View of the Cascade in the Garden


View of the Cascade in the Garden in the the King’s Topographical Collection is one of Spyers’ most accomplished works. By using thicker lines and deeper tones in the foreground with a more muted palette and finer pen strokes in the background, while using the two foregrounded trees to frame the view, Spyers creates a sense of depth that makes us feel as if we are in the grove with the other visitors who are fishing in the lake. Furthermore, Spyers has used subtly different shades of green to add variety to the foliage in another sign of his increasing maturity as a topographical artist.

This view is one of four watercolours of Byrkley (or Brickley) Lodge in Staffordshire produced for Arthur Chichester, Marquess of Donegall along with a view of Hopwas Hayes Lodge and six views of Fisherwick, the grounds of which were laid out for Donegall by ‘Capability’ Brown in the 1760s. The Byrkley views are the source of something of a mystery since five almost identical views, complete with ‘K.Top’ reference numbers, have been found in the William Salt Library, Stafford, having been in that collection since at least 1872.

Fisherwick and Byrkley Lodge do not survive, and Hopwas Hayes Lodge (‘The Woodhouse’), which was probably built in around 1730 and later became a woodsman’s cottage, was demolished in 2010 after it failed to meet the criteria to become a listed building.

Full title:
View of the CASCADE in the GARDEN
Watercolour / View
John Spyers
© British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Maps K.Top.38.49.d.

Full catalogue details

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John Spyers, topographical artist

Article by:
Tom Drysdale
Town and city, Country

John Spyers is best known for his association with the landscape gardener 'Capability' Brown, but his independent role as a topographical artist has received little attention, as Tom Drysdale explains.