SITES OF INSPIRATION: Llanthony Priory and Tintern Abbey

May 24 –September 28 2014

From sacred sites, to romantic ruins and impressive monuments Llanthony Priory and Tintern Abbey have inspired generations to create works of art and literature that in turn have inspired the world.


JMW Turner Tintern Abbey West front the ruined abbey c 1794 © The Trustees of The British Museum
Steve Haslam

For the next four months from May 24 – September 28, there is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world renowned artworks that these sites have inspired, at the two nearby museums of Abergavenny and Chepstow.  These two Monmouthshire museums have worked to gather together the best and most interesting art from the National collections in London as well as Wales, and from major museums throughout the UK to create exhibitions devoted to Llanthony Priory at Abergavenny Museum and Tintern Abbey at Chepstow Museum

“The museums are close enough to the sites that you can then go and stand in the viewpoints that the artists once stood. And maybe be inspired too” (Karin Molson, Abergavenny Museum Curator). 

Both exhibitions will feature works by JMW Turner.  Other artists that will be shown at either one or both sites include, John Craxton, John Piper, Eric Ravilious, David Jones, Thomas Gainsborough, John Sell Cotman, Edward Dayes, Thomas Girtin, Michael ‘Angelo’ Rooker and Samuel Palmer. The exhibitions capture the growth and flowering of Britain’s golden age of watercolour and also show some of the processes in the artists’ works.


JMW Turner Tintern Abbey West front the ruined abbey c 1794 © The Trustees of The British Museum
JMW Turner Tintern Abbey West front the ruined abbey c 1794 © The Trustees of The British Museum

The exhibitions also show art and artefacts that were created for the sites when they were working monasteries. The Augustinian priory at Llanthony reveals some beautiful fragments of painted glass, whereas the Cistercians at Tintern decried such decoration, but had numerous designs on the tiled floors.

The exhibition and its associated events and activities with young people and communities in Llanthony and Tintern have been funded by the Sharing Treasures grant scheme from Welsh Government through CyMAL – Museums Archives & Libraries and the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Throughout the exhibitions there will be a wide ranging series of talks and workshops at Abergavenny and Chepstow Museums, Llanthony Priory and Tintern Abbey.  The programme, devised in collaboration with communities from the surrounding areas, will explore many facets of the art and archaeology on display, from tile making and glass painting to art history, poetry, painting and photography. 

“Bringing these works back to the source of their inspiration and for people to be able to see them in the locality is a fantastic thing to be able to do, thanks to the Sharing Treasures grant scheme” (Chepstow Museum Curator, Anne Rainsbury)



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