Tintern Abbey

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Wales Office, Gwydyr House, Whitehall

    Sitting quietly in the picturesque valley of Wy is the oldest Cistercian Abbey in Wales. Founded in 1131, the Gothic ruins of Tintern Abbey and their hazy reflection in the river can be seen in the centre of the composition. Two peasants with their cattle are pausing in this idyllic landscape- a site of pilgrimage and attraction for painters such as William Turner and poets such as William Wordsworth during the Romantic period. The latter described the site in a poem of 1798: 'and again I hear/These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs/With a soft inland murmur.—Once again Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,/That on a wild secluded scene impress/Thoughts of more deep seclusion'. Henshaw’s composition illustrates the surge of romantic interest in the ‘Sublime’ and the ‘Picturesque’ and is part of a series of works that document the highly evocative rocky landscape of Wales.

  • About the artist
    Frederick Henry Henshaw, landscape painter, came from Birmingham. His work was greatly influenced by J. M. W. Turner. By 1829, Henshaw was living at 13 Charlotte Street, London. Between 1837 and 1840 he travelled in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. However, his paintings are mostly British landscape views in the Midlands, Wales and Scotland. Henshaw exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and the Society of British Artists in Suffolk Street, between 1829 and 1864. He also exhibited at the Birmingham Society of Artists. He occasionally collaborated with another painter, R. J. Hammond. Today, paintings by Henshaw are in the collections of Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and Glasgow Art Gallery.
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  • Details
    Tintern Abbey
    Oil on canvas
    height: 74.50 cm, width: 61.50 cm
    Purchased from the Parker Gallery, October 1955
    GAC number