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Works (?) Edward Dayes after James Moore

The West Front of Valle Crucis Abbey Church

1792 - 1793

Primary Image: TG0113: (?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804), after James Moore (1762-99), The West Front of Valle Crucis Abbey Church, 1792–93, graphite and watercolour on paper, 13 × 21 cm, 5 ⅛ × 8 ¼ in. Private Collection.

Photo courtesy of Sotheby's

Artist's source: James Moore (1762–99), Valle Crucis Abbey, 21 August 1791, graphite on laid paper, 17.1 × 21.1 cm, 6 ¾ × 8 ¼ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (B1975.3.686).

Photo courtesy of Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection (Public Domain)

(?) Edward Dayes (1763-1804) after James Moore (1762-1799)
  • The West Front of Valle Crucis Abbey Church
1792 - 1793
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on paper
13 × 21 cm, 5 ⅛ × 8 ¼ in
Object Type
Studio Watercolour; Work after an Amateur Artist
Subject Terms
Monastic Ruins; North Wales

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Auction Catalogue


Herbert William Underdown (1864–1944); his sale, Sotheby's, 30 March 1927, lot 106 as 'Llanegwst Abbey' by Thomas Girtin; bought by 'Henderson', £8; Sotheby's, 16 July 1987, lot 83 as by Edward Dayes, £462

About this Work

Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales

This view of the west front of the ruined church of Valley Crucis Abbey in Denbighshire, North Wales, is based on a sketch made by the amateur artist and antiquarian James Moore (1762–99) (see the source image above). The drawing by Moore is dated 21 August and it was reproduced as an aquatint by George Isham Parkyns (c.1749–1824) and published in Moore’s Monastic Remains and Ancient Castles in England and Wales (see figure 1) (Moore, 1792). However, although the work was initially attributed to Girtin on the grounds that it was the same size as the seventy or so watercolours of the nation’s castle and monastic ruins that he made for Moore, there is no evidence that artist’s earliest patron ever owned a view of Valle Crucis. Thomas Girtin (1874–1960) and David Loshak did not include the work in their 1954 catalogue of Girtin’s works (Girtin and Loshak, 1954), and the more recent attribution on stylistic grounds of the work to Edward Dayes (1763–1804), at the time of its sale at auction in 1987, is more plausible. Indeed, although the work is clearly based on Moore’s drawing, the careless, even neurotic handling of the washes is actually more typical of the cheaper commodities that Dayes produced for the open market in watercolour sketches and it lacks the more considered approach to buildings that Girtin brought to his work for Moore. The attribution to Dayes is backed up by the existence of a signed and dated version by him of the same composition from 1791 (sold at Sotheby’s, 19 November 1981, lot 35) that measures 33.7 × 49 cm (13 ¼ × 19 ¼ in), and presumably this was the work commissioned by Moore. Girtin himself went on to make a series of views of the picturesquely sited Valle Crucis, both from the work of Moore (TG0208, one of three versions) and later from sketches made on his own visit to North Wales in 1798 (TG1345), but the depictions of the ruins always have a sense of structure that is singularly lacking in this watercolour.

1792 - 1793

The East End of Valle Crucis Abbey Church


1798 - 1799

Valle Crucis Abbey: The Chapter House, from the South West


by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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