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Pott 1782
Pott 1782
Joseph Holden Pott
An Essay on Landscape Painting with Remarks General and Critical, on the Different Schools and Masters, Ancient or Modern
J. Johnson, 72, St Paul's Churchyard
London, UK
Primary published
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Vet.A5 e.6558
PLEASE NOTE: THIS ENTRY IS CURRENTLY UNDER REVISION. 104 pp., unillustrated. Published anonymously in 1782, the year of Wilson's death. The author is believed to have been Joseph Holden Pott (1759-1847) at the time of writing a young Cambridge graduate, later Archdeacon of St Albans and then of London. The work comments on P90 Niobe and P162 Cicero at his Villa on pp. 28-30. Wilson is listed among the most eminent landscape painters of Britain along with Lambert, Gainsborough, Barret, Marlow, Wright of Derby (p. 65) and de Loutherburg (pp. 77-78). He is described as 'a painter of great science' to whom 'the finest effects of nature are familiar' and other more general comments are made about him, though he is given no credit for his British landscapes (pp. 67-69).
Noteworthy extracts from the text: One of the grandest scenes Mr. Wilson has painted, represents a landstorm, in which is introduced the figure of Niobe, from which it is impossible for the eye to escape, as it contains many figures, all in action, and a huge Apollo in the middle of the sky. Mr. Wilson's known and approved powers in landscape, would lead one to think, that he also meant these figures should be subordinate. Zucarelli has been more happy in placing the incantation of the witches before Macbeth in a landstorm, in a celebrated picture by him, as the fury of the elements is so proper on this occasion, and assists the effect of the story so well. However, I believe the chief cause of the fine effect of this picture is, that the story is evidently principal in the composition, the proportion the figures bear to the landscape, and their situation in the front line indicate this. In another beautiful picture of Mr. Wilson's representing Cicero at his villa, the objections before mentioned do not take place; the figures there are highly proper, and give a wonderful meaning to the whole scene. [pp. 28-30] Wilson has established a name of higher importance [than Lambert]; he is a painter of great science; the finest effects of nature are familiar ro him. No one ever understood the aerial perspective better than he, not even Claude; in this respect his merit is unrivalled. His scenes are rich and grand, the parts extremely simple, which contribute greatly to their effect; his foregrounds, however, generally want force, and his colour is often too mealy and indeterminate. Perhaps, if he had condescended to pay a little more attention in making out the parts of his pictures, he would not have thought historical incidents so necessary to them; for without doubt, the less a landscape is finished, the more it will require something of that kind; and the very converse of this position I believe is as true. [pp. 67-69]