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The Bay of Baiae from Posilupo
The Trustees of the British Museum
Thomas Hastings after Wilson
The Bay of Baiae from Posilupo
Published July 1821
Etching on chine collé
165 x 228 mm
6 1/2 x 9 in.
1854,0708.69
E72/12
View from a hillside at Posillipo, with two figures conversing in the foreground at the centre left, and three others spreading washing on the balcony of a house at the left. In the centre are arched ruins and in the background the Bay of Baiæ with the island of Ischia beyond.
Bought from George Willis, Piazza, Covent Garden, 1854
Lettered below the image with the title and sub-title: 'The Ruin represents one of Ciceros Villas _ The Isle of Ischia in the distance _ and the Promontory of Micenum (the Portsmouth of the Romans) on the left of the View.' Lettered above this: 'The Original is in the Possession of Lady Ford.'; production details and publication line: 'Painted by R. Wilson.' 'Etched by T. Hastings | and published in London July 1821'
The view is across the Gulf of Pozzuoli towards the port of Misenum and Monte di Procida, with the Isle of Ischia in the background. The shoreline of the Gulf of Pozzuoli, west of Cape Posillipo,was the site of many Roman villas, but the ruin, which Wilson depicts with much the same form as Virgil's tomb, appears now to be lost and covered by the sea. Cicero mentions his Villa Puteolana in several letters, delighting in the walk to nearby Lake Avernus. According to Pliny he called it his Academy. Consequently it was a spot much sought out by eighteenth-century visitors, as were Cicero's numerous other villas near Rome and Naples.
P186 Cicero's Villa and the Gulf of Pozzuoli (The Bay of Baiae from Posilippo), Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
From a series of forty etchings after paintings by Richard Wilson and additional title page, bound in a volume in red tooled leather with gold decorative border, lettered on the spine with 'Wilson's | Etchings | by | Hastings'; the title page lettered in black and red: 'Etchings, | from the Works | of | [ facsimile of signature below portrait] Ric. Wilson / with Some Memoirs of his Life, &c. | by Thomas Hastings, Esq. | Collector of His Majesty's Customs. | "Non Ductus Officio Sed Amore Operis." Quintillian. | Published by Hurst, Robinson & Co. Cheapside, London. | Johnson, Typ. Apollo Press, 1825. Brook Street, Holborn'; containing twenty pages of Introductory and Concluding Remarks by the etcher, including descriptions of Richard Wilson's original paintings. Wilson visited Naples and the surrounding area in 1752, in 1753 or 1754 with Lord Dartmouth and again in 1756.
PPA324311
Hastings 1825; WGC, p. 196, under pl. 73a; Yule 2015, pp. 60 & 69
George Willis was an antiquarian book dealer, who occasionally published books and prints. His firm was active from 1832-1856 and sold many prints to the British Museum. In 1856 it merged with Thomas Sotheran to become Willis & Sotheran.
09/12/2015