Melton Constable is the seat of the Earls of Hastings and the church of St Peter’s built in 1092, was originally the estate church. The simplicity of the Norman exterior belies the ornateness of the interior; the result of the Hastings Mausoleum, which fills the south transept and houses the family pew and a series of ornate memorials to the Astley family.
Cotman depicts the church from the south-east, looking toward both the south transept and the East End. The window in the south transept has been altered subsequently, as has the pitch of the roof on the central tower.
There is a reference to a work of similar size to the present drawing, depicting Melton Constable Church, Norfolk, from the South East, which is also signed and was formerly in the Bulwer Collection (C.F. Bell, ‘John Sell Cotman, (The Bulwer Collection)’, Walker’s Quarterly, 1925, no.69). Although whether this is the present drawing, or another version is uncertain. The Bulwer Collection also included a view of Melton Constable House which was engraved for Excursions through Norfolk, published in 1819 (Bell, op.cit., no.106).
Signed lower right and inscribed: Melton Church Nork. JS Cotman.
All Rights Reserved
image © Guy Peppiatt Fine Art
St Peter’s, Melton Constable, Norfolk, England
Buildings & Architecture