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The East Prospect of the Ruins of Furness Abbey in Lancashire.

CHEESMAN (Thomas, junior).

CHEESMAN (Thomas, junior).

The East Prospect of the Ruins of Furness Abbey in Lancashire.

Pen and ink drawings. [234 x 415 mm].

A vertical tear at the centre has been expertly repaired, there is small loss to the corners, and the sheet has been backed. It is signed at the bottom left "Thomas Cheesman jun.r delin. 1778". The character sitting with a sketch pad might perhaps be a self-portrait. The other couple are rather small in comparison. Little is known about the early life of Thomas Cheesman (1760-c.1834), but like so many engravers of his generation he was trained in the studio of Francesco Bartolozzi, and has been described as one of his most outstanding pupils. His output was mainly portraiture, after the old masters and on commission from modern artists. In 1816 Ackermann published his Rudiments of Drawing the Human Figure from Cipriani, Guido, Poussin, Rubens, which is described in the Oxford DNB as "uninspired and conventional" and "formulaic". Between 1830 and 1834 Cheesman was employed by the Society of Dilettanti in documenting the sculptures in the British Museum.

Furness Abbey is located in the Valley of Nightshade near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. It dates back to 1123, and became the second richest Cistercian Abbey in England after Fountains. It was disestablished and destroyed in 1537, becoming a tourist attraction (it always helps to have a few resident ghosts). Wordsworth refers to the Abbey in The Prelude and Turner made a series of etchings of the ruins. Cheesman's drawing is accompanied by a lithograph of the Abbey from the North East by W. L. Walton after J. Shaw, printed by C. Hullmandel, dated 1843. There were some significant losses to the structure over the intervening 65 years.

Stock no. ebc6092

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Price: £400