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Richard Phené Spiers

Wothorpe Towers, near Stamford

Richard Phene Spiers - Wothorpe Towers, near Stamford

The Painting

A watercolour measuring 14½" x 10¼". Signed R. Phene Spiers.

About the Artist

Richard Phené Spiers (1838-1916) was a highly-respected architect with a private practice in London, also known for his paintings of architectural views. He was born in Oxford and trained at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and in the office of Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt. He was President of the Architectural Association in 1867-8, Master of the Royal Academy Architecture School from 1870, and Surveyor of the Royal Academy from 1877. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He published several books on architecture, from Architectural Drawing in 1887 to On Japanese Roofs in 1911. He exhibited 98 works at the Royal Academy including views of buildings in Rouen, Nuremberg, Pisa, Paris and Athens. He exhibited 21 watercolours of buildings at the Society of British Artists in Suffolk Street.

The Subject

Wothorpe Towers, near Stamford. Wothorpe Towers was built c.1611-15 as a spectacular lodge to Burghley House for Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter, who was the eldest son of Lord Burghley. After Cecil’s death in 1623 it was little used by the family and tended to be leased. It was last occupied in the mid 18th century after which the main roof was removed, the west and east façades dismantled and the service ranges demolished. It survived as a picturesque ruin and remained with the Burghley Estate until 2004 when it was sold into private ownership. The current owners have done much to consolidate the ruins and reinstate the garden layout.