London – Westminster – Tate Britain (Distant View of York by Alexander Keirincx)

This isn’t a great photo of this artwork, which is a distant view of the city of York.

Fortunately, the gallery has released copies of its artworks on-line, so here’s a better one. This painting was one of ten that were commissioned by King Charles I to show some northern and Scottish scenes. It was then housed at Whitehall Palace, before being sold at a sale of Commonwealth assets on 3 May 1650, the second of such disposals (and more were to come) of the Monarch’s property. This painting was purchased at the sale by Remigius van Leemput for his collections and it came to Tate Britain in 1986, so it has been on a long and circuitous journey to end up nearby to Whitehall once again.

The artwork was painted by Alexander Keirincx (1600-1652), a Flemish landscape painter who specialised in wooded scenes and imagery of English castles and landscapes. He painted this series of artworks in 1639, before moving to Amsterdam in 1641 where he lived until his death.

Work by the Tate suggests that the painting isn’t entirely historically accurate, so it’s unclear whether or not the artist did visit York or he just shoved something together from existing drawings. Interestingly, six of the paintings from the same series came up in the late twentieth century, two of which ended up at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and the other at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut (which has the largest collection of British paintings in the world outside of the UK). Some of the other paintings that came up for sale didn’t sell, so they could be anywhere at the moment.