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River, Sea-Coast and circular Ruin ('Morning')
The Trustees of the British Museum
William Pengree Sherlock after Wilson
River, Sea-Coast and circular Ruin ('Morning')
c.1800-1820
Lithograph on chine collé
184 x 254 mm
7 1/4 x 10 in.
1873,0809.1415
E64
A classical landscape, with a man and two women conversing by a lake or river on a high bank near an open sarcophagus with antique medallion motif in the left foreground. To the right are two arches of a ruined bridge with a ruined circular building above and behind. A carefully observed Italian building with campanile appears among trees to the left before a mountain in the distance.
Bought from Mary Jane Deeson, 40 Ebury Street, Pimlico, 1873
Lettered below the image: 'IN THE COLLECTION OF W. LEADER, ESQR. M.P.' and production detail: 'Richd. Wilson R.A. Pinxt', 'W. P. Sherlock Fecit'
Numbered lower centre: 4
The exact location of the view has been much debated but the scene is almost certainly a capriccio centred on the so-called Temple of Venus at Baia near Naples (see Critical commentary below). The marble sarcophagus in the foreground is very much an invention of Wilson's and cannot be considered conventional in form, with its square shape, flat open top and oval decoration.
D271 Bay of Baiae - Temple of Venus, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
E72/14 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Temple of Venus with Part of the Bay of Baiae, The British Museum (1854,0708.71) and other impressions
E72/40 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Landscape (River, Sea Coast and circular Ruin), The British Museum
E73 Samuel Reynolds after Wilson, Morning, The British Museum (1879,0614.334) and other impressions
P92 An Italian Landscape (Morning) Classical Landscape, Private Collection, England
P92A River, Sea Coast and circular Ruin, Private Collection, England
P92B An Italian Landscape, Morning, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
The composition has been known under several titles, notably The Temple of Venus at Baiae but at first sight the temple does not seem to be the same building as in D271 or in the famous Turner painting of the Bay of Baiae in Tate, London (N00505). However, Robin Simon has recently observed that the building is in fact the same (actually baths rather than a temple) but seen from the opposite side, revealing the ruined open aspect of the structure. He further has identified the landscape in the middle distance as resembling the view looking out from the Bay of Pozzuoli and the town of Baia towards Naples - an area much favoured by Wilson.
Wilson and Europe 2014, p. 283
13/09/2017