The Garden Gateway, Haddon Hall

The Garden Gateway, Haddon Hall



David Cox (1783-1859)
The Garden Gateway, Haddon Hall

Signed lower left: D.C. 1845
Watercolour over black chalk
20.6 by 28.4cm., 8 by 11 in.

William Ellis;
Estate of Edith Hall, U.S.A.

Haddon Hall was one of Cox's sketching grounds. He seems to have first visited `delightful old Haddon' in August 1831 as part of one of his summer tours of Derbyshire in the company of his son David Cox Junior and William Roberts, when he would also visit Hardwick Hall and Bolsover Castle. His letter to Roberts of 28
th August 1831 reads: `We have visited the Hall every day since you left. Today we had Mr Severn's car and went to Chatsworth and round by Bakewell..... but I do not expect to be much pleased with anything this country can afford after my favourite old Haddon. Indeed, this alone is quite enough for one summer.'

Haddon was the Tudor seat of the Dukes of Rutland but had been supplanted by Belvoir Castle since the 1740s so it was empty at the time (and remained so until 1912) which must have added to its sense of romanticism.

Cox returned frequently to Haddon in the late 1830s and the present watercolour dates from his visit in May 1845 in the company of his friend and patron William Ellis who eventually owned over three hundred works by Cox. The weather was bad but they stayed in the area for two week. Drawings from this trip were the first of Haddon in Cox's late, loose style and are often signed with initials and dated, as with the present work. For two more of the same size, see `Air and distance, storm and sunshine - Paintings, watercolours and drawings by David Cox', exhibition catalogue, Spink-Leger, 1999, nos. 31 and 34.