Mary D. Tothill (exh.1870-'80s)
THE PROPERTY OF A DECEASED'S ESTATE
Mary D. Tothill (exh.1870-'80s)

Queen's House, Barbados

Details
Mary D. Tothill (exh.1870-'80s)
Queen's House, Barbados
watercolour heightened with bodycolour and scratching out on paper
12 ½ x 20.1/6in. (32 x 51cm.)
signed with initials 'M.D.T.' (lower left)
Provenance
Anon. sale; Christie's, South Kensington, 20 November 1986, lot 15.
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, London, 23 November 1995, lot 303 (to the late owner).

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Nicholas Lambourn
Nicholas Lambourn

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Lot Essay

Queen’s House, situated in Queen’s Park in Barbados’s capital city Bridgetown, was, until the succession of Queen Victoria, known as ‘King’s House’. The two-storey building served as the residence of British army commanders-in-chief from the year 1780 when the first British troops were permanently garrisoned on the island, a decision that was made during the American War of Independence. The first commanding officer to reside there was General Gabriel Christie, who occupied the house in 1780, while his soldiers were stationed along the coast at St Anne’s Fort. It was a brief residence for Christie, for later that year, the building was destroyed by a hurricane. In 1782, the Crown purchased the property and it was rebuilt with the addition of two buildings, the Retreat and the Pavilion, to function as quarters for senior staff officials. British troops finally departed Barbados in 1905 and Queen’s House, along with its twelve acres, were converted into a public park. Major renovations took place in 1908 as a result of the ruinous state in which it was left by the army, and in the early 1970s it underwent a thorough restoration under the direction of Oliver Messel. The building remains well preserved and houses the Queen’s Park Gallery and Joseph Hackett theatre.

Tothill, a Bristol artist, is recorded at the South Kensington School of Art, winning a Queen's Prize (Art Journal, January 1875) and exhibited at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour between 1881 and 1885. Her family were early plantation owners on Barbados.

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