Image description for Plate 23.—Llanthony Abbey.

[the image described here]

This is a digital reproduction of a printed image made from an engraving. Although only one colour of solid ink was used for the printing, a dark brown close to black, the slight yellowing of the paper in the printed book over time and the brown of the ink have been preserved here. The image is also light: even the shadows are not very dark, because they are made with thin lines close together rather than solid dark.

The picture shows the ruins of an ancient abbey. There is no roof. We see massive walls of masonry with giant gothic arches in them. In the foreground are some cows together with a farmer and his little black dog wagging its tail; a line of perhaps ten sheep extends from the cows in the middle foreground back towards a fence in the background that runs through a large arch and perhaps goes into what was once the nave of the church part of the abbey or priory.

The heaviest and largest part of the surviving masonry seems to be a corner of two walls to the left of the picture. There are two huge gothic pointed arches, perhaps twenty feet or more from the ground to the apex, and above them smaller windows with rounded arches, and above that what looks like battlements pierced with doorways, so a walkway probably originally just below a roof; these two walls joined at the corner are perhaps thirty or more feet high. Grassy mounds presumably cover rubble inside what would have been an enclosed space this side of the corner. To the right, a wall of thinner, smaller arches ends in a square tower, and we can glimpse that there is another parallel set of arches behind and another tower, probably forming the nave of the abbey.

In the background is a tall cone-shaped hill.

The effect of the whole image is one of light and yes poignant sadness as we see a formerly beautful building ruined and used for farm animals.

back to main image page