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Egglestone Abbey

William Way Cosens

Egglestone Abbey, 19th Century

Charcoal and Red Chalk on Paper


Purchased with funds provided by Mr. Edward Bernstein


William Cosens Way was a 19th century English landscape watercolorist. While he often worked on a large scale with bright colors, this drawing is an excellent example of his smaller scale work. A combination of charcoal and red chalk, Cosens employs a loose but detailed style. The drawing depicts the ruins of the 12th century English Egglestone Abbey in County Durham. The front façade remains intact, while close examination reveals deteriorated walls and growing floral life. A small child walks by in the foreground, providing a sense of scale for the ruined abbey. 

Current Condition of the Artwork:

The ink wash image has white gouache highlights and is painted on a low quality wove paper. The media extends to paper perimeter. The paper is soft and slightly pulpy. There are numerous small edge tears and small losses, some of which have been mended with fiber tape. There are strips of aged pressure sensitive cellophane tapes along the top and bottom edges. There are embedded, irregular tape stains in the image at the top corners. 

Conservation Treatment Proposed:

  • Remove ink sketch paper from the window matte to facilitate further treatment.
  • Remove paper and pressure sensitive tapes with heat and/or organic solvents.
  • Reduce tape stains with organic solvents on a suction table.
  • Mend paper with Japanese paper and wheat starch paste.
  • Flatten.
  • All materials used will be appropriate and conservation quality. All work will adhere to the highest standards of the field.

Estimated Cost of Treatment:  $1,000.00