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Italian River Landscape with a broken Bridge
Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Italian River Landscape with a broken Bridge
c.1780? (undated)
Oil on mahogany panel
41.3 x 53.3 cm
16 1/4 x 21 in.
A river spanned by a broken bridge flows around tree-covered slopes. Above the river, a temple can be seen. Beyond a plain runs back towards a distant mountain. At the left a rocky bluff crowned with trees rises from the bank, filling the foreground. Three figures stand in the foreground and two horses with men descend from right to left.
Brighton 1920 (24 - Landscape)
Benjamin Booth (1732-1807), London; Revd R.S. Booth, London; Lady (Richard) Ford (née Marianne Booth), London; Richard Ford, Devonshire; Sir Francis Clare Ford, Captain Richard Ford, London; his sale, Christie's, 14 June 1929 (18 - A River Scene), bt Thomas Agnew & Sons Ltd (#7038, 780 guineas); 18 June 1929 sold to Frederick John Nettlefold; presented by F.J. Nettlefold to the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1948
Unsigned; no inscription
There is underpaint to left centre. Blobby, fluid brush-strokes are much in evidence, for example in the clouds.
[1] Verso: Impression of heraldic seal in red wax, mid 18th century?
[1] Top stretdchere, white chalk: BAS 49
[2] Lower centre left, white chalk: R
[1] Verso: Agnews 6900
[2] Verso: Agnews[?] MS square label with corners cut off: A RIVER SCENE [/] BY [/] RICHARD WILSON, R.A.
[3] Verso: Christie's stencil, indecipherable
[4] Verso top stretcher: F.J. Nettlefold Esq.
E72/27 Thomas Hastings Untitled (Landscape Capriccio on the Via Aemilia), The British Museum (1854,0708.84) and other impressions
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This is closely related to Claude Lorrain's Landscape with the Flight into Egypt, 1663, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, in Wilson's day at the Palazzo Colonna, Rome
A strong visual message of the work is the history of declining ancient civilisation and its potential application to eighteenth-century Britain.
Booth Notes Doc. 9 (23); Grundy & Roe 1938, pp. 152-53 - River Scene, with Temple and Figures, repr. col.; WGC, pp. 92, 218, pl. 106b; Sutton & Clements 1968, vol. 2, p. 31, fig. 32; J.W. Goodison, Catalogue of Paintings in the Fitzwilliam Musem, Cambridge, III, British School, Cambridge University Press 1977, pp. 285-7
Label title Italian Landscape with River and Temple
Covered in old varnish, which makes the blues of the sky deeper. Some surface scratches. No backboard. Verso: edges roughened top and bottom as if perhaps part of something else. Battened; dimensions without battens: 41 x 53.3.cm.
Kate Lowry has noted:
Oil on panel. Mahogany panel about 10mm thick and reinforced by two cross battens attached to the reverse, which may be later additions. Upper and lower reverse edges are quite battered, suggesting the panel may have been used for something else before painting. Panel has quite a pronounced convex bow along the grain. Smooth white ground. The painting has some good Wilson features such as the sky painted down to the distant mountain, reserves for the tree foliage and foreground, typical figure group in foreground and fairly good figures in the middle distance. There is however a very strange yellow tone in the distant landscape.