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The White Monk (Untitled)
The Trustees of the British Museum
James Roberts (1725-1799) after Wilson
The White Monk (Untitled)
Published 25 August 1765
Etching and engraving
344 x 415 mm
13 1/2 x 16 5/16 in.
1872,0511.391
E17
Landscape with two monks or friars praying before a wayside cross on the rocks in the middle right distance before a lurid sky.In the left foreground two women sit beneath trees, one turning to look at a figure passing on horseback in the centre. A town can be seen across the lake or river, with mountains beyond.
1872 Purchased from George Love (1804-1883), 81 Bunhill Row, Finsbury, London, as part of a group 428 prints
Lettered below image with title, production detail: 'Richd. Wilson pinxt', 'Jas. Roberts Sculpt' and publication line: 'Publish'd according to Act of Parliament by J. Boydell, Engraver in Cheapside, London, Augt. 25. 1765'; numbered 'No. 4' in lower left hand corner
The subject and thence the meaning remain open to multiple interpretations. Solkin memorably explained its attraction as a moral landscape by an emblematic interpretation of the Platonic philosophical concept of concordia discors, or the harmonious union of opposing elements, where 'the chaotic multiplicity of nature has yielded to the ordering hand of art.' (Solkin 1982, p. 66). He saw the inclusion of monks on the promontory as reassurance of a world anchored in divinely ordained harmony and reinforcing the moral certitude and authority of the patrician class who patronised the artist.
E68 Anonymous after Wilson, The White Monk (Stafford Gallery), The British Museum
E70 Samuel Middiman after Wilson,The White Monk (Untitled), The British Museum
E72/22 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, The White Monk, The British Museum
P146 Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782), The White Monk - III, Private Collection
Booth Notes Doc. 7 [?];