Completed British 18th C, except portraits, Wales: Artists and Subjects 24 Does anyone know who painted this view of Caerphilly Castle?

Caerphilly Castle from the Van
Topic: Artist

Could this be Miss Gardner's exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1783 as no 418 'Caerphilly Castle, Glamorganshire'? She was an Honorary Exhibitor.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

Completed, Outcome

This discussion is now closed. It has not been possible to identify the artist, so ‘British School’ is still the best option. The date has been adjusted to early–mid 18th century.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.


Miles Cato,

Miss Gardner's picture is illustrated in Waterhouse (Dictionary of British 18thc Painters) p. 140 - and sadly is not the same. The present work looks pretty early, perhaps mid-18thc? Sadly, the hand is not familiar but it a rather spectacular picture.

Martin Hopkinson,

Neither Tintern nor Chepstow , painted by Glover , are far from Caerphilly.

Martin Hopkinson,

BI 1818 no View near Chepstow 3 ft 8 in x 4 ft 10 in
BI 1819 no Tintern Abbey 4 ft 3 in x 5 ft 6 in
also exhibited 3 paintings of Goodrich Castle in 1818

Martin Hopkinson,

two more paintings of Chepstow Castle and one of Tintern Abbey at RA in 1818

Martin Hopkinson,

The Yale Center for British Art, New Haven has a watercolour of Goodrich Castle on the Wye with one of Chepstow Castle verso
The large painting in Newport Museum of Tintern should be compared with this [88.8 x 199.5 cm]
Nottingham's Chepstow Castle 91. 4 x 132.1 cm

Martin Hopkinson,

National Library of Wales has a watercolour of Chepstow Castle

Martin Hopkinson,

it would be worth checking the catalogues of his one man exhibitions of 1823 and 1824

Martin Hopkinson,

for his work in UK see B S Long, Walker's Quarterly , 15, 1924
More recently there have been several publications on his work in Australia

Marcie Doran,

I compared this painting to other paintings of castles and landed on the following Richard Wilson because of the man sketching and the detailed old and new buildings.
“Dover Castle”
Richard Wilson (1713/1714–1782)
National Museum Wales, National Museum Cardiff

The orange ground, the fence, and the hedgerows in the mystery painting are similar to those in this painting.
“View of Old Kedleston House”
Jan Griffier I (c.1652–1718) (attributed to)
National Trust, Kedleston Hall and Eastern Museum

It has charm, and in date and manner is probably closer to Griffier than Wilson (so thereby also before John Glover): early to mid 18th-century at a guess.

The dress of the artist and his companion must be first half of the 18th century, and treatment of landscape, peasants and buildings surely cannot be any later than that.

Marcie Doran,

"The Van" was a Tudor house near Caerphilly Castle. It underwent changes to its structure over the years and it's presently known as the listed building "Van Mansion".

According to the British Listed Buildings website:
"The house had a first-floor and an unheated ground-floor hall. In 1616 Sir Edward Lewis transferred his seat to St Fagans Castle and after 1628, when the main line of the family was no longer settled in Glamorgan, Van House became relatively insignificant. In the early C17 the kitchen wing was extended by a further unit and became a separate farmhouse. The remainder of the house may have been largely dismantled after 1736 when the Lewis estates were inherited by the Earl of Plymouth."

Here's an older image of the house.,-344,3433,3079&cv;=

Marcie Doran,

I'm quite sure that the donor was the artist Thomas Henry Thomas of Cardiff (1834–1915).

Thomas Henry Thomas bequeathed many works of art that are shown on Art UK (including a posthumous bust of his father).

Is there an explanation for date of acquisition (1924) for these works of art?

I have ordered the wills of Thomas Henry Thomas and his father Reverend Thomas Thomas D.D. (1805–1881).

S. Elin Jones,

Yes Marcie the donor was Thomas Henry Thomas.

Marcie Doran,

He has a common name and it was tricky to find him because of that date 1924 in the side panel. I would have expected this work to have been bequeathed in 1915 not 1924.

S. Elin Jones,

The dates look like they must be wrong, but both dates are absolutely correct for various reasons.

I've researched Thomas Henry's involvement (both in English and in Welsh) but am afraid am going to have to put a pause on posting.

Marcie Doran,

Thank you for the information, Elin.

Marcie Doran,

The will of Thomas Henry Thomas only mentioned the two portraits of his parents. His father's will did not mention any works of art.

I thought that the artist might be Paul Sandby (1731–1809) after seeing his horses in the work below at the link.

However, this engraving of Caerphilly Castle (after one of his paintings), on eBay, shows the castle in a very different state of disrepair. It’s still an interesting engraving and it might help to date the work we are discussing.

I don't think we are going to get any further in the time available to Art Detective. The artist is still unknown, so 'British School' would suffice. The date of the painting must be first half of the 18th century.