'Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire, from the north east', photograph by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

'Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire, from the north east', photograph by Benjamin Brecknell Turner

Benjamin Brecknell Turner
'Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire, from the North East'
England
1852-54
Albumen print from calotype negative
Museum no. PH.47-1982
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

From the 1220s Whitby Abbey housed Benedictine monks until they surrendered it to King Henry VIII in 1538 after which the building was abandoned and fell into ruin. The gaunt remains are set high on a cliff-top overlooking the town and harbour. It is approached from the town by climbing 199 steps. In his original album sequence Turner grouped the views of Whitby Abbey in a way that suggests a slow zooming in on the subject from a distance.