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|The Ruinous Depredations of Time
Written by JulieW
(8/23/2004 11:57 a.m.)
JA apparently loved reading Gilpin's works, and as we know, he admired the effect in the English countryside of the ruins of monastic buildings, which were a result of the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.
nothing can be said in his vindication , but that his abolishing religious houses & leaving them to the ruinous depredations of time has been of infinite use to the landscape of England in general , which probably was a principal motive for his doing it
Here's an extract from one of Gilpin’s works, the Lakes Tour, where he mentions ruins, and how real , centuries old ruins are preferable to modern shams:
…it is not every man who can build a house that can execute a ruin. To give the stone its mouldering appearance – to make the widening chink run naturally through all the joints- to mutilate the ornaments- to peel the facing from the internal structure- to show how correspondent parts have once united, though now the chasm runs wide between them- and to scatter heaps of ruin around with negligence and ease , are great efforts of art; much too delicate for the hand of a common workman; and what we very rarely see performed. Besides, after all that art can bestow, you must put your ruin at last into the hands of nature to adorn and perfect it. If the mosses and lichens grow unkindly on your walls – if the streaming weather stains have produced no variety of tints- if the ivy refuses to mantle over your buttress or to creep among the ornaments of your Gothic window- if the ash cannot be brought to hand from the cleft, or long, spiry grass to wave over the shattered battlement- your ruin will still be incomplete- you may as well write over the gate, “Built in the year 1772”
The picture above shows Netley Abbey in Hampshire which JA visited. An authentic ruin, not a modern reconstruction ;-)
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