Only the grounds and some curtain walling survives from the actual castle, and the extant building in the grounds which houses the art is an impressive 17th C pink sandstone mansion, itself restored and altered in the 1870s by a local architect, Thomas Chambers Hine. Remnants of a statue of the 1st Duke of Newcastle upon Tyne (William Cavendish, who built the thing) are above the modest entrance - torsos of horse and man survive. A couple of pairs of heraldic beasts - lions and baboons - survive in much better shape in the grounds.
The Victorian collection of the Nottingham museum is too large to be shown all at once, so must needs rotate. Rossetti has a representative late portrait Marigolds, a rather dark effort showing a girl by a fireplace, with a cat playing with wool in the gloom. John Brett has a large and characteristic view of Land's End, Cornwall (1881), with trademark lichen covered rocks, grass, sea, sky, and two small children sketched in for scale or genre interest. Also of Pre-Raphaelite interest is a small work by James Collinson of a stall girl in St Bride's Church Bazaar, called For Sale, and Ford Madox Brown's Cromwell and the Vaudois.
Among a variety of genre work, Marcus Stone's In Love is a large, typical and polished work showing a couple in a walled garden. The besotted man gazes thoughtfully at the girl, who is sewing. On the table between them are nicely chosen symbolic single green and several red apples, and behind, a Cupid statue. Also notable is Laslett J Pott's large, sombre costume piece Mary Queen of Scots being led to her execution, and works by James Hayllar, J. R. Herbert, and Alfred Elmore. At the bottom of the scale Marianne Stokes's ghastly Childhood's Treasures vies with the excruciating group of infants and animals in a sentimental landscape by H Clarence Whaite - as ironically expressed by a contemporary journal, 'The eyes of the Philistines have not been permitted to behold outward nature as it has been revealed to Mr H Clarence Whaite.'
Other Victorian interest includes typical works by George Morland, James Lonsdale, George Clausen in his Dutch period, Francis Wheatley, William Shayer, W. F. Yeames (a version of Amy Robsart), and sea pieces by Edwin Hayes and Vicat Cole. Worth a mention are dog pictures by Lucy Ann Leavers, and the slightly tongue in cheek Highland Raiders by William Shackleton. Also to note, La Thangue's Mission to Seamen, and the strange ceiling panel of a flying angel, divine figures behind, by William Etty entitled The Doves. Nottingham artists who achieved any degree of eminence on the national stage are not plentiful - the most notable was Richard Parkes Bonington, who was born near the town (though he did not train as an artist until the family removed to France). Also represented in the collection, by a harmless Young Anglers, is local man made good Edwin Ellis (1843-1895), and another native, Henry Dawson, may be mentioned for Raising the Standard. Among earlier works must be pointed out the arresting Girdle of Venus attributed to Guy Head (1760-1800), better known as a portraitist and copyist.
An important sculptural work is in the grounds - the Captain Albert Ball memorial. The portrait statue is accompanied by a wholly remarkable flying girl. Captain Ball was an airman, and two panels sketched lightly in stone on the sides of the plinth show aeroplanes. The whole thing, an excellent example of New Sculpture Movement work, is by Albert Toft. Nearby, a modern work, Richard Perry's The Quartet (1986), showing angular figures of four shoppers, previously sited in Old Market Square.
Other sculptural work may be found in Nottingham - see the separate page.
Top of page
Also in Nottingham
Victorian art in Britain