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.