National fundraising charity the Art Fund
has helped Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
acquire an important 18th century painting capturing a local scene.
The Art Fund contributed £6,666 towards the acquisition of View of Matlock, Derbyshire by William Marlow (c 1780) when it was bought at auction at Sothebys. Other significant funding contributions were made by the Heritage Lottery Fund (£6,666) through its Collecting Cultures initiative, and £5,333 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.
The oil painting depicts Matlock Bath and the River Derwent flowing past the Old Bath Hotel, which was built in 1734. The town of Matlock became famous during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a spa-resort, sought out for its ailment-curing qualities.
The purchase will expand the county councils growing collection of works from the Enlightenment period at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery which already includes two hand-coloured prints from engravings of Marlows work.
Marlow was born in London in 1740, studying under the marine painter Samuel Scott, and also at the St. Martins Lane Academy. He manly painted oils and watercolours, focussing on marine and landscape scenes. The painting is like many contemporary paintings as it shows people going about their daily business walking, fishing and riding, which is also typical of Marlows style.
The Buxton Museum and Art Gallery also own a print by John Bluck dated to 1805, which shows the Old Bath Hotel and improvements to the road layout. Having a more complete collection will allow visitors and students to gain a better understanding of the opening up of the area in response to the growth of tourism.
View of Matlock, Derbyshire, which cost £20,000 has been in private hands since at least 1936. Its companion painting, also of Matlock, went to Manchester Art Gallery in 2003.
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund said: View of Matlock, Derbyshire is a fascinating piece which helps to illustrate the many changes that have shaped the area as a result of tourism. Its great that it will go on show in the local area so people can appreciate it within its historical context.
Derbyshire county councils strategic director for cultural and community services Martin Molloy is delighted to add the work to the authoritys collection. He said: This is an historically notable view of Matlock Bath at the time when Arkwright was building his factories just down river. It adds significant information to our knowledge about the Derwent Valley, both in terms of the architecture and the natural history. We are very grateful to the Art Fund for helping us buy it.