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Distant View of Maecenas' Villa, Tivoli (The Villa of Maecenas, Tivoli)
Courtesy of National Museums Liverpool
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Distant View of Maecenas' Villa, Tivoli (The Villa of Maecenas, Tivoli)
Oil on canvas
124.5 x 171.5 cm
49 x 67 1/2 in.
LLAG 3548
As noted by Constable, the view is up the gorge of the River Anio, showing the lower cascades in the mid-distance and above them, in the centre, the ruins of the so-called Villa of Maecenas or Temple of Hercules Victor . The small building against the hillside to the right is the Tempio della Tosse (Temple of Coughing), perhaps a family tomb.
There are two watersources for the foreground, including one that flows down from the waterfall on the right. In the centre, there are two sheep or goats, above/behind the sculpture.
London 1925 (38); Manchester 1925 (56); Birmingham 1948-9 (58); London 1949 (57)
Andrews sale, 1888 (125 gns); James Orrock, Orrock sale, Christie's 4 June 1904 (45) bt Agnew, for Orrock; Arthur Sanderson
RW monogram on rock by figures, lower left
The so-called Villa di Mecenate or Villa of Maecenas, occupied a particularly lofty position in the esteem of British Grand Tourists since it brought to mind the most famous of all Roman patrons of the arts.
D164 Landscape with a large Temple, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
D260 Villa of Maecenas, Tate, London
E72/7 Hastings after Wilson, The Villa of Maecenas, The British Museum
E77 Le Keux after Wilson, Maecenas' Villa at Tivoli, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
E79/2 Brandard after Wilson, Maecenas' Villa at Tivoli, The British Museum
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[1] Claude-Joseph Vernet The Falls of Tivoli (1753, WGC pl. 151b)
[2] Francis Towne (1739-1816): The Villa of Maecenas at Tivoli from below the Falls, watercolour, 1781, The British Museum (Nn,3.8)
This is harder in style than the Tate version P71
WHL 598
Tatlock p. 68
Byron Webber, 'James Orrock II', 1903, p. 156, illus.; Magazine of Fine Arts, Nov. 1905, illus.; Bury 1947, pl. 25; A. Kidson, Catalogue, pp. 174-5, no. 108; WGC, p. 226
A memorandum stated by Mrs Jameson to be by Wilson himself (Handbook to the Public Galleries, I, 1842, p. 117), quoted by Constable and discussed by Martin Davies, (National Gallery Catalogue of the British School), reads as follows: 'The drawing was taken on the/ Spot by Mr. Wilson in the year 1754 in company with the Earls o/ Pembroke, Thanet and Essex and Ld Viscount Bolingbroke/ who dined and spenrt the day together on the Spot under a Large/ Tree. The Dress of the two Women dipping for Water is the/ present dress of the Country.' The drawing has not been identified. Wilson himself was among the first of British landscape painters to appreciate the unique character of the scenery around Tivoli.