caption

T. Wheatley, The Mansion House with a View of Prince’s Street, Truro

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)

Details

Country House
Trewithen
Title(s)
The Mansion House with a View of Prince’s Street, Truro
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Overall height: 57.1 cm, Overall width: 80 cm
Artist
T. Wheatley
Catalogue Number
TN40
Signature
  • Signed 'T. Wheatley'

Description

This is one of two views of Truro at Trewithen by an otherwise unknown artist who signed himself ‘T. Wheatley’ (see TN86). The dating of the picture is uncertain. It may have been made in the later eighteenth century, as the dress of the figures suggest. Alternatively, it may be a relatively modern recreation of the Georgian period. In the past the painting has been identified as a view of Boscawen Street with a carriage before the house of the Hawkins family. However, the house in the left foreground is the Mansion House, which still stands on Prince’s Street. It was constructed between 1755 and 1762 for Thomas Daniell, a wealthy and notoriously ruthless tin and copper-mine owner. Daniell’s wife, Elizabeth Elliot, was the niece of Ralph Allen, who made a fortune providing the building stone for Bath. Allen also provided Daniell with the stone for the Mansion House, designed by Thomas Edwards, who was also the architect of Trewithen and several other major Cornish houses.

By the eighteenth century Truro’s prosperity was guaranteed by the tin industry and the export of smelted tin. At that time local mining magnates constructed a series of imposing townhouses. Truro was also a Stannary Town, where tin was assayed and stamped prior to export. Tin ingots were brought twice a year to the medieval Coinage Hall on Boscawen Street to be assayed. Although we cannot be certain, it appears that the group of men at the right of the painting – apparently on nearby Prince’s Street – are involved in an activity relating to the essaying of tin, since the tubular metal objects they are carrying and stacking appear to be tin ingots.

According to the inventory of March 1928 the picture hung in the Entrance Hall. It was described as ‘Street scene – Provincial Town, Georgian period, gilt frame – 24 by 32in’.

by Martin Postle

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