Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, Paris, France
By Richmond Castle
Comments? Do please tell us: [email protected]
From the Collection
Pen and brown ink and washes over pencil on laid paper; inscribed lower centre: By Richmond Castle 1719 (H. 12cm, W. 18cm)
After abandoning a career as a lawyer in London, Francis Place moved to York where he lived a life of gentlemanly leisure, pursuing an extraordinary range of interests. Place was active as a draughtsman, engraver and potter. He became involved with the antiquarian group the York Virtuosi, taking a close interest in their scientific researches. Place travelled widely in England and Wales, sketching landscapes and medieval architecture, as well as indulging his passion for angling. On one journey, in 1678, he was briefly imprisoned as a suspected Jesuit spy.
Place discovered a talent for drawing as a young man. He was encouraged by his friend Wenceslaus Hollar, a Bohemian artist who had moved to England in 1637 and established himself as the leading printmaker of the day. Many of Place’s drawings reflect his antiquarian interests, and they include numerous detailed drawings of medieval architecture. Among the works by Place in the Crick Bequest are studies of the ruined keep at Sheriff Hutton Castle, and another unidentified fragment of medieval architecture. In the last few decades of his life, Place turned away from his earlier architectural studies and he made a series of wash drawings of landscapes, river-scenes and seascapes. He was the first English artist whose main preoccupation was landscape, something that had previously been the preserve of foreign draughtsmen.
This distant view of Richmond Castle is a typical example of the ‘tinted drawing’ used for topographical views in the 18th century. The scene was first drawn in pencil and then pen and ink. Light and shadow are indicated by the application of washes of brown ink. Place’s mastery of this tonal wash technique has resulted in an atmospheric drawing of great delicacy.
From the Watercolour World