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Wilton House from the South East (Wilton House, South East View across the River Nadder)
Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts.
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Wilton House from the South East (Wilton House, South East View across the River Nadder)
c.1758-60 (undated)
Oil on canvas
33.5 x 52.7 cm
13 1/4 x 20 3/4 in.
84
P76B
On a warm summer evening Wilton House and the Palladian Bridge are seen in the middle distance across the River Nadder. By the river bank in the foreground is a group of three figures, one of whom is drawing.
London 1949 (not in catalogue); London 1998-99 (34)
Commissioned by Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke, 1758-60; formerly at Mount Merrrion, near Dublin; acquisition unrecorded at Wilton
Unsigned; no inscription
There is some evidence of a different ground at the top of the picture, suggesting that the canvas may have been re-used from an earlier composition.
[1] Title label on frame, centre
[2] Small label lower left: 192
Wilton House, standing at the junction of the rivers Nadder and Wiley, was designed to the commission of the 4th Earl of Pembroke by John Webb, son-in-law of Inigo Jones. It was severely damaged by fire in 1647 or 1648 and the great Palladian south front, designed by Isaac de Caus (perhaps with some assistance from Jones), was rebuilt. The house was completed by 1656. The Palladian Bridge, visible at the water's extremity, was built in 1737 by Henry the 9th Earl with the help of Roger Morris. In the 18th century the house was one of the most popular on the tour circuit because of its romantic picturesque setting and its great art collection. Two of the major attractions were the richly decorated 'Single Cube' and 'Double Cube' rooms, the latter hung with portraits by Van Dyck. In 1758, 2,324 people came to see the house and only Stowe and Blenheim could boast more visitors. Wilton provided inspiration for at least three Georgian houses - Houghton, Hagley and Croome.
D352 Wilton House from the South East, Leeds Museums and Galleries
W. Watts, Seats of the Nobility and Gentry, published 20 May 1786, pl. LXXXII
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An oil-sketch, very freely painted and probably preparatory to P76 (also in the collection at Wilton House), from which it differs mainly in the left foreground trees and in omitting the figures at the left and the parasol held by the central figure. Such preliminary oil-sketches are unusual in Wilson's output. The building at left behind the island may be a boat house and the brown shape in front of it was perhaps intended as a cow standing in the water. The lighting of the evening sky is fresh, with beautiful impasto edging to the clouds.
N.R. Wilkinson, Wilton House Pictures, 1907, vol. 2, pp. 361-62, cat. 192; WGC, pp. 87-88, 189, pl. 58b, version 1; S. Pembroke, A Catalogue of the Paintings and Drawings in the Collection at Wilton House, Salisbury, Wiltshire, 1968, p. 35, cat. 84
Wilton House, Wiltshire, England
The clock tower at the right of the building no longer exists in that form.
Unglazed. Cleaned in 1935. Relined 2006 by Richard Watkiss and restored by Simon Foulkes. Much of the paint was flattened in the relining, especially the dark band at the bottom, which also shows extensive cracking.
Kate Lowry has noted: Current stretcher size: 335 mm x 527 mm. Not signed or dated. Oil on canvas, glue relined and stretched onto a new stretcher, probably in 20th century. Old stretcher bars were 40 mm wide, judging by the stretcher bar crack towards top edge, whereas current ones are 60 mm. Original turnover missing at top edge and included in the composition down right hand edge. Where canvas edge has been cut along top turnover dark paint is visible beneath the blue of the sky suggesting it was painted over an earlier composition. Elsewhere ground appears to be pale grey. Edges of cloud masses have strong impasto. It has all the hallmarks of Wilson's style in the rendering of the buildings, tree foliage and figures. Extensive drying crackle in darks of foreground. In sound condition and recently cleaned. This is probably a preparatory oil sketch for the final full-size version of the same composition. It was previously hanging at Mount Merrion, another of the Earl of Pembroke's houses. In the sketch the lady is not carrying a parasol and there are no fishermen to the left on the riverbank. It depicts the same warm evening light as the large version. The shapes of the tree trunks at the left of the sketch are reproduced quite closely in another of the large works at Wilton House: P80 South View from Temple Copse.