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André Durand exhibits new allegorical painting of Sir Walter Raleigh at The Grange at Oborne

André Durand

The historic market town of Sherborne has a long association with Elizabethan courtier, explorer, politician and poet Sir Walter Raleigh who made the town his home for 25 years. A new allegorical painting of Raleigh (or Ralegh as he preferred his name to be spelt) by celebrated international artist André Durand is now on show at The Grange at Oborne, the award winning country house hotel located just a short distance from Sherborne’s two famous castles.

The allegorical portrait shows a younger version of Queen Elizabeth 1’s beloved courtier set in the beautiful gardens of Sherborne Castle, imagined by the artist André Durand during his residence in Sherborne in 2018. Durand comments, “Sherborne was marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Sir Walter Raleigh. I was intrigued and when I visited Sherborne Castle and saw the magnificent Capability Brown gardens surrounding Raleigh’s former home, I decided to depict the young Sir Walter as he may have been when he first visited Sherborne and discovered his “Fortune’s Fold”.

Durand asked Simon Keyte, the owner of a local specialist framing service to pose as Raleigh and the resulting portrait conjures up the misty dream like quality of the backdrop that what was to become Raleigh’s home together with a certain sadness behind his eyes that suggests the ultimate demise that brought his tenure at Sherborne Castle to an untimely end.

Originally Raleigh discovered Sherborne, and the Old Castle, which belonged to the Bishop of Salisbury, on his many journeys travelling back to Hayes Barton in Devon, where he was born.

He had long coveted what is now known as the Old Castle, currently owned by English Heritage, but then the property of Queen Elizabeth 1 who gifted it to Raleigh. Raleigh realised the semi ruined building didn’t quite give him the scope he required and so he adapted the building that has now become known as the new Sherborne Castle and is currently home to the Wingfield Digby family.

When Raleigh upset the Queen and was expelled from Court, Sherborne became his home, and for 25 years he and his family lived in the town. Of all Raleigh's possessions, of all places on earth, Sherborne was the most valued, and he referred to it in his writings as his "Fortune's Fold".

After the death of Queen Elizabeth 1, the arrival of a new king, King James 1 saw Raleigh beset with financial and political difficulties, and at the demand of the Spanish ambassador he was ultimately executed on the scaffold on 29 October 1618. His will was seized by the Crown lawyers, and found to have an important section missing. Unfortunately Lady Raleigh, and Raleigh’s remaining son Carew, received nothing and so Sherborne Castle and all its estates were acquired by Sir John Digby, whose descendants have held it ever since.

Jennifer and Jon Fletcher who manage The Grange at Oborne, said, “We are delighted to be able to exhibit such a wonderful painting that highlights such an important piece of Sherborne’s historical past. Many people visiting The Grange were unaware of Sherborne’s association with Sir Walter Raleigh and this painting is a real gateway to understanding the important role the town played for such a well-known historical figure.”

Contact Sherborne Tourist Information Centre for details on Sherborne attractions: sherborne.tic@westdorset-weymouth.gov.uk or visit www.sherbornedorset.co.uk

For more information on the 16th century Castle built by Sir Walter Raleigh, opening times and admission fees go to: www.sherbornecastle.com

For information on The Grange at Oborne: Tel: 01935 813463 or visit: www.thegrangeatoborne.co.uk

Editor’s Notes
About André Durand
André Durand (born Ottawa, Canada 1947) is a painter working in the European Hermetic tradition. He is influenced by artists such as Rubens, Titian, Michelangelo and Velázquez.
Although Durand is perhaps best known for his allegorical portraits, such as Princess Diana as Fortuna, he achieved international artistic acclaim for his official portraits of John Paul II (1983) and the Dalai Lama (1983, 1989). Durand’s portrait of the Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen (1972) is one of the most popular portraits in London’s National Portrait Gallery.
In 1970 Durand painted a series of pictures inspired by the dancers of the Royal Ballet. It is nevertheless Durand’s extraordinary mythological narratives that demonstrate his profound understanding of the myths and rituals of both Classical and Christian traditions. These are an ever present undercurrent of his work. Visit: http://www.durand-gallery.com

Find out more about André Durand


Release Date: 7th January 2019

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