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CURRENT COLUMN

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art & Wealth Management
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 19. The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

I had advised my client on the purchase of the painting and had helped in acquiring it from the previous owner, who was selling due to financial difficulties. The previous owner indicated that the piece had been in their family for many years and that he had inherited it from his since-deceased mother.


Bolton Abbey by William Archibald Wall

Bolton Abbey by William Archibald Wall

Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire by J.M.W. Turner

Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire by J.M.W. Turner

Stepping Stones at Bolton Abbey by Keith Melling

Stepping Stones at Bolton Abbey by Keith Melling

The oil on canvas painting was signed 'Wall' at the lower right on a small rock. William Archibald Wall (1828-1879), was said to have depicted the ruins of Fountains Abbey, England, however I had done some research on Fountains Abbey and was unable to connect the image in the painting with that of a known image of the abbey.

Coincidentally, several years after the purchase, the work was placed on display at a local art and antiques fair and a young couple visiting from England stopped by to admire it. In conversation they mentioned, much to my surprise, that the ruins were actually of Bolton Priory and not Fountains Abbey as previously thought. They were quite familiar with the ruined structure and the surrounding area in enough detail to comment on the stepping stone walkway, recognized in the painting and which still exists today, permitting foot traffic across the River Wharfe which flows nearby.

Bolton Priory was originally founded at Embsay in 1120 and contained canons led by a prior. Bolton Abbey was founded in 1151 by the Augustinian Order on the banks of the River Wharfe.

Construction was still going on at the Abbey when the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Parliamentary Decree resulted in the termination of the Priory in 1539. The east end remains in ruins. A tower, begun in 1520, was left halfstanding, and its base was later given a bell-turret and converted into an entrance porch.

J.M.W. Turner painted several watercolours of the Priory and Abbey in 1809, one of which appears to have been painted from almost the same location as Wall had chosen some forty years later.

The Abbey has also been painted by some of Britain's most revered 19th century watercolour artists including Peter de Wint, John Sell Cotman and Thomas Girtin. A work by Sir Edwin Landseer entitled Scene in the Olden Time at Bolton Abbey, painted in 1834, is in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire. A more contemporary image of the Abbey was painted by Yorkshire artist Keith Melling.

The Priory has enjoyed a revival as such when it was featured in the 1963 film entitled This Sporting Life starring Richard Harris. The Priory and grounds were the destination for a Sunday outing for Frank Machin, played by Harris; his mistress Mrs. Margaret Hammond, played by Rachael Roberts; and her two children. Harris is seen playing with the children while his mistress looks on against the backdrop of the Priory Ruins. In one scene the children are shown negotiating the stepping stones to cross the River Wharfe. The ruins were also used as a location for scenes in the 2008 Bollywood supernatural thriller, entitled 1920. The Priory also appears, in foggy form, on the front cover of the 1981 album entitled Faith by The Cure: a dead and decaying structure enjoying a return to life?

Next: The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

 Sat, Sep 5, 2009