View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
The West Tower of Helmsley Castle is the most substantial of the remains of the castle built on twelfth–century foundations by William de Ros in the late thirteenth century; the other extant structures are the remains of a sixteenth–century manor house built by Edward Manners, 3rd Earl of Rutland. The castle was slighted by Parliamentary forces under Sir Thomas Fairfax after it was surrendered to them in 1644 during the Civil War. From 1632 the manor house belonged to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, whose son inherited it and in 1657 married Fairfax’s daughter Mary. A later owner, Thomas Duncombe, abandoned the castle for a new house close by, Duncombe Park, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh. Duncombe Park and its neighbourhood were to be the subject of a number of watercolour studies made by John Sell Cotman (1782–1842) around 1806.