Cuitt’s architectural depictions have a dramatic, if not overblown, quality compared to those of his contemporaries. Ruined abbeys were a favourite motif of romantic artists, none more so than Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire which became an obligatory stop on any northern picturesque tour. Ruins were considered more picturesque when partly hidden so that their beauties came as a surprise when discovered from different aspects. Their purpose was to arouse an emotional response in the viewer and to conjure up moods and associations rather than to record medieval sites precisely.
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