14th century hill top town in Campania

# ancientstructures – spiritual presence

The roots of this ancient town reach down into the Palaeolithic age and its sleepy atmosphere helps time stand still. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the sea in the Cilento region of southern Italy, the small town is centred around the Angel’s Castle, built in the 12th century by the abbot Saint Costabile Gentilcore, who gave the place its name – from the latin ’Castrum abbatis’, ‘the castle of the abbot’. An ancient bell still tolls on the quarter hour, which, together with the chirping of birds, provides the only disturbance to the peace in this enchanting place.

Several strands come together in Castellabate; the geometry of its alleys, archways, openings and steps lead on to abstract manifestations in other works. Stairs and steps are always an enticing subject for me, not knowing who or what might be above or below, and in the case of Castellabate they suggest the possibility of an encounter with a medieval poet, a toga-clad Roman, or a Neolithic hunter returning home. The spiritual presence of countless generations stretching back to the dawn of civilisation is a rich ingredient in this mythological mix, which forms the inspiration behind my work here.

hillside town has a maze of alleyways
This lovely hillside town has a maze of alleyways that invite explorers [Cat: 0075, Castellabate Alley # 2, 12 x 16” / 30 x 40 cm, Watercolour on board, 2000]


Peter Town is a born storyteller gifted with an ability to translate both everyday quirks and deeper philosophical musing through his work. Often using strong lines, vibrant colours and symbolism in his pictures, Town has combined a long and successful career as a designer and entrepreneur with a vibrant artist portfolio. Many of Town’s paintings use strong shapes and primary colours, such as the Stairs series, whilst others are quieter and more contemplative as they represent a more tranquil inner space. His abstract series of prints and paintings represent works where the narrative is more ambiguous but ever-present. He sees landscapes, interior spaces and natural forms as abstract shapes and colours and transcribes these onto canvas. Having studied at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham in the era when Michael Craig-Martin, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Jim Dine wielded their influence, Town went on to the Royal College of Art. Taking advantage of his brilliance for being able to communicate ideas through illustration, Town went on to have a hugely successful career over four decades as a designer. Throughout, he has continued to paint and to develop his artistic style through drawings, acrylics, photography, and printmaking.