Romantic Landscapes & Church Interiors

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This collection, comprising watercolour landscapes and church interior studies, has connections with Reverend Francis Busteed Ashley (1811-1898), Vicar of Wooburn. Ashley has been described as an architect, artist, historian, engineer and map-maker as well as a clergyman. He was by all accounts an impressive and progressive thinker, changing the face of Wooburn (designing and redesigning many buildings including two schools and the church interior and exterior) and committed to promoting the welfare of his parishioners. A talented artist, he is noted to have frequently embarked on sketching tours, including visiting Chepstow and Tintern Abbey.

Whilst the works in this collection are largely anonymous, there is one hand-coloured lithograph by Ashley, which was given to the owner of this collection in 1874. All twenty-five pictures in the collection are numbered (as a form of cataloguing by the collector) and it is possible others in the collection are by Ashley’s hand.

Landscape subjects comprise British beauty sites - including the Lake District, Snowdonia and Perthshire - as well as a Belgian landscape on the Meuse. Also in the collection are British church interiors, evidencing the great Victorian interest in the architecture of the past, and in particular Gothic architecture. Church-furnishing was a new highly influential industry, accompanying a spirit of revivalism within the Church of England and return to ancient forms of worship and a focus on Holy Communion.