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On the Tiber
Private Collection / Photograph by Stuart Whipps
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
On the Tiber
Undated
Oil on canvas
27.5 x 36.6 cm
10 13/16 x 14 3/8 in.
Private Collection
P103B
A gentle landscape beneath a golden calm expanse of sky articulated only by flocks of birds in flight, is dominated by the square tower or belvedere set diagonally at the right hand side above the river, gently receding diagonally into the distance. Figures on the bank below and in the boat catch the light and add animation to the scene.
Burlington Fine Arts Club 1906 (32 - Scene on the Tiber); London 1925 (48); Manchester 1925 (27); Hull 1936 (22)
Captain John Staniforth Beckett (1794-1868), Barnsley, Yorkshire and The Knoll, Torquay; Sir Hickman Bacon, Bart; Sir Nicholas Bacon, Bart; thence by descent
Unsigned; no inscription
[1] Incised at top end of centre vertical member of stretcher: 'J. Leedham | Liner'
[2] White chalk, centre right of middle horizontal member of stretcher: 285
[3] Pencil, centre horizontal member of stretcher, left: 'Received from Sir | H. Bacon | 28.6.25'
Verso:
[1] Upper horizontal member of stretcher, right: Printed & black ink Hull 1936 exhibition label, inverted
[2] Handwritten partially torn label, upper horizontal member of stretcher, left, black ink: Sir H. Bacon.
[3] Handwritten octagonal label, upper horizontal member of stretcher, centre left: 29080
[4] Printed and handwiritten label, upper section of middle vertical member of stretcher, inverted: Manchester 1925 exhibition label
[5] Lower horizontal member of stretcher, centre, black ink, inverted: 'by R. Wilson. | Belonging to | J.S. Beckett, Esq.
D344 Banks of the Tiber, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
E72/29 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, On the Tiber, The British Museum
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W.G. Constable noted that the building on the right has a steeper pitched roof than that in P103 and different windows; also other differences: the figures are differently placed, and sheep and a cow introduced; there is no boat in the left foreground; and the round tower of the building across the river is to the left.
WGC, p. 222, pl. 114b version (3)
Kate Lowry has noted: Gilt compo frame, unglazed and not backed. Original canvas is simple weave linen; the weave is slightly open and uneven. The original canvas turnovers have been removed at the time of relining. The painting has been lined onto a similar weight canvas with glue adhesive. The seven-member pine stretcher has square mortice joints and provision for keying out. It is not original and probably dates from the relining, possibly late 19th century. The support and its lining are in good condition. Original priming or ground is white in colour and extends beneath the whole painting. The paint film, which is quite opaque, covers it almost completely. There is some impasto in the paint film but much has been flattened during lining. The paint in the distant mountain landscape is somewhat rubbed in appearance.
The balance of the building in shadow to the left and that in sunlight at the upper right makes for a satisfactory composition. The details of the sheep, the sunlit building, the foreground figures and the boat on the lake all suggest that this may well be by Wilson himself.