Daniel Gardner, A.R.A. (Kendal 1750-1805 London)
Daniel Gardner, A.R.A. (Kendal 1750-1805 London)
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THE ROSS COLLECTION FROM KNOCKMORE, ENNISKERRY, WICKLOW (lots 157-193)By Barbara Ann RossMy parents, John (1919-2011) and Ruth Isabel ‘Rubel’ (1919-2016) Ross, were both born just after the end of the first world war and lived into their nineties. My father was Irish and my mother English. They met at Cambridge at a dance. During the second world war my father joined the Irish Guards and my mother was at Bletchley Park. Having left Ireland as a young child, my father always had a romantic attachment to the country and brought my mother back to settle there soon after the war ended.It was my father who was the collector. He probably always had an instinct for it. His great aunt May Berryman (1861-1954), was an avid collector and they used to have conversations about paintings when he was still a boy. She gave him a fine Italian drawing of a Baroque saint which started him off; but it wasn’t until my parents moved to Knockmore, their charming regency villa outside Dublin, that my father’s collecting really took off.The house, which they bought in the mid-1960s, was not the inspiration for the collection but housed it beautifully. Its elegant main rooms and the views down rolling fields to the sea, formed the perfect setting for a collection of 18th and early 19th Century pastels and watercolours. The house had an outstanding and time-consuming garden which became my mother’s passion. She said it would make or break her: she rose to the challenge and plunged into all aspects of gardening, becoming the Irish Times gardening correspondent, writing the introduction to the seminal ‘Irish Florilegium’ and several small books on country matters. She immortalised their life together at Knockmore in her book ‘A Year in an Irish Garden', illustrated by the well-known Irish Georgian architect Jeremy Williams (1943-2015).My father had by this time developed an international practise as a solicitor and it was largely on his frequent trips to London that he built up the collection. Here, the knowledge and enthusiasm of among others Michael Wynne, Keeper of Paintings at the Irish National Gallery, was a great help.The first painting he bought was Rowlandson’s ‘Out of Action’ which shows a peg-legged pirate being lifted from a boat (lot 164). Rowlandson was always a favourite of my father’s and he went on to collect many more of them as well as a fine collection of 18th Century pastels favouring portraits by Gardner and Douglas Hamilton. However the bulk of his collection were landscapes by, among others, Gainsborough, Girtin, John White Abbott, Laporte and Sandby; he gathered them together over a period of fifty years. Towards the end of his life I remember him being particularly pleased at having secured all the known Irish views painted by Edward Lear on a rare trip to Wicklow (lots 187-188).Many of his paintings are of Irish interest and he was an active member and sometime Chairman of the Irish Friends of the National Collections. Apart from collecting my father was interested in politics and at one time sat in the Irish Senate; he was also a keen fencer and Captained the Irish team. He enjoyed travelling and loved animals. In fact, he frequently came back from one of his expeditions with something bulky tucked under his arm, hidden by his overcoat: we never knew whether it was going to turn out to be a stray dog he had picked up on the way home or a wonderful painting for the collection.
Daniel Gardner, A.R.A. (Kendal 1750-1805 London)

Portrait of Miss Annabella Powlett Smith, bust-length

Daniel Gardner, A.R.A. (Kendal 1750-1805 London)
Portrait of Miss Annabella Powlett Smith, bust-length
with inscription on an old label attached to the reverse of the frame 'Miss Annabelle Powlett Smyth 1755'/Married, 21 Aug. 1777, to Charles Townshend Esq. (see corresponding portrait), who was created/Baron Bayning 20 Oct. 1797./This and the portrait of her husband and a/drawing supposed to represent three of their children/belonged to the Honble Mirabel Neville, who died/14 Jan. 1900, and were given to me after her death/by her sister the Honble Mrs. Arthur Savile/Robert Marsham-Townshend. July 14. 1900'
pencil, pastel and bodycolour
10 x 7 7/8 in. (25.4 x 20 cm.), oval
Mirabel Jane Aldworth (Neville) by whom given to
Robert Marsham-Townshend (†); Knight Frank and Rutley, 7-23 June 1915, lot 95.
with Agnew's, London.
Mrs. Burns.
The Viscount Harcourt by 1921, and by descent to
Hon. Alexander St. Vincent Baring 6th Lord Ashburton; Christie's, London, 30 March 1993, lot 12, where purchased for the present collection.
G.C. Williamson, Daniel Gardner, London, 1921, p. 100, repr. opp. p. 100.
N. Jeffares, Dictionary of pastellists, online edition, no. J.338.1044.

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Jonathan den Otter

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Lot Essay

Annabella Powlett Smith (1761-1825) was the daughter of the Rev. Richard Smith of Itchen, Hampshire, and Annabella Powlett, a grand-daughter of the Duke of Bolton. She married her cousin, Charles Townshend (1728-1810), at Lambeth Palace on 21st August 1777, aged 16. He was created Baron Bayning in 1797. Her daughter was also depicted by Gardner, in lot 159.
We are grateful to Neil Jeffares for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.

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