Warwick Museum’s Hidden Painting of ‘Wallace the Lion’

About 18 months ago, I was contacted by one Prunella, a lady from Canada, advising me she had seen a painting of Wallace the Lion at a museum in Warwick, England.

This was her explanation at the time:

‘My mother’s maiden name was Ethel GRACE Wombwell – my 3X great grandfather John (1774 – 1845) was a son of John Wombwell and Sarah Rogers.

In reference to the lion fights…. There is a very small museum in Warwick that has a painting of a lion (either Nero or Wallace) and a poster about the fight… If this is your correct email, I will attempt to send the pictures of these that I took last year. My brother lives near Warwick and I have asked him to send me the name of the museum.’

Prunella recently replied to an email from me with the following information:

‘The place in Warwick is St John’s House Museum, CV34 4NF’.

Since it has been two years since I was first alerted to its existence, I checked out the current details, for anyone wishing to visit the museum.

The Museum is currently closed for a re-location within Warwick, but are still open to deal with shop sales and family history research enquiries.

Exciting developments are afoot to re-locate the museum in 2022 to Pageant House, Jury Street, Warwick.

However, on further research I was informed that the painting is no longer at the museum, irrespective of which building, but in their Hawkes Point storage facility.

Luckily, further detective work revealed that the painting, attributed to Rolf, is documented on splendid ArtUK website.

https://d3d00swyhr67nd.cloudfront.net/w944h944/collection/WAR/WARMS/WAR_WARMS_39-001.jpg

Unfortunately, due to copyright it is not possible to show it here. However, our intrepid Canadian contact, did the honours and produced these two fine photographs.

It is though, an accomplished portrait of a fictional lion, face on. Looks quite sweet! Not the ideal representation a a ‘killer’ lion. Maybe that is poetic justice given the 200 year old lie that Wallace…well, read my Volume One for the real story of the lion fight!


In at Number 11: George Wombwell Biography – The Real Wombwells (Vol III)

Posted on November 22, 2019 by admin

At last the project is complete! The third and final part has just been published. It went straight into the Top 100 Best Sellers of Circus Books at No. 11!

In addition, the covers of all three volumes have been updated to the one above. Look out for the distinctive red covers and the subtitles ( volumes I to III, Events at Warwick, The Greatest Showman and The Real Wombwells)

In paperback:

Kindle ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/George-Wombwell-1777-1850-Wombwells-ebook/dp/B081QKS46H/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3UY6MCZVGPSIN&keywords=shaun+villiers+everett&qid=1574437347&sprefix=shaun+vill%2Caps%2C135&sr=8-2

This volume also contains many previously unpublished images from the Wombwell Collection and a menagerie events calendar between 1800 and the late 19th century. It is a major addition to the genealogical map of menageries families in the UK and beyond.

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George Wombwell’s NEW Royal Appointment

After 172 years, George Wombwell’s visit to Windsor Castle is to be celebrated at a family event day at the Castle! Queen Victoria’s Circus will be a true family affair, with circus acts and stuffed elephants and even a lion tamer!

Date: Saturday, 14th September 2019

reproduced by kind permission of the copyright owner, 2019

A storyteller wil relive, on the very spot, the menagerie’s visit during 1847. Lots of events and children can also join the circus for a day! I trust you know somebody that might want to attend, especially if they have never been to Windsor Castle. It’s all included in the standard price tickets.

A programme is being produced which includes the above image. I have permission to reproduce it here. It is a very rare image of the day at Windsor Castle in 1847. I’ve only ever seen one in many years of searching for it.

I think George Wombwell would appreciate the involvement of children as it was his wish to let everyone see the beasts of the wild, no matter how poor they were at the time. There are many instances of newspaper reports of George allowing whole school classes in to see the menagerie for free.

The website is here

Oxford Dictionary of National Biogrpahy

I received a reply to my campaign to get the Dictionary upated, in view of the recently released biography (Vols I and II). It is reproduced here. At last,I feel we are getting the nation to change their view on George Wombwell’s life. Of course, I have no way of knowing when and ‘if’ the Dictionary will be updated. You can be assured that I will continue the campaign if they do not take into account the contents of the premier biography of George Wombwell, celebrated Menagerist.