This group of watercolours comprises thirteen of the original seventeen executed by R. Kitton in 1839 for John Britton's monograph on Toddington, Graphic Illustration with Historical & Descriptive Accounts of Toddington, Gloucestershire, The Seat of Lord Sudeley, London, 1840. R. Kitton was a Norwich artist who is recorded as exhibiting at the R.A. in 1847.
Toddington Manor, situated on the northern foothills of the Cotswolds, came into the posession of Charles Hanbury-Tracy, 1st Lord Sudeley following his marriage to Henrietta Susanna Tracy in 1789. The original 17th Century farmhouse was falling into disrepair and Hanbury-Tracy undertook to remodel the house in the Neo-Gothic style. Christopher Hussey comments that 'whereas Fonthill or Belvoir were fanciful extravaganzas on an ancient castellated or monastic theme, at Toddington a serious attempt was made to combine a rational plan (by the standards of the 19th Century) with the architectural style most widely admired at the time' (English Country Houses: Late Georgian 1800-1840, London, 1958). In this revolutionary fully thought-through Gothic style, Toddington was perhaps two decades in advance of than any comparable endeavour. More remarkable still, Hanbury-Tracy designed and superintended the project himself, without the aid of a professional architect. In Britton's introductory dedication he states 'I know not of any parallel instance where a house of equal extent, diversity of parts, richness of decoration and harmony of management has been the work of an amateur architect' and later ' It is gratifying to witness the Aristocracy of our Country thus laudably applying their wealth and time to encourage the artist and artisan, and to employ the labourer.'
An important and unpublished archive of drawings for Toddington Manor was sold in these Rooms, 16 November 2005, lot 177.