Ellis, Valle Crucis Abbey, North Wales - Mid-19th-century watercolour painting


An original mid-19th-century watercolour painting, Ellis Valle Crucis Abbey, North Wales.

A stunning evening view across the Eglwyseg River towards the Valle Crucis Abbey, the Cistercian abbey at Llantysilio in Denbighshire, Wales. The abbey, which was built in 1201 and dissolved in 1537, gained its water supply from the river.

Unsigned. Inscribed verso: 'Valley Crucis Abbey, North Wales'.
Minor foxing, as shown, and a small crease line across the far upper right corner of the paper. There are adhesive remnants on the back of the sheet, from historically being laid down.
14.8cm x 22.1cm.

This work is one of a collection of exceptionally fine watercolours we have for sale, which were once in the possession of Sir Charles Robert Bignold. The watercolours are the work of a father and daughter by the name of Ellis (E. Ellis and A.A. Ellis) and span dramatic and picturesque locations across England, Wales and the Continent.

Whilst the identity of the Ellis artists is a mystery, an inscription accompanying the collection explains its origins: ‘from a series of sketches executed during a pedestrian tour by a father and his daughter, 1850-75’. The paintings are of consistently high quality and are a remarkable first-hand record of a father and daughter’s ambitious tour through some of Europe’s most picturesque scenery in the mid-19th century.

The paintings have a prestigious provenance, being formerly in the collection of Captain Sir Charles Robert Bignold (1892-1970), who belonged to the prosperous Bignold family of Norwich - his ancestor Thomas had established the Norwich Union Insurance Company in 1797. Charles Robert Bignold was a distinguished collector of fine books – his ‘picture book’ estate sale was held at Sotheby’s in 1971 – and the outstanding watercolours in this collection are a testament to Bignold’s fine connoisseurship.

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Product code: JH-766

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