Full moon, Roundhay Park Castle signed and dated 'Atkinson Grimshaw 2872 +' (lower right) oil on board 43 x 53.5cm (16 15/16 x 21 1/16in).
PROVENANCE: Sale, Sotheby's, London, 20 March 1979, lot 75 Private collection
For similar compositions see Sotheby's London, 11th December, 2007, lot 11, and Christie's London, 8th November, 1996, lot 47
Alex Robertson suggests that the number can be read as 2 August 1872 which would be consistent with works of this period.
These pictures of Roundhay Park, Leeds date from the time the park was being acquired from its private owners by Leeds Town Council. Grimshaw was commissioned by the town to show the park to a committee of the House of Commons in order to promote a bill which Leeds hoped would persuade the committee to agree to its taking over the land as a public park and for some element of building. The series of views of Roundhay were completed in 1872 and it is likely that this picture was one of them. It was quite a clever idea to show the park by moonlight thus increasing its romantic and poetic appeal.
The lake had been created from a quarry by soldiers returning to the area after the Napoleonic wars and was named Waterloo after the famous battle ground. Another feature of the landscape around the family home was a folly in the form of part of a ruined medieval castle.
For Grimshaw with his love of Arthurian legend this was a heaven sent opportunity. It also coincided with his new interest in light effects to create a poetic landscape full of mystery. These views have remained popular since the day they were painted.
We are grateful to Alex Robertson for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.