Western Tower, Le Pont Valentré, Cahors, FranceArtist:
, British, 1852 - 1917
Material and Medium: watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Frame: 525 x 396mm
Sight size: 236 x 170mm
Accession Number: CGSG00052
This watercolour is an example of a ‘memorial study’, a view commissioned by John Ruskin to record medieval architecture that was under the threat of destruction or restoration. Restoration was in Ruskin's eyes much the same as destruction, as he felt the original 'spirit' of the craftsman could not be retained or substituted in new replacements.
Ruskin regularly engaged Randal for this type of work. He had been in France for some time when he received a letter stating '…If the railway from Limoges went south to Cahors there is or was a bridge there…You are not to draw the bridge… in colour, but only any bit of it you like.' Randal made a number of studies of the bridge but conveniently ‘forgot’ the instruction about colour.
In fact, Randal and Ruskin were too late. The bridge, which dates from the 1300s had been already been restored in 1879.