The paintings for the Ballroom have been added over many years to mark Doncaster’s royal and aristocratic connections as well as some of its most notable citizens.
Robert Stockil (1826 – 1900) was manager of the Yorkshire Banking Co. in Doncaster and brother of Charles Stockil, mayor of Doncaster and Chairman of the Corporation Racing Committee. Robert Stockil was the first person to be made a Freeman of the Borough following the reorganization of local government in 1835. This was in recognition of a lifetime of philanthropic works in the town including gifts to set up the School of Art and major gifts to the Grammar School and British Schools. He was also vice chairman and treasurer of the Borough Library and Reading Room.
George III (1738-1820) by Samuel Woodforde (1763 – 1817) presented by Lord Eardley was probably the first portrait to be hung here in 1804. Although lord Eardley’s connection with Doncaster isn’t clear this was probably a patriotic gesture by Lord Eardley (who had been an MP for Cambridgeshire and for Wallingford) and the Corporation of Doncaster and was given at a time when George III’s sons were undertaking tours of the country including Doncaster although the King himself was incapacitated by illness.
Sir Frank Lockwood (1846 – 1897) was a Doncaster born barrister who defended the notorious murderer from Sheffield, Charles Peace ,in 1879 and was lead counsel for the prosecution in the trial of Oscar Wilde. Lockwood was the grandson of Joseph Lockwood who was twice mayor of Doncaster. He himself became MP for York in 1885 and was made Solicitor-General in Lord Rosebery’s government. He contributed to Punch magazine and through his family connections even had a small Scottish island named after him.
Marquis of Rockingham (1730-1782) prime minister in 1765-66 and 1782 by Thomas Phillips (1770 -1845). William Wentworth Fitzwilliam, Earl Fitzwilliam (1748-1833) was a leading Whig politician His first ministry saw the repeal of the controversial Stamp Tax placed on the American colonies and Rockingham later supported proposals to grant the colonies independence. He was part of the group of gentlemen who initiated the St.Leger horserace. His main residence and estates at Wentworth Woodhouse about 10 miles from Doncaster meant he wielded great political influence throughout the area.
4th Earl Fitzwilliam (1748-33) was presented to the Corporation by the Earl himself. It represented the close ties between the Borough and one of the wealthiest and politically influential families in the country. Although he refused several important political positions he was a leading figure in the House of Lords. He was noted both for helping the poor and for lavish entertainment once hosting a party for 40,000 people when the Prince of Wales visited his home Wentworth Woodhouse.