nunnington (some of the furnishings have recently changed). The painting on the wall includes Catherine Graham as a child, on the left. ©NTPL/Mike Williams

Newton Hall had been the Widdrington seat, and after its forfeiture by the Crown it was eventually bought by the Cook family. One of the Cooks married a great-niece of the last male Widdrington, and their son eventually changed his surname to Widdrington. The portrait we have acquired must have ended up at Newton Hall through this convoluted family inheritance. 

The Oak Bedroom at Nunnington (some of the furnishings have recently changed). ©NTPL/Mike Williams

It is not clear if the picture originally hung at Nunnington. However, it was decided to bid for it because the National Trust did not own a portrait of Widdrington in later life, after his marriage to Catherine. And of course it represents an affecting tale of love overcoming all, the kind of story, one imagines, that could be turned into a historical novel or a major motion picture. 

Fireplace in the Oak Bedroom. The embossed leather on the screen is a remnant of the seventeenth-century wallcovering. ©NTPL/Mike Williams

The painting will need to undergo some conservation work. It will go on display at Nunnington as is while further funds are being sought.