View of the East End of Chartres Cathedral from the River Eure, FranceArtist:
Thomas Matthews Rooke
, British, 1842 - 1942
Material and Medium: watercolour and bodycolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 425 x 428mm
Support: 322 x 340mm
Accession Number: CGSG00101
This scene shows Chartres’ ancient, close-knit rooftops. The canopies over the river are washing sheds, where women went to wash their clothes. Rooke, who was in Chartres to draw picturesque architecture for John Ruskin, drew a record of the inside of the sheds too, which Ruskin kept in his own collections.
Tourists to the city at the time were charmed by its apparent quaintness, as this extract from the 'New York Times', from July 1886 shows:
'The river is divided into two branches, and on each of these sluggish streams the little houses and sheds where washerwomen kneel at their sloping boards are unsurpassable in picturesqueness… Rows of such delightful scenes are to be met with while crossing the thickset bridges of stone in the old part of the city... Above rise the tall gables and crooked rooftrees of the town… then comes the upper city, crowned by the apse, the nave, the towers, steeples of Notre Dame.'