Early British Landscape to Sell at Old Masters Sale

Sotheby’s London will offer the earliest known bird’s-eye painting of a British garden  for $950,000 (£600,000) at its sale of Old Masters on December 3. Painted sometime around 1665, this large-scale topographical View of Llanerch Park, Denbighshire is considered an extremely important historical document.

The painting has been in the same family collection since the owner commissioned the artwork in 1665, according to a report in the Guardian. The garden was reportedly the crown jewel of Mutton Davies, a landowner who, after a late-1650s trip to Italy, was inspired to create an Italian garden for his house in North Wales.

The painter of the artwork is anonymous, though he is believed to be English.

Sotheby’s specialist Julian Gascoigne told the Guardian: “There are much more accomplished later views of gardens like Hampton Court, by more sophisticated artists who often came from the continent. This is really very early…and the artist is clearly having a few problems with the perspective—but we believe it to be by the earliest by a native painter, so it is really quite an important thing.”

Llanerch Hall, the house shown in this picture, was probably built in the late-16th century, with a brick office range near the house added in the early 17th century by Sir Peter Mutton, according to Sotheby’s.

The BBC reports that “parts of the much-altered hall is still in use but the garden has long since gone.”

There are two versions of the picture. A smaller painting was acquired in 1968 by the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven.

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