You are here: Home | Fine Arts

Fine Arts

Fine Arts Collection

The fine art collection consists of oil paintings, watercolours, drawings, prints and sculpture totalling around 3,000 items, around half of which are prints. Of the 1,100 or so drawings and watercolours, the most significant group is the George Wright watercolour collection of over 570 paintings, produced by the local firm to demonstrate their cast iron works.

The Nightingale collection

The largest group of art acquired by the museum from a single donor is a group of 81 oil and watercolour paintings donated by local benefactor Edward Nightingale in 1908 and 1913. Some of the works had been on loan to the Museum since 1893. In Nightingale’s own words, he donated the collections to the museum, ‘to form the nucleus of a really good and instructive series of art productions, which a town of such importance as Rotherham should possess’.

The group includes a number of significant artworks including ‘The Bay of Biscay’ by Henry Redmore, ‘Interior of a Church’ by David Roberts, ‘Mary Queen of Scots and David Rizzio’ by John Rogers Herbert, and ‘La Zingarella’ attributed to Corregio.

The Walker Family

Nightingale’s collection formed the start of the fine art collection, and the Museum continued to collect work, much of which has a particular local significance. Clifton Park Museum was originally the home of the Walker family, an important local family of iron founders, who built Clifton House in 1784. We have a number of oil paintings related to the Walker Family, all donated by descendants of the Walker Family. Mrs Winifred Causton donated the full length portraits of Joshua and Susannah Walker of Clifton House, which are hung in the Dining Room, a portrait of Susannah Walker in later life was donated by Michael Walker, and works painted by Dame Ethel Walker, including her self-portrait and ‘Decoration for an Ivory Room: Invocation to the Dance’. Many of the Walker paintings are on display at Clifton Park Museum because of their direct connection to the building.


The portrait collection extends beyond the Walkers and includes the widely exhibited ‘Ann Verelst’ (c.1771) by George Romney. Anne was the younger daughter of Josiah Wordsworth of Wadworth. She married Henry Verelst and lived at Aston Hall, near Rotherham. Ann is depicted in a pose adapted from an antique prototype, the statue of Ceres in the Mattei Collection. Other portraits include a pair by Jonathan Singleton Copley after David Morier; ‘George II’ and ‘Frederick Prince Of Wales’, both c.1800 and two paintings whose artists remain unknown; ‘William Pitt the Younger’ c.1795 and ‘Portrait of an Unknown Lady’ (after Kneller) c.1685.

Beliefs and myths

Our paintings inspired by religious belief or mythology and allegory include the ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’, 16th Century Italian School, which is our best example of an artwork inspired by religion. The best of the mythological or allegorical paintings are two by well-known artists; ‘Diana, Returning from the Chase’ by William Etty and ‘The Adventure’ by William Shackleton.

Landscapes and townscapes

We hold many townscapes, landscapes and rural scenes, mainly depicting the local area. We also have a particularly good collection of seascapes, including paintings by Henry Redmore, John Callow, George Chambers and William Brooker. The landscapes and townscapes include paintings of national or international interest such as 'Landscape Study' by Henry Herbert La Thangue.

The majority of the collection focuses on paintings with a local connection, where the scene or sitter is local or where artworks are by a well-known local artist. Examples of this are the William Cowen painting 'View of Rotherham', which is complemented by seven other original works by Cowen in the collection, and the portrait of 'Thomas Newbold', a local colliery manager, by David Jagger. This painting is complemented by sculptures by his more renowned brother Charles Sargeant Jagger, in the sculpture collection.


The Sculpture collection holds three Charles Sargeant Jagger sculptures, The Sentry, Torfrida and Bacchanalian Scene and a series of busts including one in Bronze of local channel swimmer Thomas Burgess and La Femme Africane by Charles H Cordier, both displayed in the museum. Also included within the collection is Puck on a Toadstool, by 19th Century American sculptress, Harriet Hosmer.

See what times we are open

The Museum and some attractions have individual opening times.

See opening times

Plan your visit

green flag logo
arts council logo
Visit England Quality Marque
heritage lottery fund logo

© 2019 Clifton Park and Museum.

Unless otherwise stated.