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Moor Park, Distant View towards Cassiobury
From the Collection of the Marquess of Zetland, Photo by Jerry Hardyman-Jones
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Moor Park, Distant View towards Cassiobury
c.1765-67 (undated)
Oil on canvas
147.6 x 184.3 cm
58 1/8 x 72 9/16 in.
Private Collection, England
The view is northeast, with Watford visible in the right distance and the church of St Mary appearing prominently. Cassiobury belonged to the Earl of Essex until it was demolished in 1927. It seems to be the focus of attention for the artist sketching beneath the tree and his companion. To their right and partly in their shadow is what appears to be a blank canvas, though its exact status is equivocal as it is too big to be for drawing, yet there are no painters' materials apparent. The time is evening. In the foreground are ruins of classical architecture, including an Ionic capital based on a drawing D228 Ionic Capitals, Private Collection, England.
SA 1767 (184 - View of Moor Park towards Cassiobury, Watford and St Albans); BI 1814 (73/76 or 85/88) both described as View from Moor Park, Hertfordshire); BI 1865 (144); Birmingham 1948-49 (65); London 1949 (64)
Painted for Sir Lawrence Dundas; thence by descent
Unsigned; no inscription
The surface is busy. There are pentimenti behind both the male and female standing figures and to the right of the child's outstretched hand. A pupil's handling may be discerned in the broad, vague handling of the tree and its foliage to the right. The sky has a pink ground.
Pencil inscription on stretcher: 130
The frame is inscribed in black in upper centre: 160
[1] Birmingham 1948 label verso upper left: 65
[2] Tate 1949 label verso upper left: 64
D228 Ionic Capitals, Private Collection, England
P133 Moor Park Hertfordshire, Private Collection, England
P135 View from Moor Park towards Rickmansworth, Private Collection, England
[1] John Wootton, Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire, 1748, Private Collection, USA
[2] Joseph Farington, Richard Wilson painting in Moor Park, graphite on paper, 1765, Farington Sketchbook, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (75.1921)
According to Graves (Society of Artists, 1907), this picture was described by Horace Walpole as 'The view, a flat one, very fine'.
Moor Park Receipt 1767; Catalogue 1814, p. 16 or 17; Farington Diary, 14 August 1813; Waterhouse 1953, p. 177; WGC, p. 182 pl. 46c; Constable 1962, p. 145, doc. 1; Solkin 1982, pp. 126-29; Bonehilll and Daniels, p. 206; Solkin 2015, p. 215
Conserved 2012-13. The canvas has a stiff wax lining.
Kate Lowry has noted: Pine stretcher probably dating from a relining treatment. The original canvas is medium weight, simple weave and glue lined onto a similar weight canvas. It was not possible to see whether the original turnovers have survived or were removed at the time of lining. The present lining is with wax adhesive so probably dates from 1970s. The ground is pink, as it is for the other two paintings in this series and this is visible in places in the centre sky and around the foliage at the right of the composition. The texture of the sky is unusually messy for Wilson suggesting either a reworking of another composition or the work of a pupil.