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Alan Sorrell (1904-1974):
Roman Caerwent - sketch for a reconstruction of the Romano-celtic temple.
Mounted (ref: 5801)
Pencil, gouache and ink on paper, squared with notations,
29.5 x 47.5 cm (11 1/2 x 18 3/4 in.)
Provenance: The artist's son, Richard Sorrell
Exhibited: Sir John Soane's Museum, 25 October 2013 - 25 January 2014, Alan Sorrell: A Life Reconstructed.
Literature:Sacha Llewellyn & Richard Sorrell (ed), Alan Sorrell; the Life and Works of an English Neo-Romantic Artist, (Bristol: Sansom & Co.) 2013, pp 140-152.
This sketch shows a temple and adjacent buildings on the main street of the Roman
town. Caerwent was excavated by V E Nash-Williams and his notes and corrections
appear on this sketch, which was made in 1955. On the left is the forum and basilica.
Alan Sorrell made a considerable reputation for his remarkable ‘reconstruction’ drawings of ancient sites, shown as they appeared in their heyday. The drawings and paintings combine his keen interest in history, and collaboration with archaeological and historical experts, with a vivid artistic imagination and sense of spatial awareness. This was partly informed by his experience in the RAF where hours of flying and aerial views gave him a new perspective on landscape painting.
His reconstruction drawings brought him into close working relationships with many of the foremost archaeologists of his day, including Sir Cyril and Aileen Fox, Sir Mortimer Wheeler, Leonard Woolley, Kathleen Kenyon, Ian Richmond, Richard Atkinson, Stuart Piggott, V E Nash-Williams, Stuart Rigold and many others.
As was his practice with mural paintings, Sorrell made sketches and preparatory drawings, which led to the finished reconstruction drawings. These works were commissioned by the Ministry of Works (English, Welsh and Scottish Heritage), The
Illustrated London News, television companies and others.