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St Peter's from the West (A View of Rome with Saint Peter's)
Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collections
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
St Peter's from the West (A View of Rome with Saint Peter's)
c.1754 (undated)
Chalk on paper
282 x 422 mm
11 1/4 x 16 5/8 in.
Rome is seen from the west
Birmingham 1948-49 (90); London 1949 (89); Agnews 85th Annual Exhibition of Watercolour Drawings, 1956
Commissioned about 1753 in Rome by William, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth; by descent until sold Christie's, 29 January 1954 (26); with Agnew & Co., London; purchased by Aberdeen Art Gallery 1958 with income from the Webster Bequest
Signed lowerleft: RW f.and inscribed
[1] 23
[1] Marked on mount: A
The drawing is one of a few that do not depict ruins of the classical age. Wilson made one other drawing and two oil paintings of the same subject.
One of a major series of drawings commissioned by William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801) in 1754, of which 25 are known to survive. The Dartmouth set is the most important group of the artist's finished compositions on paper. Originally numbering 68, the drawings were highly prized by the earl and much admired by connoisseurs and artists of the day including William Lock of Norbury, and the artists John Hoppner and Joseph Farington. Hoppner said of them, 'they were such as the Greeks would have made & put all others at a distance' and Farington was almost certainly referring to them when he characterised Wilson's drawings as having 'all the qualities of his pictures except the colour.' Drawings from the set are distinguished by a white mount with lilac wash border, on which the artist attached a small white label, bearing the title of the work.
Farington Diary, vol. 7, p. 2775 (1 June 1806); Farington Biographical Note p. 12; Ford 1948, p. 345, A; Aberdeeen Art Gallery, Permanent Collection Catalogue, 1968, p. 100; Solkin 1978, pp. 405-6, pl. 19; Clark & Bowron 1985, p. 267 under cat. 195
From the original 68 drawings of the Dartmouth commission, 25 were rediscovered in 1948 by Lady Dartmouth at Patshull House, West Midlands. Of these, 19 represent Rome and its environs. The drawings are mentioned by Thomas Jenkins in his correspondence with Lord Dartmouth in 1754. Jenkins was acting as Dartmouth's agent in Rome and probably brought Wilson to his attention.
Dimensions framed: 467 x 595 mm (18 6/16 x 23 7/16 in.)