The core of the Museum’s drawings collection is a group of 52 works by John Claude Nattes (c.1765-1839). Nattes was a successful topographical draughtsman and watercolourist.
Possibly of French origin, he lived in London for most of his life but travelled widely across Britain and the Continent. He was a founding member of the Society of Painters in Watercolours in 1804, but was expelled after two years for exhibiting other people’s work as his own. This incident didn’t seem to affect his reputation and he continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until 1814.
In the early years of the 19th century the Napoleonic Wars prevented many artists travelling from Britain to the Continent. Nattes earned his living in this country from commissions to record buildings and estates and also from his services as a drawing master. The Spencer Stanhope children of Cannon Hall were among his pupils, and the drawings in the collection date from his time here.
Below is a selection of 15 works from the collection showing aspects of the Cannon Hall estate and the surrounding area. These delicate but animated sketches are an invaluable insight into the landscapes, labours and lifestyles of the period.