Abbey

Abbey

[ab-ee]
Abbey, Edwin Austin, 1852-1911, American illustrator and painter, b. Philadelphia, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Employed by Harper & Brothers, he was sent to England, where he gathered materials for his illustration of Herrick's poems and other works. His illustration of Shakespeare is usually considered his best work. The Quest of the Holy Grail (a series of wall panels in the Boston Public Library) is perhaps his most famous painting. He was official painter of the coronation of Edward VII.
abbey, monastic house, especially among Benedictines and Cistercians, consisting of not less than 12 monks or nuns ruled by an abbot or abbess. Many abbeys were originally self-supporting. In the Benedictine expansion after the 8th cent., abbeys were often important centers of learning and peaceful arts and, like Fulda, were sometimes the nuclei of future towns. The buildings surround a church and include a dormitory, refectory, and guest house, all surrounded by a wall. The courtyard, derived from the Roman atrium, was a usual feature, as was the cloister or arcade surrounding the court. Cluniac abbeys were always ornate, Cistercian ones notably bare. The Carthusians with their special polity developed an altogether different structure called the charterhouse.
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