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Gypsies on a Road near Rome
Private Collection, England / Photograph by John Hammond
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Gypsies on a Road near Rome
1771?
Oil on canvas
33 x 43.1 cm
13 x 17 in.
Private Collection, England
BB29
P176
View from a wooded hill across a plain with a winding river towards distant mountains, with two gypsy women standing under a tree in the left foreground, a man seated at the centre and another nearby on the slope
RA 1779 (353 - a version); Grosvenor Gallery 1888 (339); Brighton 1920 (33 - The Gipsies - View near Albano); Exeter 1946 (71); Birmingham 1948-49 (28); London 1949 (27); London 1968 (18); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (138); Conwy 2009 (25); Weston 2011 (25); Gainsborough House 2014 (unnumbered)
Paul Sandby; Benjamin Booth; thence by descent
[1] Signed with monogram in right foreground: RW [the R reversed]
[2] Inscribed on milestone lower left: XV | DA | ROMA
[3] Dated on milestone: 1771 [?]
The identification of the location as Italian derives principally from the inscription on the milestone. Otherwise the scene is more generic, with debts to Aelbert Cuyp and other Netherlandish artists, rather than to the Italians.
E50 Samuel Alken after Wilson, The Gypsies, 1783, The British Museum (1877,0811.497) plus other impressions
E72/5 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, The Gypsies, The British Museum (1854,0708.62)
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This painting shares stylistic similarities with P162 Cicero and his two Friends, Atticus and Quintus, at his Villa at Arpinum, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, such as the summary modelling of the figures and heavy dotting of the foliage. The composition may be seen as less classical and more picturesque than the earlier Italian landscapes, showing Italy as a contemporary foreign land rather than the setting for ruins of classical antiquity.
Booth Notes Doc. 5, p. 2: 'Gypsies in wood with the subterranean cavern 15 m. from Rome painted for do. [P. Sandby]'; Booth Notes Doc. 9 (10 - Entrance to a Wood. Gypsies, old decay'd Tree. Rome in distance (was P. Sandby's) 16 1/2- 13 1/2.); WGC pp. 47, 73, 94, 110, 119-200, pl. 79b; Solkin 1982, p. 243