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The Keep of Okehampton Castle (Landscape with Ruined Castle overlooking a River) (Welsh Landscape with a Ruined Castle)
Manchester City Galleries
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Keep of Okehampton Castle (Landscape with Ruined Castle overlooking a River) (Welsh Landscape with a Ruined Castle)
c.1771-72 (undated)
Oil on canvas
169.5 x 163.5 cm
66 3/4 x 64 3/8 in.
1903.5
P174
Landscape scene looking across a fast-running river towards the ruins of Okehampton Castle in Devon on a hillside amongst dense green trees. A single figure stands on the left bank of the river, looking out across the water. A rocky outcrop is visible in the foreground and in the distance are hills and trees beneath a hazy sky.
Bangor 1925; London 1925 (61 - Landscape with Ruins); Manchester 1925 (58 - Landscaope with Ruins); Manchester, British Art, 1934; Hull 1936 (39); London, Cardiff and New Haven 1982-83 (134)
Painted together with P175 Lydford Waterfall, Tavistock for William 2nd Viscount Courtenay (1742-1788), probably in 1771; 3rd Viscount Courtenay, sold Christie's 27 April 1816 (80 - Wilson. A Grand Landscape, picturesque view of the Remains of Okehampton Castle, the Park and River, painted with the usual warmth and spirit that distinguish the finer performances of this great Landscape Painter, and in his best style of colouring); Thomas Agnew & Sons; sold Christie's, 15 June 1901 (80), bt Agnew; sold 1903 to Manchester Art Gallery
Solkin emphasised the consistently sober palette in both P174 and P175, stressing deep greens and browns, with little in the way of extraneous or reflected colour in the foliage and land masses.
Solkin has noted that Okehampton Castle had belonged to the Courtenays, titular earls of Devon, for several centuries, though at some point prior to 1769 it had passed out of the family's possession.
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Pendant: P175 Lydford Waterfall, Tavistock, National Museum Wales, Cardiff (NMW A 63)
This is one of a pair of Devon views, the other being P175 Lydford Waterfall, Tavistock. Both were painted for the 2nd Viscount Courtenay of Powderham Castle, Devon in or just after 1771. The title, pairing and identification of the patron were based by David Solkin on evidence in Memorandum Book of Richd. Wilson R.A., Victoria & Albert Museum (P.94-1921), ff. 1-6. Solkin also observed that P174 and P175 both correspond precisely in handling to what might be expected from this point in Wilson's career, having stylistic affinities to his contemporary Wynnstay views (P165 & P166). He also drew attention to the indebtedness of both Devon scenes to Jacob van Ruisdael and 17th century Dutch landscapes, notably in their particularity, as well as pointing to their pre-Romantic emotive appeal as portrayals of the Picturesque (castle) and Sublime (cataract).
WGC, p. 184, pl. 52a; Solkin 1982, pp. 239-41; Manchester City Art Gallery, Concise Catalogue of British Paintings, vol 1, 1976