A Private View: art of the Massingberds

Painting of violin by Diana Massingberd

Explore a new exhibition in the first floor sitting room called 'A Private View'. It consists of a selection of paintings and water colours created by members of the Massingberd family, most of the pieces have not been on display before.

Many generations of the Massingberd family lived at Gunby Hall, spanning a period of over 250 years. Each generation left its mark and within Gunby’s collection of nearly 5,000 objects are numerous pictures drawn and painted by family members. These pictures allow a brief glimpse into the lives of these Gunby residents, connected by their love of making art.

Watercolour drawing of 'Gunby Hall from the West' by Peregrine Massingberd
Watercolour by Peregrine Massingberd

Peregrine Langton-Massingberd (1780 – 1856)

Peregrine Langton, second son of Bennet Langton of Langton-by Spilsby, Lincolnshire came to Gunby in 1802 upon his marriage to Elizabeth Mary Anne Massingberd. Elizabeth had inherited the Gunby estate upon the death of her father. On their marriage, Peregrine had added the name of Massingberd to his own, as was tradition when inheriting the Gunby estate.  Peregrine lived abroad for many years, including France, Italy and Australia and produced paintings and drawings both at home and abroad, some of which have remained at Gunby ever since. 

Watercolour drawing of a cedar tree at Gunby by Charles Langton Massingberd
Watercolour drawing by Charles Langton Massingberd

Charles Langton-Massingberd (1815 – 1887)

Charles was the youngest son of Peregrine and Elizabeth and as a young man had lived abroad with his mother, leading to a spell serving with the Austrian army. The Gunby estate, having been reduced to a fraction by his spendthrift nephew Algernon, was rescued by Charles, releasing what remained of the estate from Chancery and extending and improving the Hall. Charles was both musical and an accomplished artist and the exhibition contains both his pictures and sketches, made during his travels, in particular his time spent in the West Country. 

Watercolour drawing of 'Lady Robinson's Polly' by Edmund Langton
Watercolour drawing by Edmund Langton

Edmund Langton (1841 – 1875)

Edmund’s arrival in Gunby’s story began upon his marriage to Charles’ daughter Emily in 1867. Edmund was Emily’s second cousin, so the connection of the Massingberds to the Langton family continued. Edmund died tragically young, many years before Emily inherited the estate from her father and therefore he spent relatively little time at Gunby. His father lived in Bournemouth and from the time of their marriage, he and Emily lived with him until Edmund’s death in 1875. There’s little evidence of Edmund at Gunby, except for a portrait (pictured here) and the charming watercolours he painted, shown in the exhibition. 

Watercolour drawing of 'On the Avon at Amesbury' by Diana Montgomery-Massingberd
Watercolour drawing by Diana Montgomery-Massingberd

Diana Montgomery-Massingberd (1872 – 1963)

Born Diana Langton in 1872, Diana was the fourth and youngest child of Edmund and Emily Langton. Spending her teenaged years in a house rented for her and her siblings by their mother Emily, she inherited Gunby upon the death of her brother Stephen. The estate had initially passed to her elder sister, Mildred, but she preferred to live in the south and Diana came to Gunby, which would become her home for nearly 40 years. As well as a talent for art, Diana was also an accomplished musician and played the piano, viola and violin. Diana chose to depict her beloved violin in one of her pictures, painted in the 1940’s.