Henry Dawson was a landscape artist born in Hull on 3 April, 1811 to William Dawson and Hannah Shardlow. The family moved to Nottingham when he was still an infant. He is known to have spent time at the national school in Nottingham, however, due to family circumstances had to leave school to start work at an early age in the lace industry. He was largely self-taught and painted during his spare time. Around 1835, he left lace making to work full time as an artist. He studied under James Baker Pyne (1800-1870) in 1838 and in the same year made his debut at the Royal Academy, exhibiting a number of works there until 1871.He also exhibited at the British Institute from 1841 and also at the Liverpool Academy, where he was elected an associate in 1846 and a Member in 1847.
He married Elizabeth Whittle in Nottingham in 1840 and they lived in Mansfield Road, Nottingham where the first of their children were born. Two of his children, Henry Thomas Dawson (1841-1918) and Alfred Dawson (1843-1931) also became artists as did his grandson Montague Dawson (1895-1973). Although he achieved some success in Nottingham, for financial reasons he decided to move his family to Liverpool, where they stayed from 1845 until 1849. He moved again for similar reasons to Croydon in Surrey living at Middle Heath Lane and from1854 he lived in Thorpe Green, Chertsey at Prospect Cottage. Being closer to the capital helped enhance his reputation and inspired by Turner he began to produce seascapes, riverscapes and coastal scenes often featuring architectural focal points. Dawson continued to travel around the country to paint the landscapes and coasts of England, frequently including castles such as this fine example. Around 1863, he moved to The Cedars in Chiswick where he spent his final years until his death on 13 December, 1878.
His work is represented in many public art collections including the Birmingham Museum, Bury Art Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, Leicester Museum, Nottingham City Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Wednesbury Museum, Sheffield Museum, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and the York Art Gallery.
In 1866, at the time of this painting, Dawson was living at The Cedars in Chiswick. As well as visiting Knaresborough in Yorkshire that year he also travelled to Preston in Lancashire. Knaresborough Castle is a ruined Norman fortress overlooking the river Nidd. During its history it was regarded as a key northern stronghold and was infamously used by the assassins of Thomas Beckett as a refuge. It underwent substantial modifications during medieval times and was at one point a Royal residence. It was held by the Duchy of Lancaster from 1373 and used as a fortress and an administrative centre up until the Civil War when King Charles I used it as a garrison. After a failed attempt by the Royalist forces to relieve Helmsley Castle, the castle came under siege before a surrender was brokered. To prevent it being reused by Royalist forces, it was demolished by order of Parliament. Knaresborough Castle is still owned by the Duchy of Lancaster but is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument which is maintained by Harrogate Borough Council.
|Presentation||The painting is housed in its original gilt frame which is in excellent condition.|
|Condition||As with all of our original antique oil paintings, this work is offered in ready to hang gallery condition, having been professionally cleaned, restored and revarnished.|
|Image Size||19.75 inches x 29.75 inches (50cm x 75.5cm)|
|Framed Size||31.5 inches x 41.5 inches (80cm x 105.5cm)|