There are a range of paintings on display in the rooms in Bantock House - of particular interest there are a number of paintings by artists who were collectively known as The Cranbrook Colony
The Cranbrook Colony was a group of nineteenth century painters who settled in the picturesque market town of Cranbrook in Kent and painted scenes of village life. Commercially they were very successful, finding a ready market for their work, especially amongst the industrialists of the Midlands and North. With the opening of the Charing Cross to Staplehurst railway line in 1842 they were also able to travel to London easily to meet their patrons and to sell their work, largely through the Royal Academy exhibitions. Indeed many of them had second homes in the capital.
The principal members of the group were Thomas Webster, Frederick Daniel Hardy and his brother George Hardy, John Calcott Horsley and George Bernard O’Neill. They used real town buildings and local people as models in their rustic scenes. Their own homes and children also featured regularly in their work. If you look carefully at the paintings you will see the same models appear more than once.
Most of the Cranbrook collection at Wolverhampton was bequeathed by Sidney Cartwright, a wealthy Tin Toy manufacturer from Penn. He amassed a huge collection of art during his life time and when he died in 1887 he left instructions that his collection should eventually go to the Art Gallery for the future enjoyment of the people of Wolverhampton.