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The Avon Gorge from the Summit of the Observatory, Clifton

Photo credit: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

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This view of the dramatic approach to Bristol's port would have been seen every day by the artist and his family, for they lived in the Observatory on Clifton Down. William West had converted a ruined windmill into a home and installed telescopes and then a camera obscura in the tower. He was an energetic and engaging man whose interests included engineering, optics, the new art of photography and astronomy. This is one of his most atmospheric paintings, capturing the rapidly changing effects of light and shade in squally weather.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery



The Avon Gorge from the Summit of the Observatory, Clifton




oil on canvas


H 68.5 x W 91 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Alfred Capper Pass, 1904

Work type



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Normally on display at

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

Queens Road, Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RL England

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