A.T.C, Croyland Abbey, Lincolnshire - Original 19th-century graphite drawing


An original early 19th-century graphite drawing, A.T.C Croyland Abbey, Lincolnshire.

A highly detailed graphite drawing, showing the medieval bridge at Croyland in Lincolnshire, with behind it the ruins of Croyland (or Crowland) Abbey. Laid down on pale blue backing paper.

Initialled on the backing lower right 'A.T.C'. Inscribed on the backing 'Bridge at Croyland.'
Some age toning to the paper as, as shown.
9.6cm x 13.1cm.

This work forms part of a collection of pictures from an early nineteenth-century tooled leather album or ‘friendship book’. Seen as a record of friendship, this relatively small-scale artwork takes on a particularly intimate charm.

Friendship books were very popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Usually the name of the book’s owner was inscribed inside the front cover, and it was then circulated among their friends: each friend would write a dedication inside – perhaps poetry or a quotation – before returning it. In the more interesting examples, they would also include small works of art, and other mementoes.

The works of art, like the inscriptions of poetry or quotations, would often reflect on the value of friendship, communicating values of loyalty and steadfastness. The drawings or paintings would depict emblematic flowers such as forget-me-nots, or landscape views of inspiring scenes. Over time, friendship books built up into fascinating documents: visually rich, and giving an intimate picture of the book’s owner’s relationships. Some friendship books even came with built-in locks, to keep the dedications from prying eyes.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JH-092

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