Paul Sandby Munn AOWS, Bayham Abbey, Sussex - Original 1809 watercolour painting


An original 1809 watercolour painting, Paul Sandby Munn AOWS Bayham Abbey, Sussex.

A delicate work in sepia wash and graphite by Paul Sandby Munn AOWS (1773-1845), showing an arch at Bayham Abbey on the Kent Sussex border. Bayham Abbey, built in the 13th century, lies in the valley of the River Teise, and forms part of a site which includes the Dower house (otherwise known as Bayham Old Abbey House) and its formal and informal gardens.

The abbey became a ruin following its dissolution in 1536-7 and in the late 18th century was celebrated as a picturesque feature in the landscape. In 1785 Hieronymus Grimm had sketched the abbey, emphasising the grand scale and picturesque character of its ivy-clad walls. Sandby Munn’s decision to include the gardener figure here, with rake and broom, is perhaps an allusion to the landscaping of the new Bayham Abbey mansion park by landscape designer Humphry Repton (1752-1818). Carried out in the early 19th century, the new landscaping included some modifications to the abbey, memorialised in one of Repton's famous ‘Red Books’, which he produced to present to his clients to showcase his design proposals. Repton described the landscaping at Bayham Abbey as the ‘Application of Gardening and Architecture united, in the formation of a new place’.

On paper laid down on original backing card with wash line and inscriptions.

Presented with historic cream mount and frame backing board bearing dealers' labels.

Provenance: Abbott & Holder, 30 Museum Street, London & Spink & Son, 5, 6, 7, King Street, St James's, London.

Signed and dated lower right.
Signed, inscribed and dated below on backing card. Inscribed verso.
In good condition for its age. Some slight minor marks and age toning. There is a small brown stain to the backing card at the far lower left, and the outer edges of the backing card are very slightly irregular. Please see photos for detail.
21.8cm x 15.8cm.

Paul Sandby Munn AOWS (1773-1845) was godson and namesake to Paul Sandby (1731-1809), who is said to have given him his first lessons in watercolour. Sandby Munn’s father, James Munn, was a carriage decorator and landscape painter. Paul Sandby made Munn a good draughtsman, and in 1799 Paul Sandby Munn began to exhibit at the Royal Academy. In the same year he became a member of the Sketching Club founded by Thomas Girtin, and was later secretary under the presidency of John Sell Cotman.

Paul’s brothers, William and James, ran a stationers and printsellers business in New Bond St, at which Paul would work at drawings to be sold in the shop. Such was the demand, Cotman also came on board to produce drawings for the shop, the pair going on sketching tours of Wales (1802) and Yorkshire (1803) for inspiration. Between 1802 and 1815, Sandby Munn also supplied drawings to John Britton for eight plates in the ‘Beauties of England and Wales’. He went on to settle at Hastings as a drawing master. Francis Stevens (1781-1823) was his pupil.

His works can be found in numerous public collections, including the British Museum, The Courtauld Gallery, the V&A, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Text copyright © 2019 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JN-618

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