Artists celebrate magnificent Wentworth Woodhouse

Artists celebrate magnificent Wentworth Woodhouse

By Michael Upton | 07/09/2020

Artists celebrate magnificent Wentworth Woodhouse
Wentworth Joe Scarborough and Dame Julie Kenny


TWO artists of widely varying experience have each made their own mark with tributes to historic Wentworth Woodhouse.

Celebrated painter Joe Scaborough has immortalised the massive mansion on canvas for his latest work, which will soon be on show at the stately home itself.

The country pile has special significance for the 82-year-old, who was a miner in his youth at Thorpe Hesley Colliery and used to see the home of the Fitzwilliams on the horizon as he emerged from underground after a shift.

“I knew it as the Big House and admired it on my way to the pit bath house,” he said.

“I never thought I'd ever step inside it, let alone be asked to paint it,” he said.

Visitors to the region’s biggest regeneration project — set to take 25 years or more to restore to its former glory — can go one step further and proudly wear a distinctive illustration of the Big House by snapping up its first ever fundraising T-shirt, as designed by Rawmarsh mum of two Zoe Rowbottom.

She actually produced the design 13 years ago as a 20-year-old graphics student, but has only been brought into the public eye after the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust ran a contest to design a new logo.

The competition inspired entries from as far away as Australia but local lass Zoe, now a business analyst by trade, won through with the imagery she had consigned to the attic for over a decade.

A batch of 5,000 are now on sale at a pop-up shop in the mansion's gardens and on its website in both adult and child sizes.

The preservation trust is selling a limited number of prints of Joe’s painting, signed by the artist, to raise funds for the restoration.

Joe said: “I was honoured to be asked by Dame Julie Kenny (chair of the preservation trusts) and, having seen it all those years ago, was struck by how circuitous life can be.

“Julie invited me to the house and I was overwhelmed by its beauty and flooded with ideas.

“I wanted the painting to span several decades and show the life and times that have gone on there.

“I hope fans of the house don't mind, but I rearranged things a bit - I moved the great chandelier into the Marble Saloon, where a wonderful ball is happening, and took down a wall of the house down to reveal the action inside.”

The painting also shows a procession of cars through the ages are arriving, including the early 1900s Sheffield Simplex, which Earl Fitzwilliam funded, and those of King George and Queen Mary, who stayed at the house in 1912.

Lady Mabel College students and cricketers can be seen amid other landmarks of the estate and Wentworth village.

Currently hanging at Dame Julie’s house, the painting will be display when the mansion reopens to visits later in the autumn.

Dame Julie, who also features in the artwork, invited Joe to get painting on the suggestion of a volunteer and urged people to snap up a print to help the house’s fundraising get back on track.