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Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon
Collection of the Bermuda National Gallery and the Government of Bermuda: The Hon. Herward T. Watlington Bequest
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Classical Landscape with Diana and Actaeon
c.1755-57 (undated)
Oil on canvas
40 1/2 x 54 in.
P63A
Diana and the nymphs are seen in the centre foreground and on the left is Actaeon in the form of a stag, head back with antlers to the right, pursued by his hounds. A relief of Leda and the Swan is on the architectural fragment, lower left. A small female figure, perhaps Callisto attempting to hide, is clinging to the branch in the water to the right. Diana wears the crescent moon on her head to symbolise her role as moon-goddess. In the distance are classical ruins and in the middle ground a block-like cliff or ruin, with a shadow of trees falling upon it.
SBA 1832 (74, lent Northwick); Leggatt 1951 (33 - Classical Landscape)
John Rushout, 2nd Lord Northwick (1769-1859), Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham; sold Phillips at Thirlestaine House, 12 August 1859 (1196 Campagna di Roma with the Story of Diana and Actaeon), bt J. Daubeney; the Revd Benjamin Gibbons, Cheltenham; c.1925 Major W.H.S. Alston, London; with Leggatt; with Buttery; the Hon. Hereward Watlington (1902-89), Woodside, Devon; bequeathed to the Government of Bermuda 1989; on loan to the Bermuda National Gallery
Diana was bathing with three of her maidens when she noticed the hunter Actaeon spying on them from behind the trees. Outraged, the goddess of chastity and hunting turned him into a stag and his own hounds tore him to pieces.
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Pendant: P127C Diana and Callisto, Lady Lever Art Gallery, National Museums, Liverpool
As noted by Constable, the present work differs slightly from P63, Private Collection, England, in the shapes of the trees and ruined castle and in the foliage, which is more elaborate, suggesting a later date.
Probably Waagen 1854, III, p. 211: 'A large and very rich landscape, in the taste of Claude; in front girls bathing'; WGC, p. 160 under pl. 17a