Watercolour of the Crescent, Buxton

William Cowen1850

Derbyshire Record Office

Derbyshire Record Office
Matlock, United Kingdom

The 5th Duke of Devonshire commissioned the Crescent around 1779. His aim was to turn Buxton into a fashionable Georgian spa town, like Bath. The centrepiece of this transformation was to be the Crescent, comprising two hotels, lodging houses, thermal baths and an Assembly Room where balls and concerts could be held. The Duke commissioned the architect John Carr to design the building in the fashionable neo-classical style. It is not known exactly when the Crescent was completed but balls commenced in the Assembly Room in 1788.

The Crescent, a Grade I listed building, which had been vacant for over 2 decades, underwent essential repair work in the 1990s. In 2003 the ‘Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa project’ was launched by High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. In 2020 the Crescent finally opened its doors once again as a 5-star spa hotel.

William Cowen (1791-1864) taught drawing in Sheffield from 1811. In 1832 he was one of the founders of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour [sic] in London.


  • Title: Watercolour of the Crescent, Buxton
  • Creator: William Cowen
  • Date Created: 1850
  • Location: Buxton, Derbyshire, England, United Kingdom
  • Provenance: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery (DERSB: 100178)
  • Subject Keywords: Architecture, Hydropathy, Health, Tourism

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