This grand scene depicts the interior of Knole House, a country house and former archbishops palace. Situated within the 1,000 acre Knole Park the house ranks in the top five of England’s largest houses occupying a total of four acres.
The majority of the canvas is given to a well furnished drawing room resplendent with various paintings, tapestries and furniture. To this day Knole House has one of the finest collections of 17th century English upholstered furniture in the world. Much of it was made for the royal palaces of the ruling Stuart dynasty and is of the highest quality. It is likely that the chair and footstools seen her originally came to Knole house as part of the vast collection put together by Charles, 6th Earl of Dorset.
This work has incredible intricate detail in all aspects of the space including the depiction of flowers in vases, a bird in a cage and adorned trinkets. On the armchair sits an English guittar, popular in Victorian Britain. The instrument is recognisable for its pear-shaped body, flat base and rather short neck.
A dog stands before an opened door leading further into the house. In the distance we are given just a glimpse of a lady and gentleman conversing at the window. From here a lovely flow of daylight floods into the rest of the scene making the whole work bright and airy. In the foreground on the windowsill is a music book with pages open and an untouched peach. This perhaps signifies the sudden rush of the young woman away from her resting place to meet the unexpected suitor outside.
John Watkins Chapman
John Watkins Chapman was a mezzotint portrait engraver and genre painter. Chapman was born, and later worked in London, exhibiting more than thirty paintings at the RA from 1897 to 1903. He also exhibited extensively at both the British Institution and at Suffolk Street.