Thomas J. Marple, Dorothy's Doorway, Haddon Hall - 19th-century graphite drawing


An original late 19th-century graphite drawing, Thomas J. Marple Dorothy's Doorway, Haddon Hall.

A loosely modelled graphite sketch of what is known as 'Dorothy Vernon's Doorway' at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. Dorothy Vernon was the daughter of Sir George Vernon, who inherited the hall in the sixteenth century. Forbidden to marry John Manners, the second son of the Earl of Rutland, it is said she eloped through this doorway during a ball, escaping to meet her love who was waiting in the garden beyond. The story was reimagined many times in later literature, theatre and film  including a well known Hollywood version in 1924 starring Mary Pickford. On light blue paper mounted on cream board. 

Signed lower right. Inscribed on a separate piece of paper: 'Dorothy Vernon's Doorway, Haddon'. 
Foxing and age toning as shown. Stray ink dots on upper left and centre as shown. Glue and paper remnants upper and lower verso on backing card. Graphite smudges verso.
23.9cm x 16.9cm.

This work is one of a collection of nineteenth-century drawings and watercolour paintings we have for sale by the artist Thomas J. Marple, depicting architectural and rural scenes set in Derbyshire, Wales and Scotland.

Little is known about Marple, but it is likely that he was a native to Derbyshire given the wealth of scenes depicted in that county. The name does appear in Derby newspapers of this time period, with a potential death date of 1889.

Marple’s interests appeared to have been vast – as well as producing typical Victorian images of pastoral beauty and simplicity, he also shows a fascinating penchant for nocturnal Gothic landscapes, interiors and the supernatural. He also crosses playfully between mediums – from the intricacy of graphite and pen to the fluidity and brightness of watercolour.

He attempts to capture the hidden magic that lies between the historic unknown, in the details of ancient churches and the then-decaying medieval manor house Haddon Hall, with contemporary poetry, landscape and people.

Some images contain elements of Whistlerian and Pre-Raphaelite design, indicating that on some level, Marple was abreast of developments in modern art, and made attempts to adapt them into his own unique style.

These works were once in the possession of Colonel Sir Henry Wilmot (1831-1901), an illustrious military figure during the age of Victorian imperialism, who was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1858 for his actions at Lucknow during the battles of the Indian Mutiny. Wilmot was born near Derby, later becoming a Major in the Derbyshire Rifle Volunteers, and it is likely this local connection that attracted him to the works of Marple.

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Product code: JF-804

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