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A View in the Villa Chigi at Ariccia (Sandpit and Ruins in Glade)
Faringdon Collection Trust, Buscot Park, National Trust
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
A View in the Villa Chigi at Ariccia (Sandpit and Ruins in Glade)
By 5 June 1770 (undated)
Oil on canvas
70.5 x 97.5 cm
27 3/4 x 38 3/8 in.
18
P171
In the left foreground, there is a ruin with a flight of steps partly hidden by trees, with a clump of trees to the right. In a clearing in the centre are three figures by a ruined archway near a sandpit, with trees on higher ground beyond.
Probably BI 1814 (127/130 A Woody Scene or 144/147 Landscape); probably BI 1848 (131 or 139 both View in Wales); Manchester 1857 (Modern Masters, 151 View in Wales or 162 Welch Landscape); Arts Council, Masterpieces from Welsh Houses, 1946 (13)
Bt from the artist by Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, 4th Baronet; by descent to Lt-Col. Owen Williams-Wynn, Baronet, Dolben (1953); Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, Sotheby's 7 July 1965 (122), bt Lord Faringdon, Buscot Park
Unsigned; no inscription
Located between the lakes of Nemi and Albano on the Via Appia Nuova, southeast of Rome, Ariccia was celebrated for its groves, thought to have been the hunting-grounds of the ancient Roman goddess Diana. In the 17th century the area had been a haunt of Wilson's exemplar, Gaspard Dughet.
Pendant P170 Sandpit in a Glade, Private Collection, England
Probably one of 'two small views in Wales' mentioned by Benjamin Booth in Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn's house in St James's Square, London. Constable noted Waterhouse's description of the work as 'an attempt at native variation on a theme popular in Dutch painting - a patch of sunlight in a deep woodland glade. But Wilson carelessly painted it over a landscape - perhaps with Italian ruins which he did not trouble fully to eliminate.'
Invoice from Wilson 5 June 1770, National Library of Wales, Box 115; Booth Notes Doc. 4; Waterhouse 1946, p. 227; WGC, pp. 47, 88, 84, pl. 53b; Constable 1954, p. 140; The Faringdon Collection, Buscot Park, 1975, p. 11, no. 18
A document among the Wynnstay papers in Wilson's hand is headed Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn Baronet to Richd. Wilson Dr. June 5th 1770. It contains two entries that seem to refer to this painting and P91: 'To a Landskip taken in the Villa Ghigi at Lariccia £26:6:0' and 'Its Companion £26:6:0'
Kate Lowry has noted the following:
Simple weave original canvas, even texture. Glue-relined possibly in the 1960's when sold (probably between the sales of 1946 and 1965). Original turnovers removed at time of lining. Five member pine stretcher dates from the lining treatment. Ground colour is pale pink and just visible at the edges of the sky paint where the tree foliage begins at the right side of the composition. Mid and foreground darks are underpainted with a warm brown.
Under UV light widespread minor retouches visible overall in dark tones, and underlying the present varnish coating. In normal light the rather mechanically applied dark dots representing foliage in bushes at centre left also appear to be retouches rather than original paint. A large matt patch of fill and retouch just to left of centre in foreground possibly indicates an old repaired damage to the canvas. Upper left sky is quite a dark grey and this may also be later overpaint. A small area of lifting paint in the centre of the painting above and to the right of the distant birds has two tiny, associated paint losses.