Paul Sandby was the English watercolourist supreme of the late 18th/ early 19th century. A recent exhibition of his works, held to celebrate the bicentenary of his death has been held at his birthplace, Nottingham, and this will soon transfer to the Royal Academy in London, where it will be on show from 13th March to the 13th June 2010.
The catalogue of the exhibition however has been made available as a paperback book, edited by John Bonehill and Stephen Daniels, the research for which was conducted with the help of generous aid and support from the Paul Mellon Centre for the studies of British Art and is full of marvellous images of late 18th/ early19th century England, many of which have great relevance to incidents/references in Jane Austen’s novels , not least his depiction of ruined abbeys and ancient castles which would set Catherine Morland’s heart a-beating, and views of army encampments fit enough to enrapture the hearts of Lydia, Kitty and even Mary Bennet.
The pictures of army encampments contained in this book are fascinating and date from the time of the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots in 1780 , when rioting, which began in St Georges Field on the south bank of the Thames wreaked havoc across the capital, and was so memorable that when nearly 20 years later Jane Austen was writing Northanger Abbey , the very mention of rioting in London was enough to strike horror into the tender heart of Eleanor Tilney.
The detail in the watercolors and aquatints is amazing and gives an accurate idea of what like was really like to live in London and the English countryside of Jane Austen’s era .It is quite possible to lose oneself within them , imagining that many of her characters, Emma and Mr Knightley, for example, might saunter into the frame at any minute.
Newstead Abbey is a beautiful historic house set in a glorious landscape of gardens and parkland within the heart of Nottinghamshire. Founded as a monastic house in the late 12th century, Newstead was home to the poet Lord Byron between 1808–1814. Inside the Abbey there is much to explore including Victorian room settings, and the poets private apartments.
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