CLOYSTER AT FOUNTAINS ABBEY, Joseph Halfpenny

CLOYSTER AT FOUNTAINS ABBEY, Joseph Halfpenny

c. 1790 to c. 1820 England

Offered by Charles Plante Fine Arts

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The romantic pull of a ruin such as Fountains Abbey enthused generations of scholars, poets and, not least, artists. One of the greatest Cistercian abbeys in Europe, it represented a spectacular centre of learning, piety and buildings. A pinnacle of medieval culture and devout civilisation of the twelfth century it fell victim to the destructive political forces of the Protestant Reformation. Thereafter it became a mere quarry for building materials for Fountains Hall.

By 1768 the spectacular ruins of Fountain Abbey had been incorporated into the Studley Royal estate as replanned by William Aislabi. The famous Yorkshire Picturesque garden still possesses one of the last Green Gardens. However, it is the undercroft that has particularly inspired the artist, reminding one of the passion such sinister remains aroused, particularly amongst women such as Mary Shelley, whose spooky novel Frankenstein has a witty counterpart in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, underlining the darker aspects of the worship of ruins. This magnificent vaulted space, was used as both the west range of the cloister and served as a cellarium with the lay brothers' dormitory range. The artist, possibly related to the famous author of pattern books, has contrived to make the locals seem more unwarranted interlopers by heightening the effects of light and shade. It is now amongst the finest and best-preserved ruins of its type in Europe and is in the care of English Heritage.
Francis Woodman 'Fountains Abbey', pp349-350 in the Dictionary of Art, vol 11, 1996
Dimensions
Height 419.00 mm (16.50 inches)
Width 559.00 mm (22.01 inches)
Medium
Watercolour
Signed/Inscribed
Signed:I.H. Inscribed: "The Cloyster at Fountains Abbey taken June 25 th , 1791 by Jos Halfpenny" (verso)
Charles Plante Fine Arts

Charles Plante Fine Arts
50 Gloucester Street
London
SW1V 4EH

+44 (0)20 7834 3305
+44 (0)7798 626249
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