Tale of tourism embedded in new acquisition

  • Published 26 May 2011

View of Matlock by William Marlow has been bought for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery with the help of the Art Fund...

View of Matlock, Derbyshire by William Marlow (c 1780) depicts a significant moment in the history of tourism throughout the area. The rich, lush countryside, pretty rapids and a budding hotel on the verge of renovation enables us to imagine precisely why Buxton has become a world-class tourist hotspot.

The oil painting depicts Matlock Bath and the River Derwent flowing past the Old Bath Hotel, which was built in 1734. The town of Matlock became famous during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a spa-resort, sought out for its ailment-curing qualities and relaxing scenery.

The painting, which cost £20,000 has been in private hands since at least 1936. The Art Fund contributed £6,666 towards the acquisition when it was bought at auction at Sotheby’s.

Marlow was born in London in 1740, studying under the marine painter Samuel Scott, and also at the St. Martin’s Lane Academy. The painting typical of Marlow’s style as it shows people going about their daily business – walking, fishing and riding. The Buxton Museum and Art Gallery also own a print by John Bluck dated to 1805, which shows the Old Bath Hotel and improvements to the road layout. Having a more complete collection will allow visitors to gain a better understanding of the growth of tourism over the centuries.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund said: “View of Matlock, Derbyshire is a fascinating piece which helps to illustrate the many changes that have shaped the area as a result of tourism. It’s great that it will go on show in the local area so people can appreciate it within its historical context.”