A. Power, Picturesque Abbey Ruin, Maidstone - Original 1801 watercolour painting

An original 1801 watercolour painting, A. Power Picturesque Abbey Ruin, Maidstone.

This intriguing painting of a typically picturesque view depicts an unidentified ruin, possibly in Maidstone on the Medway. The choice of subject and composition conforms to William Gilpin’s (1724-1804) definition of the concept of the picturesque in his 1768 art treatise Essay on Prints. The “ruin” was a favoured subject because of its combination of the sublime (awe-inspiring, roughness, irregularity) and the beautiful (serene, ordered, balanced).

Tiny figures can be seen inside the ruin, giving a sense of the building’s grand scale and providing a human context for the view – the concept of the picturesque, ultimately, being a matter of human construct and perception.

Little is known of the artist, A. Power, and it is unclear whether the Maidstone location refers to the artist or the scene. There is a historic inscription on the verso: "A Power. Exhibited Royal Academy 1800".

Signed, inscribed and dated in the image lower left: "Power, Maidstone 1801". 
The painting has various condition issues including age toning, some marks, and minor abrasions, and two significant crease lines, obliquely across the paper above-centre, and across the lower right corner. There are repaired tears to the edges of the crease lines and three further repaired tears to the upper edge. Small loss to the upper right corner as shown.
30cm x 41cm.

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

Product code: JE-604

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