Paul Sandby RA, Roche Abbey, Yorkshire

Roche Abbey, Yorkshire, probably 1770s

Paul Sandby RA (1730/31 - 1809)

RA Collection: Art

In this watercolour Sandby depicted the remains of a medieval Cistercian abbey in Sandbeck Park, Yorkshire, which was then the estate of Richard Lumley-Saunderson, 4th Earl of Scarborough.

Watercolours scenes of medieval ruins set in rural landscapes are typical of the topographical work produced by Sandby at this time. During the late 18th century, historic ruins were particularly appreciated because they could evoke contemplation on the passage of time and man's relationship with nature. When another, more distant prospect of the abbey by Sandby was published in 1780, the accompanying description stated that:

'...these ruins, among which large trees are now grown up, with the objects around them, form a picture inexpressibly charming, from every noise, except the singing of the birds and the murmur of the brook, together with the fragments of sepulchral monuments, and the gloomy shades of ivy and yew...give such solemnity to the scene, as fills the mind with a pleasing melancholy'

Object details

Roche Abbey, Yorkshire
Paul Sandby RA (1730/31 - 1809)
probably 1770s
Object type
Pencil and watercolour on laid paper

300 mm x 586 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Given by Augusta Thackeray 21 June 1865
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