This fascinating model was made by the 19th century architectural model maker John Bellamy (1808-1893) and is the earliest example of his work known to survive. Bellamy was the son of a Gloucestershire farmer, at the age of 15 he went into service, and it was whilst working at a house in Fulham that he saw a card model being made by his employer's nephew which he felt he could better. He would, however, not turn to this as a profession immediately, for he took up the role of a wandering minstrel first spending much of 1830 on the road passing from town to town performing. It was from the winter of 1830 that Bellamy seriously began making card and cork models, initially he would make them on spec and try to sell them, or solicit commissions from the owners, and it is from this early phase that this model of Newtown Park, Pilley, Hampshire, which he modelled for a Mrs. Plowden. The address inscribed to the base of this model is that of his grandmother, with whom he was living at the time. His skill was quickly recognised and in 1832 he modeled Bushy House, former home of King William IV; when shown this model the King was delighted with it and said it to be 'very correct and beautifully made', although the monarch did not offer to purchase the model, Bellamy took this as an opportunity to brand himself 'Professor of Modelling to King William IV' and it was following this boost that he developed a travelling show. At its peak the show included numerous elaborate models carried in a series specially built caravans which could be grouped to form a 70 ft. gallery, at one point complete with band and fountain. The highpoints of Bellamy's career perhaps, came when the show visited Windsor Great Park in 1851 and 1857 and was attended by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, by which time the centerpiece, and Bellamy's greatest ever model was the 90 sq ft. model of Windsor Castle itself which took seven years to produce. In the latter part of the 19th century Bellamy was referred to as the oldest showman in Britain, with his daughter taking on the show which ran from 1837-1893 following her father's death (see, S. Blake, 'The Oldest Showman in England', Gloucestershire History, vol. 22, pp 2-10). Several of Bellamy's later models are known to survive including his 1835 model of the Pittville Pump Room, in the collection of the Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum.
We are grateful to Steven Blake for his assistance in compiling the
note on this lot.