Curator solves Turner painting puzzle

THE mystery of newly-discovered Turner painting 'The Ruins of Hatfield Castle' has inspired a theory from Geoff Preece, curator of Doncaster Museum.

Tuesday, 25th September 2007, 11:33 am
Updated Friday, 28th September 2007, 4:04 pm

Local historians have been scratching their heads, as there has never been a castle in the village.

But the painting, which was discovered at Willett House in Somerset earlier this year, is clearly marked on the back by the artist as being of Hatfield Castle.

It was painted circa 1797, a time when Turner is known to have been travelling in Yorkshire.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However Mr Preece has suggested: “Though there has never been a castle in Hatfield, there was a Royal hunting lodge there and it’s entirely possible that Turner painted that and upgraded it somewhat!

“It’s certainly reasonable speculation - that area would still have been aristocratic land at that time.”

The painting went under the hammer at Cheffins Auctioneers, in Norfolk, on Thursday and sold for 30,000 to a private buyer - more than five times the estimate of 4,000 to 6,000.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t bid,” said Mr Preece, who added that he wasn’t surprised it fetched much more than the estimate.