WAG 142


This artwork has been identified as having links to a person connected with transatlantic slavery. This research is part of the Walker Art Gallery’s ongoing work to be more transparent about the collection’s relationship to Britain's colonial past. A previous owner of this painting was William Rutson (1791 - 1867), a Liverpool merchant and cotton-broker, and son of the trader in enslaved African people, William Calton Rutson (died about 1817). William Calton’s company, Ewart Rutson (later Ewart Myers), were consignees for owners of enslaved African people. The UCL Legacies of Slavery database details that: ‘William Ewart, William C. Rutson and Archibald Maxwell et al. - partners in Ewart Rutson - were parties to an 03/02/1807 Power of Attorney to William Barton of Liverpool 'to obtain possession of estates on Barbados'. These estates have not yet been identified.’ William’s grandfather, another William Rutson (1738 - 1793), was also a trader in enslaved African people, of 'the old firm of Backhouse and Rutson, African traders [sic].' William Jnr purchased Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire in 1839 for £152,388. It was used as the family hunting lodge. His great-niece Margaret Rutson bequeathed the property to the National Trust in 1952. He left an estate of £120,000 in 1867. The painting is a copy of a composition by the celebrated 17th-century French landscape painter Claude Lorrain (?1604/05 - 1682). It shows the original composition reversed, which suggests that it was probably based on the etching of the painting made by Vivares and published in 1741.