Sundial on Market Day, Laon, FranceArtist:
Thomas Matthews Rooke
, British, 1842 - 1942
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Sight size: 528 x 228mm
Accession Number: CGSG00769
In 1886, Ruskin commissioned Rooke to work in France writing 'I am going to avail myself of your divine sympathy with the French character and your exquisite architectural drawing. I want you to go first to Laon and see how you like it…’. Descriptions of Laon rarely appear in Ruskin's books, but he wrote of the town and its hilltop location with affection in his letters and diary notes. Rooke therefore painted a number of views of Laon, including the cathedral and the surrounding streets.
This scene shows the towns-people of Laon on a busy market day, yet still focuses on the architecture of Loan, including a decorative sculptural frieze on the house towards the left and the window tracery and buttress of Laon cathedral at the top. The sundial from the title of the study is a plaque held by the sculpture of an angel.