Image: The East Front of Warwick Castle by Paul Sandby, c. 1775. The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry.
I’ve written a short blog for ‘Our Warwickshire’ on the visit of a rather interesting figure to Warwick Castle in the late eighteenth century. Jeremy Bentham, one of Britain’s most famous philosophers of the enlightenment, visited the Castle on at least two occasions.
It seems that Bentham’s first visit was in October 1789, around the time he was in correspondence with radicals of the French Revolution.
There is no doubt that he was impressed by the beauty of the castle, as he wrote “No places more proper than old castles for romantic exhibition: but the castle of St Angelo must now yield to that of Warwick. His Holiness has never yet been able to do anything like it…”
As an alumni of University College London I have often stood in front of his eerie and rather macabre ‘Auto-Icon’ in the South Cloisters. The next time I visit, I shall ruminate on how those same bones had once walked through that wonderful building, and had filled its rooms with sounds of Bach on the fiddle.