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Villa Emiliana near Rome
Private Collection, England / Photograph by John Hammond
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Villa Emiliana near Rome
Early 1760s (undated)
Oil on canvas
33 x 40 cm
13 x 16 in.
Private Collection, England
An umbrella pine dominates the scene, with part of a villa on the left and a prominent stone sarcophagus in the centre. In the right background are a walled farmstead with cypresses and other trees, towards which some women are walking. A figure is attending to washing on the wooden steps at the side of the villa, other figures are beneath the pine and a man sits on the ground prominently in the right foreground. Beyond are the sea or a lake and distant mountains under a blue sky with fluffy clouds.
Brighton 1920 (10 - Villa Emelia); Exeter 1946 (63); Birmingham 1948-49 (27); London 1949 (26); on loan to Kenwood, 1959-60; London 1968 (1); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (91); Conwy 2009 (13); Weston 2011 (13); Gainsborough House 2014 (unnumbered)
Paul Sandby; Benjamin Booth; Revd R.S. Booth; Lady Ford; Richard Ford; Sir Francis Clare Ford; John G. Ford; Sir Brinsley Ford; thence by descent
The site remains untraced and the scene may be imaginary, contrived from personal experience. The prominent sarcophagus at the centre foreground, its sculptural sophistication contrasting with the rustic setting, provides a note of antiquity and perhaps mortality. Benjamin Booth recorded that the painting had belonged to Paul Sandby.
D223 Ascribed to Wilson, A Roman Table Support, Private Collection, England
E72/4 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Villa Emelia, 1820, The British Museum
E72/4A Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Villa Emelia, 1820, The British Museum
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The central roundel of the sarcophagus relates to one in the garden of the Villa Medici which Wilson drew.
Booth Notes Doc. 5, p. 2; Booth Notes Doc. 8, p. 1; Booth Notes Doc. 9 (8); WGC, pp. 46, 90, 198-99, pl. 76b; Sutton & Clements 1968, p. 39, fig. 44; Solkin 1982, p. 204; Walpole Society 1998-I, p. 15; Williams 2011, p. 24, repr.