Isle of Wight Council

Museum Service


 Steephill by Thomas Rowlandson

The Thomas Rowlandson collection

In June 2002 the Isle of Wight Council, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Art Fund, purchased 112 watercolour sketches by Thomas Rowlandson  (PDF, 374KB, 2 pages), Samuel Howitt (PDF, 778KB,3 pages) and others. This remarkable collection came from Longleat House in Wiltshire, seat of the Marquess of Bath.  It was rediscovered in the library in two bound volumes (PDF, 247KB, 1 page).

The 112 watercolour sketches were made by Rowlandson and his friends during two tours of the Isle of Wight in the 1790s. Whilst travelling to the Island the group visited locations on the mainland where they also produced watercolour drawings:

They travelled to the Island by passage boat (PDF, 282KB, 2 pages) landing at Shalfleet (PDF, 901KB, 6 pages).

Rowlandson’s party visited many sites around the Isle of Wight including Brading - Godshill and Ryde (PDF, 322KB, 3 pages), Cowes (PDF, 1.61MB, 11 pages) and its harbour, East Cowes and Newport River (PDF,725KB, 5 pages), Freshwater (PDF, 863KB, 7 pages), the county town of Newport and Carisbrooke (PDF, 964KB, 9 pages), Shanklin (PDF, 563KB, 4 pages) and Steephill (PDF, 747KB, 7 pages).

They also visited the west of the Island and sketched views of Alum Bay, the Needles and Yarmouth with its castle (PDF, 488KB, 5 pages).

Rowlandson’s first documented tour (PDF, 574KB, 4 pages) of the Isle of Wight was made in 1784.  A reproduction print of a Victorian publication held at the Isle of Wight County Record Office

Giuseppe Garibaldi oil painting

Giuseppe Garibaldi visited England in 1864.  Charles Seely of Brook House invited him to stay at his Isle of Wight home and he arrived at Cowes on Monday, 4 April.

The Heritage service collection holds an oil painting of Giuseppe Garibaldi (PDF, 254KB, 2 page).

Seely commissioned the artist 'Attilio Baccani' to paint this portrait of the Italian hero.

Giuseppe Garibaldi on the Isle of Wight (PDF, 457KB, 3 page).

Medieval gold finger ring - depicting St Margaret of Antioch spearing a dragon

Finger ring - depicting St Margaret of Antioch spearing a dragon. (PDF, 592KB, 6 pages).

Silver toothpick/ear scoop

Silver toothpick/earscoop in the form of a dragon 1500-1700AD. (PDF, 187KB, 1 page ).

Roman Coins

Roman Coins found on the Isle of Wight  (PDF, 937KB, 7 pages)

How they made a Roman Coin  (PDF, 248KB, 3 pages) 

 Clocks and Watches

 Clocks and watches   (PDF, 701KB, 5 pages)