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Castell Dinas Bran from Llangollen
The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782) and later intervention
Castell Dinas Bran from Llangollen
1780 (undated)
Oil on canvas
67.7 x 87.8 cm
26 5/8 x 33 9/16 in.
Conwy 2009 (24); MOMA Machynlleth, Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape, 19 March - 18 June 2016 (unnumbered)
S.H. Sharp; Sotheby's London, 23 November 1966 (19), bt Bernard; Sotheby's London, 11 March 1987 (71); with Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, 31 Bruton Street, London W.1.; bt by the National Library of Wales
Unsigned; no inscription
[1] Right end of upper horizontal stretcher bar, white chalk: LOT 71 11-3-87
[2] Centre of upper stretcher bar, impressed: FLeedham / Liner
[3] Centre left of middle horizontal stretcher bar, yellow chalk: C-4817 [?]
[4] Centre of middle vertical stretcher bar, yellow chalk: C-497
[5] Right vertical member of frame, yellow chalk, partly concealed: 152521
[1] Printed loan label in two parts adhered to upper left corner of stretcher with handwritten encircled numbers: 29 [and] 43
[2] Partly-concealed by [1], torn label with ink inscription in old hand: 556
[3] Old handwritten label centre of upper stretcher bar: MON no 09050 / Searle
[4] Modern label left end of middle horizontal stretcher bar: COLOUR
[5] Left vertical stretcher bar, lower centre, two pink stamped labels: 21 OCT 1986 [and] 14 DEC 1986
[6] Left vertical stretcher bar, lower end: modern museum label with accession number
[7] Left corner of lower horizontal stretcher bar, old handwritten label: R5357
[8] Centre left of lower horizontal stretcher bar: two printed and handwritten National Library of Wales labels
[9] Centre of lower horizontal stretcher bar, printed label: A8239 / Dinas Bran, Nr. Llangollen / by / Richard WILSON. / ARTHUR TOOTH & SONS LTD, Old Masters and Modern Paintings / 31 BRUTON ST LONDON W1 GROsvenor 6741
[10] Right vertical member of frame, old handwritten label: H44
D374 Castell Dinas Bran, Wales, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
D374A Dinas Bran from Llangollen, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
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As in P165 Dinas Bran from Llangollen - I, Yale Center for British Art, Wilson has dramatised the visual impact of Dinas Bran by silhouetting it directly against the sky and omitting the range of hills which in fact appear behind it.
Pennant 1784, vol. 1, pp. 297-98; Lord 2000, p. 116, pl. 174; Lord 2009, p. 59 no. 24, repr. p. 21; P. Wakelin, Romancing Wales: Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape since 1770, 2016, pp. 11-13, repr.
In a period carved gilt frame, glazed with glass; backboard fitted to stretcher. Kate Lowry has noted: Glue relined. Original turnovers removed at time of lining. Stretcher dates from lining. A strip 13 cm wide down the left side of the painting has been heavily repainted - this is very clear under UV. It is possible that the painting was stretched over a smaller painting at some point, subsequently restretched to its full size, and the resulting damage retouched. The pale pink ground is similar to that found in P165 Dinas Bran from Llangollen - I, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven. The horizon line painted down to the distant hills and the pentimenti down the right side of the main hill are typical Wilson features. However, the white water of the river is very fussily painted and the colourful, globular figures, especially the standing man, are unlike Wilson's. The painting could be by Wilson with additions by a later hand.