Legacy of illuminated manuscripts, £8.99
Height: 288.000 mm
Width: 551.000 mm
Prints and Drawings
John Scarlett Davis, The Library at Tottenham, the seat of B. G. Windus, Esq., a watercolour
England, AD 1835
This highly finished watercolour was commissioned in 1835 by Benjamin Godfrey Windus to record the appearance of the room in his house in Tottenham, where he had assembled one of the finest collections of watercolours of his day. This watercolour joined his collection, and was itself hung in the same room. He was passionate about the work of J.M.W. Turner and assembled more than 200 of his finest works. The watercolour is so precise and accurate that two of Turner's works can be recognized on the walls that are now in The British Museum from the bequest in 1958 of R.W. Lloyd.
Windus (1790-1867) came from a family of wealthy coach-builders, and became one of the leading collectors and patrons of his day. This watercolour is important evidence for the way in which watercolours were displayed at the time. It is still kept in its original frame, in which it was hung in 1835. Davis (1804-44) achieved early recognition as a portrait painter, but his reputation now rests on his topographical views.
L. Stainton, British landscape watercolours (London, The British Museum Press, 1985)