Рисунки [Paintings]

Cloisterham (Allington) Weir

Between the scenery about Cooling and Cliffe and the scenery of the valley of the Medway from Rochester to Maidstone there is all the difference between a November fog and a brilliant summer's day. At the foot of Rochester Castle, from which the long vista of the valley, lying between two chalk ranges of hills that form the watershed of the Medway, stretches far away to a distant horizon, the Esplanade extends along the east side of the river, and there it was that Edwin Drood and Rosa met for the last time and to speak of their separate plans. For a few miles along the valley the natural beauty of the scene is spoilt by the cement works of Borstal, Cuxton, and Wouldham, and the brickworks of Burham. The piles of clay and chalk, the beehive furnaces, and the chimneys vomiting smoke and flame, almost reproduce the characteristics of the Black Country or of a northern manufacturing district. But, when Burham has been left behind, the bright emerald pastures, the tender green of springing corn or the gold of waving harvests, and the orchards, a dazzling sight in May with the snowy clouds of pear and plum and cherry blooms, and the delicate pink-and-white of the apple blossom, more than justify the appellation claimed for Kent of the garden of England. Opposite to Cuxton, on the western bank, the village of Snodland stands at the junction of Snodland Brook with the Medway. It has been conjectured that Snodland Weir, a mile or so up the brook, was in Dickens's mind when he described Mr. Crisparkle's pilgrimages to Cloisterham Weir in the cold rimy mornings, and his discovery, first of Edwin Drood's watch in a corner of the weir, and then, after diving again and again, of his shirt-pin "sticking in some mud and ooze" at the bottom. The nearest weir on the Medway is at Allington, seven or eight miles above Rochester, and Cloisterham Weir was but "full two miles" away.

Charles Spencelayh Rochester Castle 1895

Spencelayh was born and grew up in Rochester, travelling from there each day to the South Kensington School (later renamed the Royal College of Art) throughout his training as an artist. He continued his studies in Paris before returning to England, first exhibiting at the Royal Academy in 1892. For the next sixty-six years, Spencelayh regularly sent canvases to the Royal Academy exhibitions. Spencelayh frequently returned to the cathedral city throughout his career, evidently making sketches for this painting on one of these visits. This landscape is unusual for Spencelayh who, according to the critic of The Manchester Guardian generally painted, 'old codgers - the obsolete slang rises unbidden - in junk-crammed interiors that will be of considerable interest to the social historian of the future' (quoted in Noakes, p.53).

This view is from the Strood end of Rochester Bridge, looking across the River Medway to a wide panorama centred on the Norman castle situated on the hill top. The stone keep, built under the guidance of William the Conqueror's architect, Bishop Gundulf, was the principle part of the castle then remaining. At 113 feet (35m) high and 70 feet (22m) square it dominates the surrounding countryside. To the left of the castle Spencelayh includes the Norman cathedral. The monumental square tower, recently having undergone restoration work by Sir Gilbert Scott, overlooks the Kent town. The only activity in the scene is contained in the boat in the foreground which is sailing past the pier. The topographical accuracy of the picture is evidently Spencelayh's foremost concern in this view of his home town.

Old Rochester, Kent, before the Building of the Railway, by Ernest R. Fox, c.1893


Rochester Castle and Bridge by Moonlight


Rochester, Medway river, c.1803




John Sell Cotman, Rochester Castle, ca. 1830

Myles Birket Foster - Rochester From the River


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George Cruickshank, 1835
"A Party of Pleasure - Dedicated to the Funny Club"

"Rosa, hav­ing no re­la­tion that she knew of in the world, had, from the sev­enth year of her age, known no home but the Nuns’ House, and no moth­er but Miss Twin­kle­ton. Her re­mem­brance of her own moth­er was of a pret­ty lit­tle crea­ture like her­self (not much older than her­self it seemed to her), who had been brought home in her fa­ther’s arms, drowned. The fatal ac­ci­dent had hap­pened at a party of plea­sure."



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