March 11th, 2015

George Dunlop Leslie (1835-1921), Midsummer Morn, Bushy Park

 photo Georgedunlopleslie midsummermornbushypark1906.jpg

A magical painting, quite unexpected from this artist. Bushy Park is one of the London royal parks, Hampton Court Palace is set in a corner of it. The painting shows the Diana Fountain, a structure set in a pool there which dates back to the 17th Century. It has an interesting history, having originally been commissioned by Charles I for his wife; Inigo Jones drew up the original design, and it was originally at Somerset House, but was moved out to Hampton Court by Cromwell. This turned out well in the long run, because it formed an attractive feature - in a much bigger pool than at Somerset House - after the gardens and park were redeveloped under the supervision of Sir Christopher Wren at the end of the 17th Century. The gilded figure at the top is not really the goddess Diana (let alone the late princess of that name!) but the water-nymph Arethusa.

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