1_Westgate, Winchester 1948_224

Westgate WinchesterMichael Angelo Rooker, 1779

Michael Angelo Rooker (1743-1801) mainly worked in watercolours, so this painting is a rare example of his work in oils. He was attracted to painting historical monuments and this was in line with a widespread fashion for antiquity at the time. Born plain Michael Rooker, son of an artist, he was nicknamed Michael Angelo and the name stuck. For many years, he was the chief scenery painter at London’s Haymarket Theatre. However, he was discharged when, we’re told, he refused to help the manager of the theatre pay off his debts. He became depressed after losing his job and shortly afterwards died suddenly at home in his chair. His works were auctioned off, and made well over a thousand pounds, a good sum in those days. The English painter J.M.W. Turner, who admired his work, bought over a dozen of his paintings after his death.

You can view an audio-guided painting by J.M.W. Turner on this site “Snow Storm Steam Boat in Harbour Mouth”.


Reproduced by kind permission of Manchester Art Gallery

Wrap Up Your Painting

  • How many building materials did you spot in your buildings?
  • How did the placement of the buildings in the painting make you feel?
  • What viewpoint did you choose to stand at?
  • How did your impression of the scene change once you placed yourself inside the picture?
  • How do you feel now you’ve completed this activity? If you enjoyed it, why not add more Look at Paintings audio guides to your week? And don’t forget, you can take these guides with you to your local gallery and try them whilst standing in front of ‘real life’ art

Wrap Up Your Painting

  • Were you surprised at how much there was to notice in this painting?
  • Where were you going, after walking through the archway?
  • What could you see, when you looked around you?
  • Did this activity help you to slow down, take time out? If you enjoyed it, why not try more listening guides and make them a part of your week?