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William van der Hagen (The Hague active c. 1720-1745 Ireland)
Property of a Family Trust
William van der Hagen (The Hague active c. 1720-1745 Ireland)

A extensive view of Carton House, County Kildare, with Maynooth in the distance

William van der Hagen (The Hague active c. 1720-1745 Ireland)
A extensive view of Carton House, County Kildare, with Maynooth in the distance
oil on canvas, unlined
42 3/8 x 52 5/8 in. (107.6 x 133.6 cm.)
inscribed 'A view of Carton House / about the year 1730' (on the reverse)
(Probably) Commissioned by Henry Ingoldsby (d. 1731), Carton House, County Kildare, and
acquired with Carton House in 1739 by,
Robert FitzGerald, 19th Earl of Kildare (1675- 1743), Carton House, County Kildare, and by descent to his son,
James FitzGerald, 20th Earl of Kildare, and later 1st Duke of Leinster (1722-1773), and by descent to,
Edward FitzGerald, 7th Duke of Leinster (1892- 1976), from whom acquired with Carton House in 1949 by,
Arthur Nall-Cain (1904-1967), 2nd Baron Brocket, and by descent.
A. Crookshank, ‘Lord Cork and his Monuments’, Country Life Magazine, CXLIX, no. 3859, May 1971, p. 1290, fig. 7.
D. Guinness and W. Ryan, Irish Houses and Castles, London, 1971, pp. 182-3, illustrated.
H.A.W., ‘Review: Irish Houses and Castles by Desmond Guinness; William Ryan’, The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, CIII, 1973, p. 228.
C.A. Lewis, Hunting in Ireland: An Historical and Geographical Analysis, London, 1975, p. 49, pl. 16.
E. Malins and D. FitzGerald, Lost Demesnes: Irish landscape gardening, 1660-1845, London, 1976, pp. 9 and 12, fig. 8, as ‘attributed to Johann van der Hagen’.
E.E. Evans and B. de Breffny, The Irish world: the art and cultural achievements of the Irish people, New York, 1977, p. 166.
A. Crookshank and D. Fitzgerald, The Painters of Ireland c. 1660-1920, London, 1978, p. 57.
J. Harris, The Artist and the Country House, London, 1979, p. 151, no. 166.
B. de Breffny, Ireland: A Cultural Encyclopaedia, New York, 1983, p. 111, illustrated.
V. Packenham, The Big House in Ireland, London, 2000, p. 25, illustrated.
N. Figgins and B. Rooney, Irish Paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland, I, Dublin, 2001, p. 456.
W. Laffan (ed.), The Sublime and the Beautiful: Irish Art 1700-1830, exhibition catalogue, Pyms Gallery, London, 2001, p. 47.
A. Crookshank and D. Fitzgerald, Ireland's Painters, 1600-1940, New Haven and London, 2002, p. 69.
T. Barnard, Making the Grand Figure: Lives and Possessions in Ireland, 1641-1770, New Haven and London, 2004, p. 70, fig. 17.
F. O’Kane, Landscape Design in Eighteenth- Century Ireland, Mixing Foreign Trees with the Natives, Cork, 2004, pp. 92-4, fig. 49.
W. Laffan, Thomas Roberts: Landscape and Patronage in Eighteenth-century Ireland, Dublin, 2009, pp. 272-3, fig. 225.
W. Laffan, 'Landscape Painting in Ireland 1600- 1900', Art and Architecture in Ireland, II, Dublin, New Haven and London, 2014, pp. 71-2, fig. 7. P.
McCarthy, Life in the Country House in Georgian Ireland, New Haven and London, 2016, p. 14, fig. 11.
Belfast, Ulster Museum; and Dublin, Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Irish Houses and Landscapes, 27 June-22 September 1963, no. 26, as ‘Attributed to Johann van der Hagen’, lent by Lord Brocket.

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Lot Essay

This magnificent bird’s-eye view shows Carton and its demesne before the house was re-cast as a grand Palladian mansion by the architect Richard Castle for the 19th Earl of Kildare, from 1739, and its gardens and demesne transformed to reflect mid eighteenth-century taste.

The Fitzgerald family, one of the oldest Norman families in Ireland, had long been the dominant family in the area around Carton, Maynooth Manor having been granted to Maurice Fitzgerald, Lord of Maynooth, in 1176. However, FitzGerald control of the site of Carton House was not continuous. In 1603 Gerald FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Kildare, had granted the lease of Carton to Sir William Talbot (d. 1634), the scion of another prominent Norman family, in whose family’s ownership it remained for nearly a century. The fortunes of the Talbot family, however, suffered a reversal when Sir William’s son Richard, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, James II’s Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and Commander-in-Chief of the King’s army, was attainted following the Battle of the Boyne. In 1703 Carton was sold to Sir Richard Ingoldsby, Master-General of Ordnance, and later a Lord Justice of Ireland, whose son Henry inherited it in 1712. After the death of Henry Ingoldsby in 1731 the house was sold by his cousin and heir Thomas Ingoldsby to Robert, 19th Earl of Kildare in 1739, thereby returning to the resurgent FitzGerald family.

Commissioned when the house was owned by the Ingoldsby family, this view shows Carton at the centre of an elaborate formal garden and its wider demesne. In the foreground, on the southern side of the house, formal prospect avenues of lime trees radiate outward into the countryside from the enclosed entrance courtyard, which was entered by carriage from the north-east via the Dunboyne avenue. On the northern side of the house can be seen a stepped series of walled gardens and terraced walks. In the distance to the far left is Maynooth, dominated by the ruins of the keep of the ancient FitzGerald castle, a potent symbol of the family’s power in the area, while the foreground of the composition is anchored by the imposing Prospect Tower built by the Earl of Tyrconnell. The scene is animated with numerous figures; mounted figures and a pack of hounds are seen beside Tyrconnell’s Prospect Tower, and a carriage is shown turning in the courtyard of the house. Only a short distance away, sandwiched between the western two prospect avenues, is the home farm with a barn and haystacks.

Sir William Talbot had built a house on the site in the early seventeenth century, which formed the nucleus of the house shown. In the Civil Survey of 1654 Carton was described as ‘one Stone House […] being now ruined and decayed’, but by the time it was included in the Book of Forfeited Estates following the Earl of Tyrconnell’s attainder it was described as ‘a very fine House’ with ‘all manner of convenient offices and fine gardens’. An anonymous late seventeenth century plan entitled ‘A Resemblance of the Improvemt of Cartowne [Sic]’ (fig. 1) is informative about the nature of the ‘fine gardens’ that surrounded Tyrconnell’s house, its key indicating that alongside the ‘walled pleasure garden’ on the northern side of the house there was an orchard, a terrace walk, a canal, a flower-garden, and plum, cherry and ‘sparagrass [sic]’ gardens, among other notable features.

Henry Ingoldsby, who inherited the house from his father in 1712, spent much of his time in London, but maintained a keen interest in the gardens and farm at Carton as his letters to his uncle William Smythe, who looked after Carton in his absence, make clear. Van der Hagen’s view, which is thought to date from circa 1720-38, gives a good idea of how the house, garden and demesne would have appeared during Henry Ingoldsby’s tenure. A Map of the Demesne of Carton together with the Adjacent lands intended for a Deer Park by Charlie Baylie and John Mooney of 1744 (fig. 2), presumably commissioned by the 19th Earl of Kildare after his acquisition of Carton in 1739 shows the landscape painted by van der Hagen. Both the map and the plan suggest that Richard and Henry Ingoldsby do not appear to have altered greatly what they had inherited from the Talbot era. Carton’s garden remained that of a typical provincial nobleman at the turn of the seventeenth century, who favoured an Anglo-Dutch style of garden in preference to a more French-Italianate continental model (F. O’Kane, op. cit., p.95). Among the most identifiable changes made to the gardens by the Ingoldsbys the brick walls of the walled gardens were decorated with espaliered fruit trees and the pleasure garden’s four grass plats were ornamented with cones and spheres of topiary and some decorative statuary, while the canal is no longer apparent in either the painting or the 1744 map. Both the painting and the 1744 map also show the extension of the 17th Century formal gardens to the north, in a more complex geometrical form than the original gardens with bosquets of trees, wildernesses and tree-lined allées directing the viewer towards chosen features in the northern countryside.

By 1740, as Finola O’Kane has observed ‘Carton’s late adherence to the Dutch tradition […] was regarded as thoroughly provincial’ and ‘the demesne and gardens of Carton were entirely too small, modest and unfashionable for the great aristocratic family of Fitzgerald’. Robert, 19th Earl of Kildare, set about improving Carton house and its demesne as a fitting seat for a nobleman of his standing soon after its acquisition, employing the architect Richard Castle to alter and expand the house and the La Francini brothers to decorate its interior. After his death in 1744 his wife Mary, Countess of Kildare continued the work until 1747 the year in which her son James Fitzgerald, 20th Earl of Kildare, later Duke of Leinster (1766), married Emily Lennox, daughter of the Duke of Richmond, who came to Ireland in 1747. The young earl and countess immediately began making alterations to the demesne to create a landscape comparable to those that they admired in England and Ireland. Land was acquired in the valley of the Ryewater river to the north, south and west of the house and the demesne expanded to some one thousand acres. Keen to celebrate the family’s feudal connection with the town of Maynooth, an avenue of lime trees linked the town with its demesne. By 1756, when the cartographer John Rocque produced a volume of estate maps for the Duke, few of the avenues described in the late seventeenth century plan of the estate or van der Hagen’s view remained. The celebrated ‘Capability’ Brown-inspired remodelling of the landscape at Carton by the Duke and Duchess of Leinster was immortalised in the celebrated series of views of the demesne by William Ashford and Thomas Roberts commissioned by William, 2nd Duke of Leinster.

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