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Syon House from Richmond Gardens - I
Old Westbury Gardens, New York
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Syon House from Richmond Gardens - I
Oil on canvas
93.9 x 139.7 cm
37 x 55 in.
London, Grafton Galleries, Bond Street, Selection from the Collection of the late James Staats Forbes, including a few works by Corot, Daubigny, Diaz, Millet, Israels, Mauve, Maris, and other artists, May 1905
Novar Collection, 1878; Mieville Collection; Christie's 29 April 1899 (21); James Staats Forbes (1823-1904); 1906 bt John S. Phipps; by descent
Syon House, situated on the banks of the Thames near Brentford, had been in the possession of the Percy family since 1604. The Earl of Northumberland (created duke in October 1766) embarked on a scheme of fitting up the apartments in the grandest classical manner in 1762. This refurbishment, not fully realised, took seven years during which time the park surrounding the house was refashioned by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Robert Adam's designs for the remodelling of the interior were published as vol. 1 of his Works in Architecture in 1773. However, there is no evidence of any ducal patronage of Wilson and this scene was probably intended as generic rather than as the portrait of a private estate.
E72/13 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Sion Park and House on Thames from Richmond Gardens, The British Museum (1854,0708.70) and other impressions
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[1] George Lambert View of Copped Hall in Essex, from the Park, 1746, Tate, London
[2] Antonio Canaletto, Syon House, 1749, Northumberland Collection
[3] Thomas Hastings, One of the Great Ponds between Hampstead and Highgate, London, looking towards the Surrey Hills, 1831, Bank of England, London (1141)
Wilson produced a number of views of country houses following his return to England from Italy on 1757. Here however he has expressed the classical connotations of the area in pictorial terms by using a compositional formula plus a warm sunset colouring, which overtly recall the works of Claude Lorrain.
A. Aymonino, 'The Cult of Antiquity', Country Life, vol. 209, no. 4, 21 January 2015, pp. 38-47
One of the versions of this subject was singled out by Hazlitt for special praise: 'We consider this landscape ... as one of the most striking proofs of Wilson's genius, as it conveys not only the image, but the feeling, of nature and excites a new interest unborrowed from the eye, like the fine glow of a summer's day.' (Criticisms on Art, 1856, p. 186).