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Creator:
Canaletto, 1697–1768, Venetian, active in Britain (1746–55)
Title:

Warwick Castle

Date:
1748 to 1749
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
37 3/4 × 56 1/4 × 3 1/2 inches (95.9 × 142.9 × 8.9 cm) and 28 1/2 x 47 3/16 inches (72.4 x 119.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1994.18.2
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | architecture | bridges (built works) | castle | child | couples | dogs (animals) | fishing | garden | genre subject | houses | laborers | landscape | landscape gardening | leisure | Medieval architecture | mill | mother | motte | motte-and-bailey castle | mound | park (grounds) | people | restoration | river | Tudor | water mill
Associated Places:
Avon | England | United Kingdom | Warwick | Warwick Castle | Warwickshire
Access:
On view in the galleries
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:5064
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This is one of five paintings commissioned from Canaletto by the wealthy young aristocrat Francis Greville, Lord Brooke, to record the ambitious renovation of his ancestral home in Warwickshire. The extensive remodeling of both the medieval castle and the park were entrusted to the renowned landscape architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown in 1748. Canaletto represents the ambitious project in progress with laborers moving earth and cutting stone, while polite townspeople promenade in the foreground, enjoying the new walks and views from the river and admiring Lord Brooke’s improvements.



Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016



Between 1748 and 1752, Canaletto painted five views of Warwick Castle, the principal country seat of Lord Brooke, later Earl of Warwick. Here, the south front of the building is seen from Castle Park, across the River Avon. Built in 1068 for William the Conqueror, the castle had undergone constant renovations, to the most recent of which Canaletto draws attention in this view. The new gardens, designed by Lancelot “Capability” Brown (ca. 1716–1783), are in the early, messy stages of construction at the base of the well-manicured Ethelfleda’s Mount (the only surviving part of the medieval fortifications); and two newly finished “Gothick” windows stand out bright and white against the crumbling stonework of the façade.

Gallery label for Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)



Between 1748 and 1752, Canaletto painted five views of Warwick Castle, the principal country seat of Lord Brooke, later Earl of Warwick. Here, the south front of the building is seen from Castle Park, across the River Avon. Built in 1068 for William the Conqueror, the castle had undergone constant renovations, to the most recent of which Canaletto draws attention in this view. The new gardens, designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown (ca. 1716-1783), are in the early, messy stages of construction at the base of the well-manicured Ethelfleda's Mount (the only surviving part of the medieval fortifications); and two newly finished "Gothick" windows stand out bright and white against the crumbling stonework of the façade.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2005
“Warwick Castle” is one of a pair of imaginary ‘before” and “after” pictures commissioned by the wealthy young aristocrat Francis Greville, Lord Brooke (the other picture is in the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Madrid). The exercise of creating these two paintings drew on the talents of imaginative projection that Canaletto had honed in his “capricci”, or fantastical representations of ruined buildings and crumbling tombs.
When Lord Brooke returned from his Grand Tour, he decided that Warwick Castle, his ancestoral home, needed to be brought up to the standards of the fashion of the eighteenth century. His first two interventions, the gleaming white Gothic-style windows on the second story of the castle and the new Gothic porch on the left side of the building, are clearly indicated in the Center’s painting. Next to the porch we see a listing lean-to shed with tools stacked against it, an indication of the building site that Warwick would soon become. Workers toil on the beginning stages of the massive landscaping of the castle park that Brooke had commissioned from Lancelot “Capability” Brown, the renowned landscape designer. In the Thyssen-Bornemisza picture this area is shown planted with picturesque groupings of trees, as the artist imagined it would appear after the implementation of Brown’s design. The two pictures also diverge in the depiction of Castle Meadow, the area in the foreground crisscrossed by the river Avon. In the Center’s picture, elegant couples, gentlemen fishing, and a nursemaid with an infant enjoy the meadow at their leisure. The mill along the river and the young boys scrambling over a fence in the right corner of the painting are reminders of the intense relationship between the town of Warwick and the castle. In the Thyssen-Bornemisza picture the mill is gone, replaced by a private pleasure barge, and the number of figures on the lawn is truncated. The park of Warwick Castle would be a private retreat rather than a public promenade after Brooke’s remodeling. Canaletto’s appealing paintings were instrumental in this process of renovation and reimagination, and Brooke commissioned a total of five paintings of Warwick Castle from the artist.

Cassandra Albinson

Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, pp. 72-3, no. 23, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)



Between 1748 and 1752 Canaletto completed five painted views and three drawings of Warwick Castle. In all his paintings of Warwick-as in those of the Thames and London-he impresses his own, particularly Venetian sensibility onto the sites of England yet also captures their unique, wholly English qualities.
- Francis Greville, Lord Brooke (8th Baron Greville, later Earl of Warwick) and Canaletto most likely met through Sir Hugh Smithson (later Duke of Northumberland), who was married to Brooke's cousin and had been the painter's most active patron since his arrival in England two years previously. Eager to record the modern improvements he was making to his estate and aware of Canaletto's international reputation as a view-painter, Brooke commissioned him to paint the buildings and grounds of Warwick Castle sometime in 1748. Warwick Castle had belonged to Brooke's family since 1604, when James I granted the property to Sir Fulke Greville the younger. Originally built in 1068 for William the Conqueror, the castle had undergone constant renovations until the fifteenth century, but the sixteenth century saw the decline of the complex, the buildings finally succumbing to years of neglect. The castle Brooke inherited in 1727 had been lavishly restored by his ancestor after 1604, but by then the complex was again in desperate need of repair, and Brooke, upon his return from his Grand Tour, set his hand to renovating it.
Canaletto's five paintings are at once spectacular views of the castle and tributes to Brooke's renovations. The Center's painting is the last in a series of three views painted in 1748 and 1749 that show the south front of the building as it would have been seen from Castle Park, across the River Avon. Although his other two paintings of this facade are similar in vantage point, here he expands the foreground and widens the vista to include Castle Meadow, a small island in the Avon, and farther to the right the town of Warwick, its medieval bridge, and the bell tower of St. Nicholas's Church. At the left of the castle is Ethel?eda's Mount, the only surviving remnant of William the Conqueror's fortifications. Famous for its spectacular view of the outlying countryside, the small park atop the mound attracted visitors from afar, and Canaletto portrays some of these ascending the "winding walk" and others admiring the prospect from the summit. Incidental details such as these-as well as the pair of boys at the lower right who surreptitiously climb over the fence-create a lively atmosphere in which the potentially foreboding castle becomes an animated locus of activity.
In contrast to Canaletto's second version of this view-presenting a speculative vision of how the finished facade and park would eventually look-the Center's painting renders the topography of the palace and land more or less as it was at the time the artist painted it. Earlier in 1748 Brooke had engaged the landscape architect Lancelot "Capability" Brown to refashion the grounds as a green tree-filled "natural" landscape both inside and outside the castle's periphery. Canaletto shows us these works in progress: at the base of Ethel?eda's Mount is a veritable construction site filled with workers, garden tools, and brown soil. The artist delights in the almost humorous juxtapositions of old and new inherent in the renovations, noting such details as the placement of the castle's finely detailed porch next to a ramshackle lean-to used to store equipment. Similarly, sash-windows in the upper story of the castle's west end, two imposing windows of the Cedar Room, and the west porch newly renovated in the Gothic style stand out as bright white beacons against the eroding stonework of the facade. None of Canaletto's views of Warwick was executed on the spot; all were painted in his London studio. There he amplified in paint the sketches and studies of the castle he had made on his various visits to Warwick.

Julia Marciari-Alexander

Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, pp. 72-3, no. 23, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)

Yale University Art Gallery 2015-2016 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-02-01 - 2016-01-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Canaletto in England - A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755 (Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2007-01-24 - 2007-04-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Canaletto in England - A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755 (Yale Center for British Art, 2006-10-19 - 2006-12-31) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Tate Centenary Development (Tate Britain, 2001-09-25 - 2004-04-23) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Art Gallery of South Australia, 1998-09-16 - 1998-11-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Queensland Art Gallery, 1998-07-15 - 1998-09-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1998-05-01 - 1998-07-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

A Vanished London in Canaletto's Paintings, The Times (London), , Thursday, June 11, 1959, p. 5, Available online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

Archaeological Institute, Athenaeum, no. 1919, August 6, 1864, p. 180, A88 At421 + (SML) [ORBIS]

Archaeological Institute, Athenaeum, no. 1919, August 6, 1864, p. 180, Available online in British Periodicals II [ORBIS]

Katharine Baetjer, Canaletto, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1989, pp. 11-12, 61..., NJ18 C17 B24 1989 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Judith Banister, The B. A. D. A. Hold a Fiftieth Birthday Exhibition, Burlington Magazine, v,110,no,782, May, 1968, pp. 288, 290-91, fig. 77, N1 B87 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 249, no. 16, pl. 16, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Charles Beddington, Canaletto in England, a Venetian artist abroad, 1746-1755 , Yale University Press, New Haven, 2006, p. 45, no. 44, NJ18 C17 B45 2006 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

David Buttery, Canaletto and Warwick Castle, Phillimore, Sussex [England], 1992, p. 23, 27, no. 13, 14, NJ18 C17 B87 1992 (YCBA) [YCBA]

David Buttery, Canaletto at Warwick, Burlington Magazine, v. 129, no. 1012, July, 1987, pp. 437-40, fig. 18, N1 B87 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Canaletto in England, a Venetian artist abroad, 1746-1755. , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2006, p. 10, V 1707 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Christie's sale catalogue: Catalogue of the Collection of Ancient and Modern Pictures and Water-colour Drawings : 12 February 1906, Christie's, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, February 12, 1906, p. 9, Lot 50, Fiche B51, Fiche #1154 (YCBA) [YCBA]

W. G. Constable, Canaletto : Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768., Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1976, p. 429, no. 444, pl. 84, NJ18 C17 C65 1976 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Crowley, Imperial landscapes, Britains's global visual culture 1745-1820 , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2011, pp. 11, 12, fig. 9, N8214.5 G7 C76 2011 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Current and Forthcoming Exhibitions, The B.A.D.A. hold a 50th Birthday Exhibition , Burlington Magazine, vol. 110, May 1968, pp. 288-292, N1 C75 21S OVERSIZE [ORBIS]

East Front of Warwick Castle (Art Reproduction), ART News, v. 74, September 1975, p. 37, N1 A6 OVERSIZE (HAAS) [ORBIS]

Entrance to Warwick Castle (Drawing) (Art Reproduction), ART News, v. 51, February 1953, p. 38, N1 A6+ (Haas ) [ORBIS]

Fahy Everett, The Wrightsman pictures, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York New Haven, 2005, pp. 58, 73, no. 21, N6750 W75 2005 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Export of Third Canaletto delayed, The Times (London), , Thursday, April 27, 1978, p. 20, Available online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

Thomas Hoving, Auction Fever, Twenty-three Masterworks come on the Market , Connoisseur, vol. 215, May 1985, pp. 104-105, N1 C75 215 OVERSIZE [ORBIS]

Martin Huckerby, Export ban on Canaletto works is Extended, The Times (London), , Thursday, May 11, 1978, p. 18, Available online : The Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

David Jacques, Capability Brown at Warwick Castle, Country Life, v. 165, February 22, 1979, pp. 476, fig. 6, S3 C68 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

George Knox, Canaletto's Etchings, Book Reviews , Apollo, vol. 140, September 1994, pp. 74-75, N1 A54 140:1 OVERSIZE [ORBIS]

Letters to the Editor, Canaletto's Paintings , The Times (London), London, Tuesday, May 30, 1978, p. 15, Available online :The Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

J. G. Links, Canaletto, Phaidon, London, 1994, p. 168, NJ18 C17 L54 1994 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, pp. 72-3, no. 23, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon, Reflections in a silver spoon, a memoir , W. Morrow, New York, 1992, btwn pp. 382-3, N5220 M552 1992 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Steven Parissien, Celebrating Britain : Canaletto, Hogarth and patriotism, Paul Holberton Publishing, London, 2015, pp. 39, 40, fig, 23, NJ18.C17 C45 2015 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Patrons and Patriots (editorial), Apollo, v. 122, no. 283, July, 1983, p. 169, no. 2, N1 A54 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA) [YCBA]

Andrea Perstine, Canaletto in England, Exhibition Review , Burlington Magazine, vol. 149, February 2007, pp. 116-117, N1 B87 149:7 OVERSIZE [ORBIS]

Reproduction for Christie's Ad, Burlington Magazine, April 1985, back cover, N1 B87 127:1 OVERSIZE [ORBIS]

Reproduction for Exhibition Ad, Burlington Magazine, vol. 127, April 1985, pii, N1 B87 127:1 OVERSIZE [ORBIS]

Sales, Athenaeum, no. 4086, February 17, 1906, p. 209, Available Online: British Periodicals II Also Available: A88 At421 + (SML) [ORBIS]

Seicento and Settecento Italian Paintings at Daylesford House, Apollo, v. 118, no. 118, July, 1983, p. 69, N1 A54 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Osbert Sitwell, Canaletto, Creative Art, 5, October, 1929, pp. 697-704, J10 C86 + (Haas Arts Library Special Collections [ORBIS]

Roxane Sperber, Canaletto's Colour : the inspiration and implications of changing grounds, pigments and paint applications in the artist's English period, British Art Studies, Issue 2, Spring 2016, pages are unnumbered, figs.4, 12, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, Available Online (Orbis) http://dx.doi.org/10.17658/issn.2058-5462/issue-02/rsperber-jstenger [Website]

Roxane Sperber, Canaletto's Colour, The Inspiration and Implications of Changing Grounds, Pigments and Paint Application in the Artist's English period, http://www.britishartstudies.ac.uk/index/article-index/canaletto-colour/issue/issue-2 , British Art Studies, April 4, 2016, fig. 4, Available Online [ORBIS]

Denys Sutton, Patrons and Patriots, Editorial , Apollo, vol. 122, September 1985, pp. 169-171, fig. 2, N1 A54 122:1 OVERSIZE [ORBIS]

The Sale Room, Canaletto in England , The Times (London), , Wednesday, February 18, 1925, p. 5, Available online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

View of Warwick Castle (Art Reproduction), Connoisseur, v. 167, April 1968, p. 232, N1 C75 + (YCBA) [YCBA]


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