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Studies and Designs done in Rome in the Year 1752, p. 78
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Studies and Designs done in Rome in the Year 1752, p. 78
Black chalk on white paper
188 x 130 mm (volume: 203 x 143 mm)
8 x 5 5/8 in.
View looking up a steep narrow staircase with figures on the steps, including two at the bottom in the foreground, with an archway and more steps seen to the right
Bt about 1922 from Miss Alice J. Bowles
Inscribed in ink in archway, lower right: 'Entrance of | Herculanion'
E60/38 John Whessell Studies & Designs: Entrance at Herculanium, The British Museum
Wilson's commitment to landscape made soon after his arrival in Rome in late 1751 initiated a sustained burst of activity as a draughtsman which was to gain momentum over the next few years. One major piece of evidence for the seriousness with which he took his new career is provided by the pages of this surviving sketchbook from 1752. Although it contains a number of rapid sketches from nature and the antique, most of its leaves are filled with imaginary essays in landscape design, usually incorporating classical themes such as antique ruins but presented in a rococo manner, 'using lazy curving forms and often capricious combinations of architectural motifs in a way that still recalls the works of Zuccarelli. From this time onwards, however, Wilson slowly but surely abandoned this fantastic notion of landscape art in favour of focusing his attention on the outside world. (Solkin 1982, p. 152)
Sutton & Clements 1968, vol. 2, p. 15, fig. 16; Solkin 1982, pp. 152, 157
Only two sketchbooks by Wilson have survived - the present one (D53-D53/81) and D280-D280/33 Italian Sketchbook - Drawings, 1754, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection