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West front of the Abbey church at Bath

West front of the Abbey church at Bath

Artist and engraver: Malton Yr, Thomas

Medium: Aquatint

Date: 1788

Shelfmark: Ktop XXXVII

Item number: 26-c-3

Length: 47

Width: 32

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Topographical Print

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Abbey church was founded in 1499 by Oliver King, Bishop of Bath. He employed Robert and William Vertue, masons to the king, to construct it. The curious tower on the west front is decorated with a ladder of angels climbing between earth and heaven. It is one of the few great late-medieval churches to have kept its original design up to the present day. The lack of alterations is a result of the dissolution of the monastery in the 1530s, whereupon building stopped and the church was offered for sale to citizens of Bath for use as a parish church. Eventually the abbey, stripped of its lead and glass, was given to the city free in 1572.

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