Joseph Charles Barrow – A Gazebo in the Grounds of a Country House

Out of stock

Signed Barrow in black ink (lower left). Monochrome washes on off white wove paper, presented in a new wash-line mount.

Sheet: 7 1/4 x 9 3/8 in. (18.3 x 23.8 cm.)
Window: 7 5/8 x 9 3/4 in. (19.2 x 24.6 cm.)
Mount: 14 3/8 x 16 1/4 in. (36.6 x 41.4 cm.)


The picture is showing a man fishing beneath a willow tree, to his left there is a gazebo, further to his left there stands a statue of an eagle and a stick back chair. The picture had been pasted into a Victorian scrap album with the heading ‘A Seat at Herwood in Essex’.

Joseph Charles Barrow was active during the time that Harwood Hall was built for Sir James Esdaile’s daughter & son in law George Stubbs. The house was also referred to as Herwood, however there are no contemporary descriptions of the grounds of Harwood Hall and a map in a sale catalogue of 1819 does not indicate a lake as part of the house’s grounds, although there was one later.

During the 1780s Charles Barrow was among a number of artists commissioned to record the house and the surrounding estate at Strawberry Hill in Twickenham, London. Horace Walpole acquired the villa in 1748 and over the following half a century he transformed the building into a ‘little Gothic castle’ and filled it with a remarkable art collection which included a magnificent Roman eagle. We contacted the curators at Strawberry Hill and they replied to say that the eagle was kept in the villa and was too fine a piece to be displayed in the grounds of his estate, so unfortunately the location of our drawing remains a mystery.

A collection of watercolours by Charles Barrow of Strawberry Hill can be viewed online at the Yale University Library website under Digital Collections.


Barrow, Joseph Charles (active 1789-1804)

Joseph Charles Barrow was the son of Charles Barrow, of Barrow & Smith, linseed oil merchants of Upper Thames Street in London. By 1771 his father had moved the family to Fulwell Lodge in West Twickenham. Here he started a seed-crushing business using the adjacent mill on the River Crane. Joseph Charles did not follow in his fathers business: He took up art and was engaged as an assistant in 1791 by Henry Pars at his drawing school in the Strand. He is noted as exhibiting at the R.A. between 1789 and 1802. He produced a number of views of Strawberry Hill for Horace Walpole. He opened his own drawing school in 1792 at 12 Furnival Court, Holborn where he gave evening classes in drawing twice a week. John Varley (1787-1842) is noted for studying there in 1793. Subsequently, Barrow took Varley on a sketching tour to Peterborough from which he emerged as a professional painter.