Tintern Abbey by Moonlight

John "Warwick" Smith British

Not on view

John "Warwick" Smith – whose sobriquet refers to his patron, George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick – made extensive tours of Wales between 1784 and 1806 and prepared a series of brightly colored, small-scale watercolor views. Many were made with an eye to collaborating with his former tutor William Gilpin on a second edition of that author's celebrated "Observations on the River Wye" (1789), a publication liberally illustrated with prints. This drawing depicts the ruins of Tintern Abbey by moonlight from a vantage point across the river. By the late 1780s, when this drawing was made, the artist had abandoned the use of ink outlines and was applying strong local colors in a distinctive, painterly manner. He created the reflections of the moonlight upon water by scratching through the pigment to reveal the white paper beneath, creating an evocative nighttime scene that supports his reputation as one of the earliest romantic watercolorists.

Tintern Abbey by Moonlight, John "Warwick" Smith (British, Irthington, Cumberland 1749–1831 London), Graphite and watercolor with scratching out

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