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The Gott Collection

The Gott Collection was assembled in the 19th Century by John Gott (1830-1906), Vicar of Leeds and later Bishop of Truro, and his father William (1797-1863), a wool merchant. It was presented to Wakefield Art Gallery in 1930 by Frank Green, a Yorkshire industrialist and philanthropist. 

The collection, bound in ten volumes, includes 1,200 images consisting of watercolours, drawings and prints in the form of maps, sketches, plans and detailed architectural drawings. In all, it documents over 200 Yorkshire villages, towns and cities. 

The Gott Collection is an important regional and national resource since many of the buildings, architectural remains and landscapes represented within its pages no longer exist. It also has international significance as it contains works relating to the early life of the explorer Captain Cook, who was born in the village of Marton in North Yorkshire.

Some of the artists represented include John Buckler (1770-1851) and his son John Chessell Buckler (1793-1894) with their architectural depictions of the abbeys, cathedrals and grand houses of Yorkshire; accurate drawings of architectural features by Joseph Halfpenny (1748-1811); engravings by brothers Samuel (1696-1779) and Nathaniel (fl. 1724-1759) Buck; and prints by J. M. W. Turner (1775-1851), who first visited Yorkshire in 1797 and returned throughout his life to paint views of over 70 different landscapes and landmarks.  

The ecclesiastical buildings of Yorkshire feature prominently, including the cathedrals of Beverley and Ripon, the ruins of Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire and the gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey. Also included in The Gott Collection is a series of watercolours of churches, primarily in York, but also includes depictions of churches in Harrogate and Batley. A number of these were done by Thomas Beckwith (1731-1786) who was born in Rothwell, near Leeds, and later settled in York where he had a business of painting churches and houses. Drawings and engravings of Wakefield’s Chantry Chapel by artists including John Coney (1786-1833) and George Flemingare also featured, and show various views of the Medieval bridge and chapel which stands opposite The Hepworth Wakefield.  

Other themes within The Gott Collection include castles, of which there are many drawings and engravings of Conisborough Castle, Scarborough and Knaresborough Castle as well as fine pencil drawings of Skipton Castle; prospects of cities and towns of Yorkshire which include Leeds, Rotherham, Hull and York; Castle Howard is a prominent subject as one of the great and grand houses of Yorkshire; curious depictions of antiquities and archaeological finds; and some maps so large they have been folded to fit into the large pages of the volumes.  Within Wakefield’s collection the unique Gott Collection is an invaluable historical, artistic and educational resource for Yorkshire. 


The Gott Collection is currently on long loan to West Yorkshire Archive Service