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The Thames near Marble Hill, Twickenham
Tate, London 2014
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Thames near Marble Hill, Twickenham
c.1762 (undated)
Oil on canvas
46.4 x 73 cm
18 1/4 x 28 3/4 in.
This tranquil view shows a stretch of the Thames seen from the right (south) bank of the river upstream from Richmond towards Eel Pie Island. The pediment and part of the facade of the Palladian-style villa, Marble Hill House, can be seen through the trees on the right.
BI 1814 (200/204 - Small landscape, lent John Knight, Esq.); Manchester 1857 (Modern Masters, 37 - View on the Thames near Marble Hill); BI 1866 (148); Birmingham 1948-49 (37); London 1949 (36); Hamburg 1949-50 (116)
John Knight, sold Christie's 24 March 1819 (152, A Small Landscape); William Beckford; sold Fonthill sale, 26th Day, 14 October 1823 (243); Duke of Newcastle, Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, passed to Earl of Lincoln; sold Christie's 4 June 1937 (124, repr. sale catalogue), purchased by National Gallery; transferred to Tate Gallery 1955
Signed in monogram lower left centre: RW [monogram, the R reversed]
Drying oil on primed and stretched canvas (linen); coarse weave. A large style in a small picture. Beautiful details include the figures, swans and fence.
[1] Stamp upper horizontal member of stretcher: 592GK
From stretcher:
[1] His Grace the Duke of Newcastle [C19 script];
[2] Bity of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. R. Wilson [/] The THames at Twickenham [/] lent by the National Gallery, London [/] 37 [K. Garlick's handwriting];
[3] British Council Fine Arts Department [/] Scandinavia 1949-50 British Painting 1949-50, no. 116
The region had come to acquire an elevated cultural status by the third quarter of the 18th century, notably from the presence and publications of Alexander Pope, who made Twickenham his home from 1719 until his death in 1744. Later Sir Joshua Reynolds was amongst those who lived in the area. With its echoes of his beloved Italy, it proved a popular subject for Wilson, who painted several versions of this view. His view is selective, however, since it omits the busy river traffic and neighbouring houses.
E72/31 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, On the Thames, The British Museum (1854,0708.88)
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Peter Tillemans (c. 1684-1734), View of the Thames at Twickenham, c. 1720-25, Richmond upon Thames Borough Art Collection, Orleans House, London
This painting is cooler in tone with a more liberal use of cool green and blue-green than P89, the Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery version. The large number of versions confirms this as one of Wilson's most popular English subjects.
Catalogue 1814, p. 22; Waagen 1857, p. 511 - 'A landscape with a piece of water. Very attractive'; Davies 1946, pp. 179-80, cat. 4874; Davies 1959, pp. 106-107; WGC p. 187 under pl. 57a; Solkin 2015, pp. 213-14
Marble Hill House was built for Henrietta Howard, mistress of King George II and was later occupied by Mrs Fitzherbert, mistress and morganatic wife of King George IV. As a Palladian villa the house could claim kinship to both the great Palladio and the architectural heritage of ancient Rome. The Thames at Twickenham ahd attracted painters from the 1720s, largely on account of the villa there belonging to Alexander Pope who lived there from 1719 until his death in 1744.
Dimensions in frame: 62.5 x 89.5 x 8.5 cm. Drying cracks in the sky have been retouched and there may be something underneath. Kate Lowry has noted:
Reserve around foliage against the sky at right. Old drying cracks in the sky have been retouched and these have blanched slightly.