Although Turner had made only a quick drawing of the interior of Ewenny Priory on his first tour of South Wales in 1795, he was clearly fascinated by the place, for its bold Romanesque architecture and mysterious atmosphere. He developed the first modest study, in his Smaller South Wales sketchbook (Tate D00472; Turner Bequest XXV 11) into an important watercolour, shown at the Royal Academy in 1797 (National Museum Wales, Cardiff).1
He made two or possibly three new drawings of it while he was in Glamorgan in 1798; this one is a view into the chancel from the south transept; the south-east pier of the crossing is to the right. The linked ovals partially indicated against the far wall of the chancel are a suggestion of the structure of the rood screen, which Turner drew in some detail in his finished watercolour of 1797. The screen is shown again in the drawing on folios 29 verso–30 recto (D01733–D01734; Turner Bequest XLII 58–59), which is taken from the south transept, looking over the crossing. Compare Turner’s inscription ‘E’ on the present page with that on the view on folios 24 verso–25 recto (D01723–D01724; Turner Bequest XLII 48–49), which may show the priory and its surroundings.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.325 no.227, pl.28.
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