Tintern Abbey and the Picturesque Movement

29 August 2014

SIG: Archaeology and Heritage

TINTERN ABBEY - an Exhibition not to be missed

Most members of the A & H Group will have pictures of Tintern Abbey in their collection.

Now, with the mounting of an important Exhibition in Chepstow entitled 'Sites of Inspiration - Tintern Abbey', curated by Ann Rainsbury, we have an unmissable opportuntity to compare our photographic interpretations of this Wye Valley landmark with those of famous artists of the past.  Among the works on show are paintings by JMW Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, Thomas Rowlandson and Samuel Palmer. 

Victorian photographers who took up the discourse of the Picturesque Movement went on tours and photographed the great ruined abbeys, amongst them Tintern, Bolton, Melrose, etc. Wales was well blessed with a picturesque landscape.  It was this movement that the later RPS ‘Pictorialist’ photographers based their photographic landscape compositions upon. Turner’s watercolour of 1792 of Tintern Abbey and an undated painting of Tintern Abbey had a significant impact on the contemporary, and also the subsequent public’s notion of the picturesque. So much so that the emergent camera clubs and the RPS were inspired by the rules of picturesque composition for many years.

The exhibition also displays relevant written documents and archaeological finds. It remains open until 28 September, Monday-Saturday 11-5 and Sunday 2-5, admission free. For more information see www.chepstowmuseum.co.uk;  01291 625981; chepstowmuseum@monmouthshire.gov.ukThe Museum is located in Gwy House, close to Chepstow Castle.

At the same time, a similar exhibition entitled ' Sites of Inspiration - Llanthony Priory' is on display in Abergavenny Museum, containing work by Turner, David Jones and John Piper. www.abergavennymuseum.co.uk

Photos (c) Mike Sasse