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A View on the River Po near Ferrara (Figures by a Waterfall)
Courtesy of the President and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
A View on the River Po near Ferrara (Figures by a Waterfall)
c.1776
Oil on canvas
Circular 24.1 cm diameter
Circular 9 1/2 in. diameter
P0809
P197A
Col. R.H.R. Brocklebank; bequeathed by Col. Brocklebank to Magdalen College 1965
Unsigned, undated, no inscription recto
The shadow of the white house (upper left) is painted uncharacteristically. The impasto is rather dry and splodgy throughout. The log in the foreground and the tree to the left of the figures are two-dimensional. Much of the foliage is over-generalised.
[1] Inscribed on the crossbar of the stretcher: Richard Wilson purchased at Mrs Cartwright's sale Bewdley [?] [/] in whose possession it had been 40 years.
Constable noted that the locality of the view is uncertain. If the river is the Po, the surrounding country is quite unlike that near Ferrara or along the greater part of the Po valley. There is no evidence that Wilson ever went to Turin or nearer the source of the river, where there are hills.
At least six painted versions are known, plus two drawings. They may be based on the composition of two paintings by Gaspard Dughet.
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The title of all the versions derives from the inscription on the back of P197 (Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford)