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Creator:
Jonathan Skelton, active 1754, died 1758, British
Title:
Harbledown, a Village near Canterbury
Date:
1757
Medium:
Watercolor with pen and gray ink over graphite on moderately thick, moderately textured, blued white laid paper, pasted on contemporary mount made of moderately thick, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Dimensions:
Mount: 10 1/4 × 23 1/2 inches (26 × 59.7 cm) and Sheet: 8 × 20 3/4 inches (20.3 × 52.7 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Inscribed in black ink, on back, lower center: "Harbledown Hospital"; in black ink, on mount, now detached: "Harbledown, A village near Canterbury | J: Skelton 1757 | N: B: Drawn immediatly after a heavy Summer-Shower"

Signed and dated in black ink, on back, lower center: "J. Skelton 1757"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1975.4.1956
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
buildings | church | fences | hospital | houses | landscape | road | town | trees | village
Associated Places:
England | Harbledown | Hospital of St. Nicholas Harbledown | Kent | United Kingdom
Access:
Accessible by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: As a COVID-19 precaution, the Study Room is closed until further notice.
Curatorial Comment:
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This watercolor was made shortly before Skelton's trip to Italy, from which he was never to return. It belongs to a set of eight views of Canterbury and its vicinity, of which four are in the Paul Mellon Collection (ycba). Harbledown was the last village that pilgrims encountered before arriving at the ancient cathedral city of Canterbury, one and a half miles away. From atop the hill on which Harbledown is located (“Bobbe up-and-down” as the village was once referred to by Chaucer in his “Canterbury Tales”), pilgrims would have an unimpeded view of the cathedral. The road at the forefront of Skelton's composition is known today as the old Pilgrims Way, linking London to Canterbury. Hardly recognizable amid its densely wooded surroundings is the church of St. Nicholas, or “Harbledown hospital” (the subject is given by Skelton himself on the sheet's verso), still referred to nine hundred years later by locals as “The Leper Church,” or leper's hospital. This lazaret, with its adjoining almshouses (many of which have not survived), was a mandatory stop for early kings en route to Canterbury. “Harbledown” perfectly demonstrates Skelton's mastery in color variations. His inclination toward the observation of nature is suggested by an inscription on the old mount which reads: “Harbledown, A village near Canterbury./.J: Skelton 1757./.N: B: Drawn immediately after a heavy Summer-Shower.” His use of the method of “tinted drawing,” a technique that consisted of adding washes of colors over penciled outlines, is precise without being rigid; a full spectrum of greens and browns is exploited to effectively convey a damp atmosphere. As with other compositions in the Canterbury series, the artist represented Harbledown in a panoramic format in which the sense of depth is suggested by a wandering path.
--Stephane Roy,2007-01
Exhibition History:
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British Watercolors - Drawings of the 18th and 19th Centuries from the Yale Center for British Art (Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston, 1985-04 - 1986-08)

British Watercolors - Drawings of the 18th and 19th Centuries from the Yale Center for British Art (Block Museum of Art, 1985-04 - 1986-08)

British Watercolors - Drawings of the 18th and 19th Centuries from the Yale Center for British Art (Toledo Museum of Art, 1985-04 - 1986-08)

British Watercolors - Drawings of the 18th and 19th Centuries from the Yale Center for British Art (Portland Art Museum, 1985-04 - 1986-08)

British Watercolors - Drawings of the 18th and 19th Centuries from the Yale Center for British Art (Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1985-04 - 1986-08)

British Watercolors - Drawings of the 18th and 19th Centuries from the Yale Center for British Art (Memorial Art Gallery of Rochester, 1985-04 - 1986-08)

British Watercolors - Drawings of the 18th and 19th Centuries from the Yale Center for British Art (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1985-04 - 1986-08)

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05)

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27)

Publications:
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John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp. 260-61, no. 42, pl. 42, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Scott Wilcox, British watercolors, drawings of the 18th and 19th centuries from the Yale Center for British Art , Hudson Hill Press, New York, 1985, no. 2, pl. 2, ND1928 W533 1985 (YCBA)

Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:13073
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