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Studies and Designs done in Rome in the Year 1752, p. 12
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Studies and Designs done in Rome in the Year 1752, p. 12
Black chalk on white paper
188 x 130 mm (volume: 203 x 143 mm)
8 x 5 5/8 in.
Two figures on horseback cross an antique shallow-arched stone bridge over a river in a town, followed by another on foot
London, Cardiff and New Haven 1982-83 (21)
Bt about 1922 from Miss Alice J. Bowles
Numbered below the image lower right: 30
Page numbered upper right corner: 12
E60/4, John Whessell after Wilson, Studies and Designs: Figures on Horseback crossing a Bridge, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
Wilson's commitment to landscape made soon after his arrival in Rome in late 1751 initiated a sustained burst of activity as a draughtsman which was to gain momentum over the next few years. One major piece of evidence for the seriousness with which he took his new career is provided by the pages of this surviving sketchbook from 1752. Although it contains a number of rapid sketches from nature and the antique, most of its leaves are filled with imaginary essays in landscape design, usually incorporating classical themes such as antique ruins but presented in a rococo manner, and, as noted by Solkin, 'using lazy curving forms and often capricious combinations of architectural motifs in a way that still recalls the works of Zuccarelli.' Increasingly, however, Wilson came to adopt a more naturalistic style.
The present page was reproduced as a soft-ground etching by John Whessell and published by Robert Archer in 1811 (E60/4).
Sutton & Clements 1968, pp. 15-16, fig. 20; Solkin 1982, pp. 152, 157
Only two sketchbooks by Wilson have survived - the present one (D53-D53/81) and D280-D280/33 Italian Sketchbook - Drawings, 1754, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection