Prints, watercolours & drawings overview
The museum’s collection of prints, watercolours and drawings comprises about 480 images of which the majority (68%) are original works on paper – watercolours and pen and pencil drawings with the balance being prints of various kinds. The principal criterion for selection of works has been local topographical, historical or architectural interest rather than artistic quality, although a good number of the artists do feature in recognised British listings, and a few in international auction reports.
Perhaps of greatest interest is the wide collection of pictures of manor houses and mansions from previous centuries that are no longer with us, some of which derive from the purchase of existing collections, but many also from private donation.
Collections of note include early engravings, mostly eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Watercolours of local buildings, churches and schools marked Porden but probably by R B Schnebbelie. John and Edward Hassell’s watercolour views of local mansions and lesser buildings as part of a survey of Surrey. An 1825 set of drawings by the topographical artist Gideon Yates, producing amongst others, interesting views of the Georgian church, and of a very different part of Wimbledon, the Copper Mills on the Wandle. Further professional artists followed. John Buckler visited the village in 1827 and painted the church, as well as Eagle House, ‘an Ancient House in Wimbledon’.
In the twentieth century, Vincent Lines came to Wimbledon and sketched numerous local views and buildings for publication in the local paper between 1928 and 1931. The collection holds 52 of the 148 original pen and Indian ink drawings on card.
In addition to the professional artists there were a growing number of enthusiastic local amateurs, many of whom painted for competitions and subsequently donated their works to the museum.