by W.B. Cooke for Views in Hastings and its Vicinity (unpublished)
The castle remained in the Darcy family, who were connected to the Fiennes’ by marriage, until the reign of Charles II, when Lord Darcy, 1st Earl of Sussex was forced to sell his family seat, as a result of his extravagance and his love of gambling. In the eighteenth century, the castle was owned by the Naylor family, who were related to the Dukes of Newcastle, but by the end of the century, the building had fallen into a ruinous state. At the time of Turner’s visit, the great building was owned by Thomas Read Kemp (1782-1844), a Member of Parliament and the founder of Kemp Town in Brighton.
In the present watercolour, which has been dated to 1813, Turner has positioned himself to the south west of the castle. The great edifice dominates the landscape and its pinky-red brick contrasting dramatically with the greens, blues and yellows of the surrounding countryside. It is early morning and a fine mist gently rises from the castle’s moat. To the left, a horse-drawn-carriage prepares to leave, while in the foreground, four cattle, whose composition and bulky forms appear to mirror that of the castle, cool off in the a reed-lined pond.
For further information on Turner’s Sussex watercolours please see lot 193.
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