The Ruins of Cymer Abbey on the Mawddach River

The Ruins of Cymer Abbey on the Mawddach River

1790
John Warwick Smith
1749-1831
Watercolor over graphite on medium, slightly textured, cream wove paper
Sheet: 4 7/8 x 8 3/4 inches (12.4 x 22.2 cm)

This image stands apart from the rest of the Smith watercolors, which depict open landscapes in daylight, instead showing the ruins of an abbey at dusk. Although the background depicts mountains in atmospheric perspective, there is very little depth to the image compared to Smith’s other landscapes, creating a sense of intimacy. His use of soft blues brings a certain quietude to the scene that underscores the tranquility of the ruins in the foreground.

B1975.4.728
Inscribed in brown ink, lower left, on mount: "July 16.th 1790"; lower center: "The Ruins of Cymmer Abbey. | on the Maw River - opposite to Llan Ellfyd | Merionethshire.."
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection