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, striking colours and symbolism in his pictures, Town has built a vibrant portfolio. Born in Bethnal Green, he grew up in Liverpool and was later educated at Bath Academy of Art and the Royal College of Art. Taking advantage of his ability to communicate ideas visually, he went on to enjoy a successful career as a designer while he continued to paint and develop his artistic style through drawing, painting, photography, and printmaking. While many of Town’s paintings use strong shapes and primary colours, such as the Stairscapes series, others are quieter and more contemplative, representing a more tranquil inner space. His Abstracts series features works where the narrative is more ambiguous but ever-present. He sees landscapes, interior spaces and natural forms as abstract shapes and colours, transcribing these in his unique style onto paper and canvas.