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The Hermitage, Villa Madama
Petworth House, National Trust
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Hermitage, Villa Madama
Dated 1760
Oil on canvas
59.7 x 81.3 cm
23 1/2 x 32 in.
A lane runs across the foreground and on the left a man and a woman greet a friar. A cottage is at the centre, overhung by trees, while to the right on a gentle slope, a line of trees is silhouetted against the sunset sky.
SA 1762 (132 - A Landscape with a Hermit); SA 1768 (129 - View in Villa Madama, near Rome); BI 1814 (167/171 - The Hermitage); BI 1824 (148 - Gardens of the Villa Madama, lent Earl of Egremont)
A bill of £260 made out by 'Wm. Dormer' to George O'Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont for five paintings and dated 15 November 1802, included a 'Landscape by Wilson' which may be this picture or one of the three other paintings by or attributed to Wilson at Petworth today; by descent to John Wyndham, 6th Lord Leconfield and 1st Lord Egremont (1920-1972); accepted by H.M. Treasury in lieu of death duties 1956; accepted by National Trust on loan from H.M. Treasury 1957; ownership formally transferred from H.M. Treasury to the National Trust, 20 September 1990
Signed and dated on horizontal log lower right: RW [monogram, R reversed] 1760
The composition was called The Hermitage when exhibited in 1814 but The Villa Madama when exhibited in 1924 and when engraved by William Byrne in 1765.
E14 William Byrne after Wilson A View in the Villa Madama, near Rome, called Il Teatro, 1765, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven (B1984.21.428);
E14A Byrne after Wilson, A View in the Villa Madama, near Rome, called Il Teatro, Victoria & Albert Museum, London;
E14B Byrne after Wilson, A View in the Villa Madama, near Rome, called Il Teatro, The British Museum
E14C Byrne after Wilson, A View in the Villa Madama near Rome called Il Teatro, Royal Academy of Arts
E14D Byrne after Wilson, View in the Villa Madama, National Museum Wales, Cardiff and other impressions
See 'Links' tab
Bolton List 1847: 13; Collins Baker 1920: 625; National Trust: 190
Catalogue 1814, p. 20; Collins Baker 1920, p. 135 (625); WGC, pp. 71, 87, 202 pl. 82a
This painting differs from the Hagley Hall P91A version in details of trees and foliage, and slightly in the figures.
Conserved by Henry Restra Bolton (1792-1871), 1847; cleaned by John Brealey, 1952. Thinness of blue in the sky still persists and there is considerable wear in the centre; big damage in trees to right; areas of small bituminous cracks. The 19th century neo-classical frame is badly distressed and faded.
Kate Lowry has noted: Glue relined. Old 'Y' shaped damage to paint and canvas filled and badly retouched upper right corner. Detail of black and white birds in sky is good. Blue of sky somewhat worn over white underpaint. Figure group at left foreground is good. Extensive bituminous craquelure in middle ground which is very dark.