WHAT links one of the biggest music stars of the past 30 with perhaps Warrington's greatest artists.

Former Take That star and Angels singer Robbie Williams bought Woodland House – a former home of the late film director Michael Winner – for a reported £17.5 million in 2013.

But the Kensington home was built by Warrington's most famous artist Luke Fildes in the 19th century.

And it was home to Fildes at the time he was rising to fame in the Victorian arts scene.

Fildes moved into the house, in plush Kensington, West London, in October 1877 and it remained his home until his death there in February 1927. A blue plaque was erected to mark his contribution.

Fildes was to become the most famous graduate of the Warrington School of Art, which was initially based in Warrington Museum between 1857 and 1884 before it moved to its last location nearby on Museum Street.

His picture of an idyllic picnic and boat trip on the Thames, which includes himself and his future wife Fanny Woods, Fair Quiet and Sweet Rest, now stands in Warrington Museum.

It helped establish his reputation in the Victorian arts scene when it was exhibited in the all-important Royal Academy Summer Exhibition of 1872.

Fair Quiet and Sweet Rest depicts an idyllic scene based on a picnic and boat trip along the Thames by Fildes and his friend, the Warrington artist Henry Woods, accompanied by Woods’ two sisters.

Fildes pictured himself centre stage with a lute, serenading the seated figure of titian-haired Fanny Woods- his future wife. Annie Woods (standing) watches on as a chaperone whilst Henry holds the boat steady. Two swans float nearby, symbolising a partnership for life.

Fildes was already a successful black and white illustrator for the respected Graphic Magazine but to achieve wider fame and wealth he needed to be recognised as a painter.

Fair Quiet and Sweet Rest had a prominent place in the Royal Academy gallery and was a great success with the public and art critics.

Fildes sold the painting to a London dealer for the then large sum of £600 before the exhibition opened. However, in 1911 the work was purchased for Warrington for half that price at a London auction thanks to a donation from the Greenall family and the efforts of Councillor Thomas Birtles, Fildes’ contemporary at the School of Art.