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FDA-P.411-2010

Parts

Object number

FDA-P.411-2010

Object type

Identification

Title

View of Eton College from the North

Title Type

assigned by cataloguer

Comments

'The dress of the figures in the foreground of theis work suggests that it represents a far earlier time in Eton's history. The arrangement of the buildings and the topographical elements are somewhat fanciful. Selected buildings have been arranged in a row as follows, from left to right: the Round Tower and two rather over-elaborated towers of Windsor Castle; Provost’s Lodge with walled garden in front and stable building to the right; College Chapel with part of the College buildings in front, and Savile house as it would be seen from the road, rather than from this angle. The bridge in the foreground does not attempt to reproduce the Fifteen-Arch Bridge.

There is more to find out about this mysterious view of Eton College. The frame has a label, which bears the title 'Eton College Chapel, the Provost Lodgings and Windsor Castle about 1600'. However, the date of the work has long been contested and current thinking is that it was painted during the mid-17th century. Although currently attributed to an unknown painter, the work was formerly ascribed to Dutch émigré artist Jan Wyck (c.1645–1700).

What we do know about the painting is how it arrived at Eton College. In July 1940 an art sale was held at Christie's, London, in aid of the Red Cross, whose efforts were focussed on helping British prisoners of war. This painting was donated to the sale by old Harrovian Lord Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey, in Cambridgeshire. A group of old Etonians, led by Major Astor, planned to purchase the work for the college but, after the bidding rose too high, art dealer Claude Partridge, another old Harrovian, stepped in to pay the 50 guinea shortfall. A report on the sale concluded: ‘Thus, Eton and Harrow were united for the sake of the Red Cross.’

Description

Content (place)

Eton College

Dimensions

height (sight size): 920mm
width (sight size): 1865mm

Inscription

I.D. label on frame 'Eton College Chapel, the Provost Lodgings and Windsor Castle about 1600'
Label on back 'Thomas Agnew and Sons Work Order 0499/84'
Label on back, circular paper label 'Reserved for Old Etonians'

Physical description

Carved gilt wood frame, with bronze overpaint
Frame 3 inches wide; stretcher just around the edges

Style

British School 17th Century

Production

Person

Unknown (Artist)

Date

c.1640-60

History and association

Object history note

Provenance: Collection of Lord Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey, in Cambridgeshire; by whom sold through Christie's, London, in July 1940, in aid of the Red Cross; from which sale purchased for Eton College by old Etonians, led by Major Astor, and art dealer Claude Partridge
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