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A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - I)
Private Collection / Photograph by Matthew Hollow
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - I)
c.1764-65 (undated)
Oil on wood panel
18.2 x 24.5 cm
7 3/8 x 9 5/8 in.
Private Collection
P96C
An Italianate rural landscape, with a high foreground overlooking a wide river with two trees and a fallen trunk to the left and two boys fishing with a seated girl and her baby to the right. In the middle distance is a broad stretch of water with a rocky cliff in the background to the right, surmounted by a castle. There is a shallow bank to the left, with hazy plains and mountains in the distance. This imaginative scene is framed on the left by graceful tree trunks, which punctuate the sky. The delicate light, conveyed through soft colouring, is reflected in the river and enhances the sense of space.
London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (114)
Sotheby Parke Bernet, London, 23 July 1980 (374); Private Collection, England
Unsigned; no inscription
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Wilson spent much of the 1750s in Italy and produced paintings of Italian scenes for the rest of his life. However, he also painted views of his native Wales and it is sometimes difficult to be sure, as with this painting, whether he meant to evoke the Arno, the Po, the Tiber or the Dee valley. The composition is similar to that found in many of his views, combining topographical detail, often studied in North Wales and Cheshire, with some artistic licence. There are many surviving versions of this picture - an archetypal 'good breeder' - but only one other on panel.
WGC, p. 213, pl. 100a; Solkin 1982, pp. 222-23
The present painting was executed on a professionally prepared oak board, possibly of 17th century Dutch origin. Such reduced replicas may have been used by the artist to display his compositions to prospective clients.