The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 2, 2024

Inside the East End of Nettley Abbey

Inside the East End of Nettley Abbey

Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Netley Abbey, seen in this drawing, was a popular subject in art and literature at the time Michael Angelo Rooker depicted it.


By the end of the 18th century, Britain’s medieval ruins had become popular tourist destinations and a rich source of inspiration for Romantic poets and painters, establishing a veritable "cult of ruins." Decaying Gothic architecture set in overgrown landscapes conjured thoughts of the transience of human ambition in the context of eternal nature. In 1755, the writer and Whig politician Horace Walpole described Netley Abbey: "The ruins are vast . . . with all variety of Gothic patterns of windows wrapped round and round with ivy—many trees are sprouted up against the walls and want only to be increased with cypresses! In short, they are not the ruins of Netley, but of Paradise." Michael Angelo Rooker’s drawing gives form to Walpole’s description of his magical visit to the ruined abbey.
  • 1965
    (sale, Christie's, London, November 16, 1965, no. 174)
    after 1965-before 1984
    J. Dayes, Esq.
    (sale, Sotheby's, London, November 21, 1984, no. 88)
    after 1984-before 2005
    Harry and Nina Pollock, Cleveland Heights, OH
    Painting and Drawing Society, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH, given to the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
    Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Conner, Patrick. Michael Angelo Rooker, 1746-1801. London:Victoria & Albert Museum, 1984. Mentioned: p. 129
    Lemonedes, Heather. "Quintessentially British." Cleveland Art (July/August 2007). Mentioned and reproduced: pp. 8-11
    Lemonedes, Heather. British Drawings: The Cleveland Museum of Art. Exh. Cat. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Museum of Art, 2013. Mentioned: pp. 48-49, 148, no. 13; Reproduced: p. 49
  • British Drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art . The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (February 10-May 26, 2013).
  • {{cite web|title=Inside the East End of Nettley Abbey|url=false|author=Michel Angelo Rooker|year=1794|access-date=02 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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