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George Clarke

George Clarke (1790-1868) was an amateur artist who was born at Hanging Houghton, Northamptonshire in 1790. His father was schoolmaster at Hanging Houghton, and George became schoolmaster at Lamport in 1818. Around this time he started travelling around the county to sketch houses, churches and village scenes. In 1833, he resigned from his post as schoolmaster and moved to Scaldwell where he took up his artistic work full time. Between 1819 and 1854, Clarke produced pen and ink studies of all the major houses, parish churches and village environments in Northamptonshire. His work provides a unique and complete record of the built environment of Northamptonshire during the first half of the 19th century and over a period when the Parliamentary enclosure movement was completing the transformation of the county’s open fields and commons.  He died at Scaldwell in 1868.

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Rockingham Castle, Northamptonshire
A pen, ink and wash drawing measuring 8¼” x 13½”. Inscribed in the margin ‘Drawn by G. Clarke, Scaldwell’ and ‘Rockingham Castle, Northamptonshire’. Provenance: sometime with C.A. Percival, Picture Framer, Cleaner and Restorer, Gold Street, Kettering (label verso).

The Subject
A royal Norman castle in a spectacular position…

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…commanding the valley of the Welland. The drawing depicts the north front of the Castle, with the 13th century hall in the centre, the Elizabethan house on the left, and the archway to the 13th century gatehouse on the far left. This drawing depicts the north front prior to the alterations and additions by the architect Anthony Salvin in the 1840s and 50s.