Alexander Creswell, “The Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey” 2011, watercolor, 35 x 40 in. © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

Glimpses of Eternity
Through May 16, 2018
London, England

The British watercolorist Alexander Creswell (b. 1957) is renowned for deft depictions of historic buildings. His first architectural series (1990) examined deteriorated British country houses, and he remains fascinated by old buildings’ changeability. In 1992 HM Queen Elizabeth II commissioned him to depict the charred spaces of Windsor Castle, then to show them magnificently restored just five years later.

Alexander Creswell, “The Quire, Westminster Abbey,” 2011, watercolor, 22 x 30 in., © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

For the past six years, Creswell has been allowed to paint any area of London’s medieval Westminster Abbey that interests him, often behind locked gates. Such privileged access is unprecedented, though it surely owes to the superb job he did there recording — from a balcony high above — the 2011 wedding of Prince William to Catherine Middleton (now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge).

Alexander Creswell, “Tombs in St Nicholas’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey,” 2014, watercolor, 22 x 15 in., © Dean & Chapter of Westminster

This season visitors to the Abbey’s octagonal Chapter House will admire 38 of Creswell’s scenes, including sketches, sketchbooks, and a maquette from the Royal Wedding project. Among his subjects is the triforium, a space 70 feet above the Abbey’s main floor, hidden from public view for more than 700 years. Later this year it will be relaunched as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, displaying hundreds of treasures associated with the Abbey and offering magnificent views of the nearby Houses of Parliament.

All profits from Creswell’s “Glimpses of Eternity” art exhibition, and from the Scala book that accompanies it, will benefit the Jubilee Galleries project.

This article originally appeared in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine (subscribe here).

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  1. This is inspiring. It also brings back very fond memories of my own visit to Westminster Abbey recently. London has so many beautiful, hidden places to paint. Thanks for sharing.


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