The Smoking Chimney of Warwick Priory

Winter scene at the Priory, Warwick. Painted by George Albert Lingard Stubbs.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR4728/1

In February 2015 a painting, which was picked up at auction, was donated to the Warwickshire County Record Office. It was instantly recognisable as the Priory, Warwick.

The painting is dated 1903 and signed by L. Stubbs. It may be said that the painting is no masterpiece, but it does have a certain charm about it, depicting the property with the home fires burning whilst snow covers the ground outside. At first the accuracy of the painting was in question, the tall chimneys of the 19th century lithograph were not represented, nor the lower floors to the right of the entrance (again shown in the 19th century lithograph). However further images of the Priory dating from 1925 show the shorter chimney stacks and the ground in front of the property has at some point been raised, almost obscuring the lower level windows.

Who was L. Stubbs?

With no clues to their identity, and very little information to conduct more than a very general search, incredibly, an image of a painting by a Lingard Stubbs depicting Westgate and the Lord Leycester Hospital, Warwick was found via the internet. It is currently held by Warwickshire Museum Service and there is a striking resemblance in the style of both paintings, particularly the way the smoke rises from the chimneys.

George Albert Lingard Stubbs was privately baptised in the parish church of St. Nicholas, Warwick on 17th June 1871, the son of George Andrews Stubbs of Dorset and Eliza Stubbs (née Cashmore) of Warwick. He had three elder brothers: George (deceased); Frederick; and Henry – and two younger brothers, Joseph and Herbert.

The family lived in Paddington, London before moving to Warwick in the 1850s / early1860s and made the town their home. They resided at 16 Coten End, and later at 4 Chapel Row. From the census returns we can see that Lingard’s father George was a lithographic artist, designer, landscape painter, and house decorator. Lingard would aspire to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Left the family home

By 1891 Lingard had left the family home and moved to Doncaster where he was a boarder with a cabinet maker; his occupation is given as artist and designer. He returned to Warwick upon his marriage to Mary Jane Green at Warwick St. Nicholas on January 1st 1901. From this point Lingard gives his occupation as decorator and house painter, which may indicate that his work as an artist and designer were not as lucrative as he had hoped. However he did continue to paint, as evidenced by the two known paintings which have survived to this day. George Albert Lingard Stubbs died in 1918 aged 48. He is buried at the parish church of St. Nicholas, Warwick.

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