Wivenhoe House is the new home for an imposing mid -19th century painting of Essex landowner William Philip Honywood II, his steed and Harrier hounds.
The painting, hanging in the 18th century main house, was officially unveiled by the Vice- Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster and Sir Filmer Honywood, a descendant of William Philip, whose family owned Marks Hall near Coggeshall until 1897.
The University has developed important links with the Marks Hall estate. James Raven, Professor of Modern History, is a trustee of the estate and directed research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council into the history and site of the mansion, which was demolished in 1950. James Raven’s book, Lost Mansions, about Marks Hall, was published last year.
The portrait, by Robert Nightingale, once hung in the Dining Hall of Marks Hall. Sir Filmer gave the portrait on loan to Essex Council Archaeological Department and it was hung in Ingatestone Hall in 1954, but has been in storage in recent years.
The artist, Robert Nightingale, was an orphan who began his working life as an apprentice painter and decorator in Maldon. His employer soon discovered Robert had an eye for finer detail and colour and Robert’s relatives found the money for him to enter the Royal Academy in 1837, aged 22.
His love of horses put him in contact with the art commissioning classes and he developed an outstanding reputation for painting horses, hounds and even prize cattle, even painting Hermit, the Derby winner of 1867.. His first exhibited painting in 1846 was ‘Frolic and her Puppies’ commissioned by William Philip Honywood.
The historic Marks Hall Estate and Arboretum is open to visitors (daily except Mondays) and is not too far from Wivenhoe House. Over the 200 acre estate you can see beautiful vistas and encounter a host of exotic trees from around the world, brought to the estate by Thomas Phillips Price who took over the estate from the Honywood family.
In 1971 the Thomas Phillips Price Trust, a registered Charity, was formed. The Trust, now renamed Marks Hall Estate, has worked to restore the gardens and landscaped parklands and to create an Arboretum of national significance.
Find out more