The Templar's Chapel and Garden, Laon, FranceArtist:
Thomas Matthews Rooke
, British, 1842 - 1942
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 418 x 591mm
Support: 280 x 350mm
Accession Number: CGSG00751
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, picturesque streets and scenes of the townspeople at market or in religious festivals.
The Templar's Chapel shown here was built in the mid 1100s and has an unusual form which appears octagonal on the outside but circular on the interior. By the 1800s the building was collapsing and was held together by iron bands. These bands can be seen in Rooke's study.