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Core Record

Title Wollaton Hall Park
Collection Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to Cort, Hendrik Frans de (Flemish painter, 1742-1810)
Date Earliest about 1790
Date Latest about 1790

An old tree rises in the foreground, left of centre. A man is bundling together some brushwood to the left of the tree. Another man holding a basket watches from beside a large tree stump. On a winding path to the right of the tree, a man leads a horse loaded with packs followed by a young woman holding a pitcher. The couple, probably servants, are addressed from the side of the road by another traveller with a stoop who carries a bag on his back and holds a stick. Behind them is Wollaton Park lake and Wollaton Hall, with its four distinctive towers and raised central hall, can be seen lit by sunlight high on the hills in the distance. A brown and white dog races along the road in the foreground, presumably chasing a rabbit which is outside the picture frame.

This work by de Cort follows a favourite compositional pattern of the artist; the foreground tree rising to the full height of the picture, the house seen from a distance and the landscape sparsely populated with figures. De Cort's view of Castle Howard, Yorkshire, dated 1800 is closely comparable.

Nottingham has another painting of Wollaton Hall by Hendrick de Cort (NCM 1967-126), in which a much closer and more detailed view of the building can be seen. It is thought that both paintings, which are almost identical in size, were probably commissioned at the same time as a pair.

Current Accession Number 1957-10
Subject landscape; place (Wollaton Hall, Nottingham); buildings and gardens; figure
Measurements 111.8 x 58.7 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Purchased from Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, by Nottingham Castle Museum, 1957.
Publications Nottingham Evening Post, 21 May 1958, illustrated; 'Chance brings a Wollaton pair of Pictures together', Nottingham Evening Post, 3 July 1967.

Inscriptions on the back (from Cassidy's notes in the Artist File): 1. Agnew no. 17942; 2. label: 'James Bourlet & Sons / framemakers / K 1557'.

Between 1984 and 1985, a research assistant, Dr Brendan Cassidy, was employed by Nottingham Castle Museum to research and write a catalogue of the foreign oil paintings in their collection. The catalogue never materialised, but drafts and notes relating to Cassidy's research can be found in the Artist Files and in the archive at the museum. All references to Cassidy relate to these documents.

The dating of the painting is based on that of another picture of Wollaton Hall by de Cort (NCM 1967-126) and which is presumed to be pendant to this one. De Cort's view of Castle Howard, Yorkshire, which is closely comparable in composition to this painting, is dated 1800. It is likely that the painting was painted for the Willoughby family who were the original owners of Wollaton Hall.

Hendrik de Cort's views of country houses were exhibited at the Royal Academy and British Institution between 1790 and 1806. However, it seems that this painting was not among those works exhibited.

The painting was sold by Thomas Agnew & Sons, 43 Old Bond Street, London, W1, to Nottingham Castle Museum, on 30 March 1957.

Rights Owner Nottingham City Museums and Galleries: Nottingham Castle
Author Dr Rebecca Virag



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