An original early 20th-century watercolour painting, Sir Edgar Thomas Wigram Konstamonitou Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece.
A beautiful watercolour by Sir Edgar Thomas Ainger Wigram, 6th Bt ARIBA (1864-1935) showing an internal courtyard at Kastamonitou Monastery on the southeastern side of the Athos peninsula in Greece.
The painting was evidently produced from life on an extensive tour of Greece and forms part of a series of 29 views by Wigram that we have for sale. This series encompasses the landscapes, ruins and monuments stretching from Athens in the East, to the Ionian islands in the West and Mount Olympus in the North. Wigram’s painting style builds up layers of dabbed watercolour, his scenes shimmering with a sense of heat and the slightly flattened abstraction of modernity. Wigram was seduced by ‘the East’ and his paintings radiate his enthusiasm for his subject. He wrote: ‘Many of us have felt the fascination of Italy. But those who have “heard the East a-calling” tell us that her call is stronger still’.
The relatively small scale of this work and its careful composition gives it the coherence and impact of a travel postcard. It is likely that this work painted in preparation for a travel book project. Wigram wrote and illustrated two books, ‘Northern Spain: Painted and Described’ and, with his brother, ‘The Cradle of Mankind; Life in Eastern Kurdistan’, the colour plates in which bear close resemblance to these watercolours. The artist diligently inscribed and monogrammed his works.
Monogrammed lower right. Inscribed with title lower left.
In good condition for its age. The picture may have minor imperfections, such as slight marks, toning, foxing, creasing or pinholes, commensurate with age. Please see photos for detail.
17.9cm x 12.6cm.
Sir Edgar Thomas Ainger Wigram, 6th Bt ARIBA (1864-1935) was the son of Woolmore Wigram and Harriet Mary Ainger. He was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating in 1886. He was an ARIBA architect and did much work for the Great Northern Railway Company. In 1920 he succeeded his cousin as the 6th Baronet Wigram. Between 1926 and 1927 he was Mayor of St Albans, and he was Vice-President and then Director of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of St Albans.
Wigram's interest in architecture and love of foreign travel are evident in his most celebrated travelogue, ‘Northern Spain: Painted and Described’. The book reveals him to be an intrepid traveller of great humour and his work represents the experiences and vision of a British Romantic at the cusp of the 1920s Golden Age of travel. In his preface to ‘Northern Spain’ he defines his endeavour thus:
‘Year after year our horde of pleasure-seekers are marshalled by companies for the invasion of Europe: yet it would seem that there are but few in the total who have any real inkling of how to play the game. Some seem to migrate by instinct, and to make themselves miserable in the process...Others can indeed relish a flitting; but cannot find it in their hearts to divorce themselves from their dinner-table and their toilet-battery, their newspaper, their small-talk and their golf… But, to the elect, the very root of the pleasure of travel lies in the fact that their ordinary habits may be frankly laid aside’.
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Product code: JM-232