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Kirkstall Abbey

Attributed to John Hornsey (1792-1812)


Inscribed with title and 'The Earl of Cardigan's'

Monochrome watercolour with pen and ink

6 ½ x 12 ½ inches

'Chris Beetles Summer Show', 2017, No 18

Kirkstall Abbey, in West Yorkshire, and now in a suburb of Leeds, was founded by monks of the Cistercian order in 1152. Disestablished in 1538, during the Dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey and its land were awarded to Thomas Cranmer in 1542, reverting to the crown in 1556, when Cranmer was executed. Sir Robert Savile purchased the estates in 1584, and they remained in his family until 1668, when Lady Frances Savile married Francis Brudenell, son and heir of the Second Earl of Cardigan. The abbey is marked on a 1711 map of the Earl of Cardigan’s estates, while the present image of the abbey is inscribed ‘The Earl of Cardigan’s’. As much of the stone was removed over the years for reuse in other buildings, the abbey gradually became a ruin. The ruin was considered to be Picturesque by the taste of the late eighteenth century, and was painted by Girtin, Turner and Cotman, among other artists.