Medmenham Abbey, Thames


Medmenham Abbey, Thames


Attributed to John Ruskin
English, 1819–1900


c. 1850


Built by Cistercian monks in the later years of the twelfth century, Medmenham Abbey, which stands along the Thames River about thirty miles due west of downtown London, passed into private hands in 1547 and slowly fell into disrepair. Later owners added considerably to the ruins, including a substantial manor house (which in the 1750s served as the headquarters for Sir Francis Dashwood’s infamous Hellfire Club). Given Ruskin’s admiration for Gothic architecture—he held it as a model of individualized artistic expression long lost to the efficiencies of mass production—it’s perhaps not surprising that, upon encountering the abbey during his travels, he should capture only the remaining sections of the original building.


Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Struble


UC 81.13


This image is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. Other uses are not permitted.


Watercolor and gouache