Tintern Abbey Claude mirror webcam installation


In 2005 I approached, via email and telephone, David & Graham George, then the Proprietors at the Abbey Hotel, in Tintern Parva, Wales. The Hotel is situated across the road from Tintern Abbey, subject of Wordsworth’s “Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey” and countless 18th & 19th century drawings, paintings, engravings and poems. Indeed, if one location is to be deemed to be the birthplace of British domestic tourism, it would be Tintern Abbey, situated within the Wye Valley that runs along the Welsh English border.

I had come to choose Tintern and the Abbey Hotel after seeing an exhibition at the V&A entitled Cheating: How to Make a Perfect Work of Art and offering the V&A a meter-wide Claude mirror for their courtyard. That was not to be, but now having manufactured and in possession of such an optical giant, and a first class webcam provided most generously by IQinVision, I needed a place to install them. David & Graham were most enthusiastic and sponsored the project, putting me and my young family up at the Hotel for the duration of the installation process (and several other subsequent visits), paying for IT Engineer extraordinaire Gareth Hill to assist, and for the internet provider. Most generous indeed. The camera ran flawlessly for several years, but the Hotel closed last year and the camera went off line. The new Proprietor, Hugh Jones, is proving to be generous as well, having put me up in the Hotel in the Spring of ’09 to attempt to get the camera back online. Unfortunately their new digital switch board has some bugs and I was unable to achieve my aims before I departed to join Ellen Harvey in Gent for a Claude Mirror Tour of Citadel Park. Mr Jones assures me it is only a matter of time before the webcam is back online. We all await its return. I miss my daily view of Tintern Abbey.

Below are some installation shots of the Claude mirror and webcam in the front garden of the Hotel. You will find the Manager, Ashley Maskell, and all his Staff most welcoming, the food and service very fine, and the view spectacular.

Alex MckAy

Installed May 2006