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drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1855,0214.21

  • Description

    Interior of Lindisfarne Priory; interior showing the NE part of the ruin with one of the supporting arches of the tower spanning the transept, on the slope of which is a man with two donkeys, a cow in the foreground. 1796-7 Watercolour

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1796-1797
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 531 millimetres
    • Width: 395 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The watercolour shows the nave of Lindisfarne Priory looking west, with part of the opening of the north transept to the right. Girtin included Lindisfarne, on Holy Island, off the coast of Northumberland, in his northern tour of 1796. The following year he exhibited two watercolours at the Royal Academy with the title 'St Cuthbert's Cathedral, Holy Island' (434 and 763), but neither can now be positively identified. There is a possibility that 1855-2-14-12, which dates from c.1797, was one of them (a view of the priory now in the Yale Center for British Art could be another; see Tate 2002, cat.44). A view of the south side of the nave in the Fitzwilliam Museum (G&L 164ii; J.Munro, 'British landscape watercolours 1750-1850', 1994, pp. 60-61) shows the remaining arch spanning what was the base of the tower as no more than a broken stump. In reality, this one rib of masonry, which survives to this day, often attracted comment from early travellers and historians. The pinkish tinge to the stone is also accurate, as a representation of the red sandstone of which the cathedral was built. So too is the unlevelled floor, with uneven piles of earth, which also featured in the drawings of the site by James Moore. A fourth view of the building, showing the south transept and giving more of a sense of its clifftop location, is in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (G&L 163). A drawing of nave of the abbey, looking in the other direction to 1855-2-14-21, in the Turner Bequest (TB CCCLXXVIII-33) was attributed by Finberg to Girtin ('Some of the doubtful drawings in the Turner Bequest', Walpole Society II, 1912-13, p.130 and pl.LXIV). This attribution can no longer be sustained, yet neither does the drawing appear to be in the hand of Turner.

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  • Bibliography

    • Girtin & Loshak 1954 184 bibliographic details
    • Binyon 1898-1907 41 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Imp PV)

  • Exhibition history

    1982 Apr-May, Newcastle, Laing AG, 'The Picturesque Tour', no. 78 1984, Arts Council of GB, 'English Romanesque Art', no. 527 2002 July-Sep, London, Tate, Thomas Girtin: The Art of Watercolour, no.45

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1855

  • Acquisition notes

    See note on 1855-2-14-2

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1855,0214.21

Interior of Lindisfarne Priory; interior showing the NE part of the ruin with one of the supporting arches of the tower spanning the transept, on the slope of which is a man with two donkeys, a cow in the foreground. 1796-7 Watercolour

Recto

Interior of Lindisfarne Priory; interior showing the NE part of the ruin with one of the supporting arches of the tower spanning the transept, on the slope of which is a man with two donkeys, a cow in the foreground. 1796-7 Watercolour

Image description

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