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Oil painting by Simpson of the Priory Gates and Broad Towers Broadway Caerleon

Priory Gates and Broad Towers, Broadway, Caerleon

     
 

We're having trouble dating this oil painting... maybe you can help...

Written on the back of the canvas is "The Priory and Col. Mansell's House Broadway CAERLEON". This may have been penned some time after the painting was completed of course. The other clues are: the street lamp; the man and woman's costumes (see close up below) and the absence of the church lych-gate.

The lytch-gate was built after the First World War...

The first reference we can find to 'Colonel Mansell' is the christening of his daughter, Lydia, in St Cadoc's Church January 1877. His wife was Lilian Augusta Mansel daughter of Thomas Morgan Llewellin who lived in Broad Towers until some time after 1891. The 'Colonel' and his family were living there with Lydia's father (aged 75 and named as the householder in the 1891 census) then, so it is unlikely that the house would have been refered to as belonging to the Colonel. In 1901 William Watson (a solicitor) was living in Broad Towers. So it seems likely the text was written between 1891 and 1901 but it could have been up to about 15 years earlier.

The costumes suggest a date earlier than when the text was written.

We were surprised to find that the museum is not visible from this angle (see photo below); at first we thought that the absence of it in the picture dated it to before 1850.

Then there's the street light... according to Norman Stevens ('Caerleon, Scenes Changing') Caerleon Gas Company was formed in 1848. But could this be an oil lamp?

The signature in the bottom right corner appears to be "Simpson" with possibly the initials 'GP' or 'GF'.

 

Broadway, Caerleon nowadays

So we arrive at a date around the mid 1890s. What do you think? If you can help with the dating or know anything about the artist please contact us via the link below.

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