A recent new acquisition is this watercolour painting of Kings Weston house framed by the trees and lodge at Penpole Point. The gates separating the common land on the Point from the private woodland walls is firmly shut and the top of the lodge is almost enveloped in ivy. The sun makes the golden stone of both buildings glow in the early autumn light. This was once a well-known view of the house, being the subject of several other known paintings, but inclusion of the lodge in the view as well is unusual. The view to the house must have been obscured by trees not long after this painting was created as we have no later image from this perspective.
It’s an important find for a couple of reasons; first it was painted by a well-known local artist, Thomas Leeson Rowbotham (1782–1853), whose paintings form a major component of the city museum’s Braikenridge collection. Most of these date to the 1820s and were commissioned to record historic buildings and monuments in the city, though the Kings Weston painting falls outside of that collection. It’s also significant for its very precise date – September 21st 1848 – just a year short of 175 years, almost to the week. It’s a late work by Rowbotham, then aged 66, the artist surviving just five years longer after its completion.