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Bourne Park, Kent (Bourne Park, near Canterbury)
Private Collection, England / Photograph by Matthew Hollow
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Bourne Park, Kent (Bourne Park, near Canterbury)
c.1757-58 (undated)
Oil on canvas
102.6 x 154 cm (sight size)
40 3/8 x 60 5/8 in. (sight size)
Private Collection, England
P73
The house is seen from the east side. The steps to the entrance no longer exist and were probably removed when the house was restored in 1848.
London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (80)
Commissioned by Stephen Beckingham; Lt-Col. Matthew G.E. Bell, Bourne Park, Bishopsbourne, near Canterbury, Kent; with Knoedler New York, 1929; Sir George Edward Leon, 2nd Bart (1875-1947), Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire; with Arthur Tooth, London by 1951; Kenneth Lindsey; thence by descent; Christie's London, 9 December 2016 (160).
Signed lower right: R.W.
Areas of pale pink underpaint are visible behind the foliage of the right hand tree. The roads and sheep in the background are individualised but approximate and indistinct. Parallel rays of diagonal sunlight descend from the cloud in the centre, drawing attention to the house below. The trees themselves are rather two-dimensional. There is a pentiment in the fork of the left tree. David Solkin has noted that the overlapping of foliage in green and rust-coloured screens, the extensive application of very small and precise brushstrokes throughout a smoothly polished foreground and the use of a range of blues and blue-greys to give a complex modelling to the sky, are all techniques specific to Wilson in the late 1750s.
Originally called Bourne Place, Bourne Park lies six miles south of Canterbury next to the Little Stour river. The present house was built by Sir Anthony and Dame Elizabeth Aucher in 1701 on the site of an older building, originally owned by the Bourne family. On the death of Sir Hewitt Aucher in 1726 the house passed to his eldest sister, Elizabeth, who married a Dr Corbett. Their eldest daughter married Stephen Beckingham, one of Wilson's most important early patrons, who commissioned this picture. However, after the death in 1756 of Beckingham's father, Stephen Beckingham the Elder, the house was let periodically to various tenants, including Horace Mann, nephew of the diplomat, Sir Horace Mann.
George Lambert, Copped Hall Essex, 1746, Tate, London
Despite the date given by Constable, which he failed to find and which is now invisible, David Solkin has proposed this painting as one of the first oils that Wilson painted after his return from Italy, basing his argument on patronage and style. While building on the native tradition of estate portraiture, the work combines the stylistic influence of Gaspar Dughet with Dutch panoramic landscape. This basic formula was to be refined and developed over the following decade in such works as P80 Wilton House from Temple Copse, Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House.
H. Avray Tipping, 'Bourne Park Kent: The Seat of Lieut.-Col. Matthew Bell', Country Life, 6 May 1922, pp. 602-607 & 13 May 1922, pp. 636-644, repr. p. 637, fig. 2; WGC, pp. 44, 74, 95, 119, 173, pl. 31c (as dated R.W. 74); Solkin 1982, pp. 194-95
In July 1765 the eight-year-old Mozart and his family stayed for a month at Bourne Park to break their journey between London and Dover.
Kate Lowry has noted: Medium weight canvas, simple weave. Relined, probably with glue paste adhesive. A pale pink underpaint or ground visible in sky around the foliage and branches of the right hand tree. Foreground underpainted a warm brown tone. Blue of sky appears to be Prussian blue rather than ultramarine. Dark green foliage of left hand tree contrasts with the lighter yellow brown of right hand tree. There are some dark shadows around the branches of the left hand tree which appear to be pentimenti. Perspective of the house in the background is not very convincing, but the figures of the seated artist and his companion standing next to him are good. The flash of light reflected off the right hand trunk of the main tree and the sunlight breaking though the clouds in the background lend a little drama to the scene. Generally in good condition. Strong mature crackle pattern in centre sky. No drying crackle.
24/11/2016