New exhibition at Rievaulx Abbey

2017 marks 100 years since Rievaulx Abbey was taken in to the care of the state.

You can now discover the most recent century of the abbey through a showcase of never before seen imagery and artefacts. Explore the transfer of the site into guardianship, the people, the process, the change – and how this set the pattern for the public care of monuments.

For 300 years after the abbey’s suppression the walls of Rievaulx Abbey slowly became overtaken by nature, the monastic buildings disappearing beneath piles of soil and rubble. 

In the summer of 1917, the abbey passed into the care of the state.  Rievaulx became a test bed for new conservation techniques and a new philosophy; a monument for public understanding and appreciation.

Enjoy a unique exhibition of photographs and documents, some never seen before. Charting Rievaulx Abbey’s journey from the 1870s to the 1930s, the exhibition displays remarkable archive images of late 19th and early 20th century photographs – photographs of ruins hidden under blankets of ivy and scrub and people caught on camera.

Victorian tastes favoured a romantic ruin and the invention of the Stereoscope in the mid 1800s (a binocular apparatus to view slides, called stereograms) proved popular with tourists to achieve 3D effects.  

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to experience using a stereoscope and view slides of old images. Courtesy of the London Stereoscope Company, co-owned by Dr Brian May of Queen, these modern day stereoscopes provide a brief step back in time to view Rievaulx as seen by the Victorians.

The exhibition runs until October 31, normal admission prices apply.



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