A view of Woburn Abbey, a large naive oil on canvas. dating from the early 1800’s, probably copied from a print from “The Beauties of England & Wales 1801-1808”. (Artist: John Britton, Engraver: J Powell). See illustration below.
There are many engravings of Woburn Abbey from this period, but this painting appears to have been taken directly from this print. It may have been painted by Joseph Powell himself, the engraver of the print, as he was also an artist, but I have nothing to prove this theory.
Unsigned. Very good condition. Re-framed.
Sight: 29" x 23" (71cm x 59cm)
Frame: 22.5" x 17.5" (57cm x 44cm)
In this period (the late 18th/early 19thc), there was a growing interest in and appreciation of the countryside and its ‘wildness’, to which artists such as Turner and Constable testify. Artists, engravers and printers capitalised on this interest by producing books of illustrations which were now within the price range of the general public, thanks to recent innovations in print technology.
Travel to Europe was not possible as a result of the French Revolution of 1789 and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars, which did not end until 1815. This also led to a vogue for sightseeing at home.
Books were also produced illustrating the many grand houses that had been built or updated in the 18th century by architects such as Robert Adam and Henry Holland.
Woburn Abbey is a historic house on the border of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, close to Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton.
Woburn Abbey, comprising Woburn Park and its buildings, was set out and founded as a Cistercian abbey in 1145. Taken from its monastic residents by Henry VIII and given to John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford, in 1547, it became the seat of the Russell family and the Dukes of Bedford. The Abbey was largely rebuilt starting in 1744 by the architects Henry Flitcroft and Henry Holland for the 4th Duke. Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford, originated the afternoon tea ritual in 19th-century England. Wikipedia
Joseph Powell c1780 - 1834, was an well known artist primarily working in watercolour and pencil, and engraver of landscapes, countryside and grand houses.
There are 18 works by Joseph Powell in the Wordsworth Trust's collection, primarily pencil and watercolour. Collections.wordsworth.org.uk