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Wilton House from the Southeast (Wilton House, South East View across the River Nadder)
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Wilton House from the Southeast (Wilton House, South East View across the River Nadder)
Between 1758 and 1760 (undated)
Oil on canvas
99.1 x 144.1 cm
39 x 56 3/4 in.
B1981.25.684
P76A
Wilton House near Wilton, Wiltshire, is seen from across the River Nadder
London 1925 (59 - lent Edmund S. Ford); Richmond 1963 (21); London 1964-65 (52); New Haven 1965 (222); The Eye of Thomas Jefferson, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC., 1976 (not in catalogue); New Haven 1977 (27); Country Houses in Great Britain, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1979/80 (20)
Benjamin Booth, his sale Christie's, 30 May 1809 (93 - A View of Wilton House, Evening Scene) bt in; Revd R.S. Booth; Lady Ford; Revd James Ford; Edmund Ford; Arthur Ford, Pengreep (in 1953); Sabin Galleries; purchased August 1963 by Paul Mellon
Unsigned; no inscription
Wilton House, standing at the junction of the rivers Nadder and Wiley, was designed to the commission of the 4th Earl of Pembroke by John Webb, son-in-law of Inigo Jones. It was severely damaged by fire in 1647 or 1648 and the great Palladian south front, designed by Isaac de Caus (perhaps with some assistance from Jones), was rebuilt. The house was completed by 1656. The Palladian Bridge, visible at the water's extremity, was built in 1737 by Henry the 9th Earl with the help of Roger Morris. In the 18th century the house was one of the most popular on the tour circuit because of its romantic picturesque setting and its great art collection. Two of the major attractions were the richly decorated 'Single Cube' and 'Double Cube' rooms, the latter hung with portraits by Van Dyck. In 1758, 2,324 people came to see the house and only Stowe and Blenheim could boast more visitors. Wilton provided inspiration for at least three Georgian houses, Houghton, Hagley and Croome.
D352 Wilton House from the South East, Leeds Museums and Galleries
W. Watts, Seats of the Nobility and Gentry, published 20 May 1786, pl. LXXXII
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Wilson has treated the house as an excuse for a Claudean landscape bathed in an evening glow, rather than representing it accurately. Although he painted a few house portraits early in his career, his classical landscape style was not suitable for commissioned works whose major interest was purely topographical.

P76A is recorded in Benjamin Booth's unpublished notes as a Wilson Sketch and in the list of his pictures as 53 Wilton (Lord Pembroke's unfinisht 56 3/4 x 39 ins).
Register no: 612
Booth Notes Doc. 5; Booth Notes Doc. 8; WGC, pp. 188-89, pl. 58b (2); Taylor 1963, cat. 21, pl. 212; Taylor 1964, cat. 52, pl. 70; Taylor 1965, cat. 222, pl. 70; Plumb, J.H. The Pursuit of Happiness; A View of Life in Georgian England, exh. cat., New Haven, 1977 (27); Solkin 1982 (81b); Cormack 1985, pp. 252 & 253; T. J. Barringer, Opulence and Anxiety; Landscape Paintings from the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2007; Wilson and Europe 2014, pp. 198-99 (fig.159).
Wilton House, Wiltshire, England
Kate Lowry has noted:
Simple fine weave original canvas 16 warps x 18 wefts per sq cm with original turnover edges retained at time of glue lining. Canvas has some slubs and thicker threads but this only shows in X-ray and doesn't affect the overall visual appearance. Stretcher viewed in X-ray image is four member pine construction with square mortice joints, provision for keying out and four corner braces. Probably dates from lining.
Commercial oil priming is visible at the top edge in frame rebate; pale sandy colour, even application. Not signed or dated. The painting does not appear to be unfinished. General tone of the painting is hot with reds and oranges, especially in the foliage. Leaves are mechanically applied both in the main part of the foliage against sky and in lower right foreground. The three main foreground figures against the lake are very flat; the two boys lying down at left are even more schematic. Under UV there is evidence of widespread small retouches over varnish in both foreground and figures, as well as more extensive retouching in the centre sky where cracks and wrinkling have formed probably as a result of overheating in lining. No record of conservation before purchase in the curatorial records, but possibly treated before it was purchased by Paul Mellon.
Country Life Annual, 1965, p. 18