Jan Siberechts – A View of Longleat (1675)
Longleat is an English stately home and the seat of the Marquesses of Bath. It is a leading and early example of the Elizabethan prodigy house. It is adjacent to the village of Horningsham and near the towns of Warminster and Westbury in Wiltshire and Frome in Somerset. It is noted for its Elizabethan country house, maze, landscaped parkland and safari park. The house is set in 1,000 acres (400 ha) of parkland landscaped by Capability Brown, with 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of let farmland and 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) of woodland, which includes a Center Parcs holiday village. It was the first stately home to open to the public, and the Longleat estate includes the first safari park outside Africa.
The house was built by Sir John Thynne and was designed mainly by Robert Smythson, after Longleat Priory was destroyed by fire in 1567. It took 12 years to complete and is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture in Britain. Longleat is occupied by Alexander Thynn, 7th Marquess of Bath, a direct descendant of the builder; however, the peer passed the management of the business to his son Viscount Weymouth early in 2010.
Jan Siberechts (1627–1703) was a Flemish landscape painter who after a successful career in Antwerp, emigrated in the latter part of his life to England. In his early works, he developed a personal style of landscape painting, with an emphasis on the Flemish countryside and country life. His later landscapes painted in England retained their Flemish character by representing a universal theme. Siberechts also painted hunting scenes for his English patrons. The topographical views he created in England stand at the beginning of the English landscape tradition.