These large and impressive watercolours are a record of 40 Maya structures and sculptures in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras, complete with a watercolour map bringing the set to 41 paintings in all. The works were produced from drawings, studies and measurements made at the sites in 1982 and 1984. They cover the wide range of architectural styles found in the Classic and Postclassic periods of Maya culture. The artist first visited the area in 1970 and the last picture was finished in 1986.

In undertaking the work, the artist was aware of an illustrious predecessor, Frederick Catherwood, who produced splendid drawings from his travels in the area with John Lloyd Stephens from 1839. Although his work was fortunately reproduced by lithography, the originals were destroyed in a warehouse fire in New York later in the 19th century. Nearly 150 years apart, both Catherwood and Hughes attended the Royal Academy Schools in London.

The first exhibition of Nigel Hughes’s Maya Monuments was at the National Arts Club in New York in 1987, under the curatorship of Dr Mary Miller (author of THE ART OF MESOAMERICA – Thames & Hudson 1986). The exhibition was sponsored by Aer Lingus. In 1988 they were shown for 2 months at the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City, under the aegis of the British Council and the Mexican Secretariat of Education, with KLM-Royal Dutch Airlines as sponsor. In Britain they were first shown at Winchester College in 1991, and later (July 2000) the Mexican Ambassador opened an exhibition of them at Canning House in London.

In Mexico particularly, there was a favourable press reception, commentaries including a great deal in support of conservation measures, in the tropical forest environment as well as of the ancient structures. The International Biosphere Reserve of Calakmul was declared by the President in 1989, a matter strongly advocated at press conferences by the artist.

The pictures have all been reproduced in a book (MAYA MONUMENTS, text and illustrations by Nigel Hughes, published in 2000 by Antique Collectors’ Club of Woodbridge, England, and New York).

All are framed, behind glass, using conservation-quality backing boards and mounts. Sight sizes of the actual pictures are included in the captions in inches and [mm].

Sale of paintings

The paintings are now to be made available for sale. Although the artist originally hoped that they would remain together as a set, the pragmatic approach favoured by the family is that they should be made available individually; hoping first and foremost, as with all of Nigel’s work, for them to be seen and enjoyed.

The price for each painting is £1,500 (pounds sterling) (price on application for the collection in its entirety, or multiple pictures).