Reproduction of John Hoppner, Mrs Parkyns (1795), in The Connoisseur: A Magazine for Collectors, vol. XXXVII (1913).


Family ties also lie behind Severndroog’s appearance in the fashionable portraitist John Hoppner’s Mrs Parkyns (1795), a portrait of Sir William and Lady Anne’s daughter, Elizabeth Anne Parkyns (later Lady Rancliffe). Hoppner’s depiction of the James’s daughter in the parkland of Eltham, with the unmistakable lone tower of Severndroog on the hill in the distance, breaks with the eighteenth-century convention of picturing the aristocracy and gentry in front of their country houses. Elizabeth might typically have been expected to be pictured in front of Park Farm Place or her husband’s family’s ancestral seat in Nottinghamshire. Given Severndroog’s status as a memorial to her father and its popular association with her mother (the castle was known by the nickname ‘Lady James’s folly’ in the nineteenth century), Elizabeth’s decision to have Severndroog in the background of her portrait is a declaration of her attachment to her parents, as well as an homage to her father’s military exploits and her mother’s architectural creation. It may also be a record of tragedy and trauma. Sir William had died suddenly during Elizabeth’s wedding in 1783.


Detail of reproduction of John Hoppner, Mrs Parkyns (1795), in The Connoisseur: A Magazine for Collectors, vol. XXXVII (1913).


John Hoppner, Mrs Parkyns ​(1795)