Views of one of the 'best preserved Tudor halls'(read more)
Moonlight' engraving on Ashford Black Marble
DERSB : 2005.35.T32
Moonlight engraving of Haddon Hall, by Ann Rayner, 1830s.
This picture of Haddon Hall seen from the garden is engraved on Ashford Black Marble using a diamond-tipped tool.
Ann Rayner was the leading artist to use this technique in the 1830s. Her husband, Samuel Rayner, also an artist, painted a series of watercolours of Haddon at this time. Anns engraving creates an extraordinary night time view. Of all the country houses in Derbyshire, Haddon Hall on the banks of the River Wye, is considered the most romantic. Its medieval atmosphere, the elopement of Dorothy Vernon through the garden, and its gothic past (embellished by the caretakers!) continues to attract artists and visitors.
The River Wye begins its journey at Buxton before flowing east past Ashford-in-the-Water, Bakewell and Haddon Hall, and joining the River Derwent at Rowsley. Today, the Wye Valley is popular with walkers, cyclists and climbers who enjoy the dramatic gorges, limestone cliffs and wildflower meadows. However, it was once a hive of industrial activity.
Ashford Black Marble is neither black nor marble: it is a grey limestone containing bitumen that turns black and shiny when polished. It was mined near the village of Ashford-in-the-Water from the 1500s. Ornaments were popular tourist souvenirs and sold at numerous outlets, many of which called themselves museums. Early pieces were decorated with etchings and engravings. Later, inlaying became common, and geometric mosaics and floral designs became popular. By the 1870s, trade began to decline. The mines at Ashford closed and, by 1920, the industry had almost completely died out.