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The River Dee near Eaton Hall
Private Collection, North America
Ascribed to Wilson
The River Dee near Eaton Hall
Oil on canvas
54.6 x 69.9 cm
21 1/2 x 27 1/2 in.
Private Collection, North America
A river extends from the right foreground to the centre middle distance and is bordered on both sides by trees and bushes. In the foreground are three men in a boat and at a bend in the middle distance there is a cottage. Cows are grazing in a field to the right. Distant hills appear beyond and the sky is yellow with the sunset.
Acquired by present owner c.1994
Unsigned, no inscription
The composition appears to be the first depiction of 'public' British scenery, as opposed to private estates, executed after Wilson's return from Italy. Writers from Elizabethan times, including Spenser and Milton, referred to an ancient tradition ascribing god-like qualities to the Dee, prophetic for the fortunes of England and Wales, lying either side of it. Eaton Hall was the ancestral seat of Sir Richard, later 1st Earl Grosvenor and is currently that of his descendant, the 7th Duke of Westminster. The setting may be partly imaginary, however.
D354 The Banks of the River Dee near Eaton Hall Cheshire, Art Institute of Chicago, Leonora Hall Gurley Collection
E25 Thomas Morris after Wilson, The Banks of the River Dee near Eaton, Cheshire, The British Museum & other impressions
E71/1 John Young after Wilson, View on the River Dee, near Eaton Hall, The British Museum
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The composition is in reverse compared with all the other versions. P86D is also the only version to include figures in a boat, and probably derives from Thomas Morris's print of 1774 (E25 and other impressions), which also shows these figures and is similarly orientated. Different figures in a boat do appear, however, in the related drawing D354.