Thomas Baker

A View Of Kenilworth

Thomas Baker

A View Of Kenilworth

This beautiful mid-19th-century oil painting by British artist Thomas Baker (1809-1864) depicts a view of Kenilworth in Warwickshire.

As the sun sets, illuminating the vista akin to a radiant Claudian vision, two cattle graze while another rests. Overlooking them, partially nestled into picturesque foliage, the majestic ruins of Kenilworth Castle.

Originally built in the 12th century as Norman fortification, Kenilworth’s history is a rich tapestry. Previous owners include King John, Henry III and Queen Elizabeth I. It was partially destroyed by Parliamentarians during the English Civil War and, today, belongs to the nation.

For Thomas Baker, the ruins afforded an opportunity to include a classical reference in a pastoral landscape. The distant glow adding a sense of misty-eyed sentimentality. The Victorians adored the associated romance of ruined castles.

Baker was a fastidious notetaker and kept records of the various works he produced throughout his life. These are in the form of diaries, which were bequeathed to the Birmingham Art Gallery and Museum by Baker’s son, and these in turn form the basis of a website maintained by Robert Mulraine.

Our painting is entry number 494, which includes a sketch and reads:

No 494
View of Kenilworth
Size 10 1/2in x 8in
On canvas laid down on wood
January 1856
Sold to Mr. Whitehead

The ‘Mr Whitehead’ referred to here probably relates to William Whitehead (1817-1885), the Leamington-based 'colourman' and picture dealer. He acquired numerous landscapes from Thomas Baker for resale between 1851 and 1864.

Signed/dated lower left and held within a gilt frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas laid on wood
Overall size: 17” x 14” / 43cm x 36cm
Year of creation: 1856
Provenance: Mr Whitehead, England - probably the picture dealer William Whitehead (1817-1885) / Private collection, Germany.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction maximum: £13,604

Thomas Baker

Thomas Baker

Thomas Baker was an accomplished British artist and also known as ‘Baker of Leamington’. He trained in Birmingham under Joseph Vincent Barber and exhibited at the Birmingham Society of Arts. He’s represented in numerous public collections including the British Museum.

Learn more about Thomas Baker in our directory.

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