This is a very large fine 19th century oil on canvas depicting the royal court of King Charles II in the gardens of an English stately home in Kent by the distinguished Royal Academy painter James Digman Wingfield (1800-1872). ‘Summer Hill, time of Charles II (They went every day to court, or the court came to them)’ is signed by the artist and dated 1855, in which year it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. It hangs in a superb newly commissioned handmade gold metal leaf frame.
As with all of the original antique oil paintings we sell it is offered in excellent condition, having just been professionally cleaned and re-varnished.
Summer Hill House is a Grade I listed Jacobean mansion near Tonbridge in the English county of Kent. Following the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660, King Charles II gave Summer Hill to Viscountess Muskerry, a lady of extravagant tastes who subsequently – and notoriously – played host to the King and his entire court.
The house and its history of royal debauchery is mentioned numerous times in Count de Grammont’s scandalous ‘Memoirs of the English Court’ and was immortalised in a poem of 1833 entitled ‘The Country Seat’ which names four of the King’s most famous mistresses; Nell Gwynne, Moll Davis, Frances Stewart, and the Countess of Castlemaine…
“Oh, Summer Hill if thou wert mine,
I’d order in a pipe of wine,
And ask a dozen friends to dine!
Once tenants of this fair domain,
Soft Stewart, haughtiest Castlemaine,
Pert Nelly Gwynne, gay Molly Davis,
And many another Rara Avis.
E’en now, midst yonder leafy glade,
Methinks I see thy Royal shade,
In amplitude of wig arrayed.”
Dimensions: (framed) 131cm x 106cm (51½” x 41½”)
Dimensions: (canvas only) 114cm x 89cm (45” x 35”)
Medium: Oil on canvas.
Provenance: Private collection.
Presentation: New handmade gold metal leaf swept frame. All of the new frames we commission are especially made for us to order by one of the UK’s top period frame makers.
Condition: Excellent. Newly professionally cleaned and re-varnished. Ready to hang.