Thomas Robins the Elder was an important 18th-century fan painter and landscape artist.

He was born in Cheltenham and lived for much of his life in Charlton Kings on the eastern side of the town. This fan is richly decorated with a view of the South East of the town, and features a number of different annotated elements, including ’The Well and its Conveniences’ , ‘Lady Stapleton’s house’, ‘The Church and part of ye Town’, and ‘…Stapleton’s Dog Kennel’; of these only the Parish Church, St Mary’s, still stands. The mention of Lady Stapleton’s name twice strongly suggests she commissioned the fan. A number of figures are depicted including what is probably the artist himself seated at work on the left of the scene (Robins includes himself in other known work), and Lady Stapleton may also be included as one of the well-dressed figures on the Well Walk, possibly accompanied by her friend Captain Henry Skillicorne, the developer of Cheltenham Spa.

Provenance

Private collection; Monica Maiman, 1999. believed to be current vendor. The Gallery has been advised to carry out an Art Loss Register search.


The Wilson: Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum

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