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Lake Avernus, Monte Nuovo, the Island of Capri and Part of Baiae
The Trustees of the British Museum
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Avernus, Monte Nuovo, the Island of Capri and Part of Baiae
c.1754-56 (undated)
Black chalk and stump, heightened with white, on buff paper
269 x 420 mm
10 5/8 x 16 1/2 in
1949,0411.59
D257
The view shows Lake Avernus, with Monte Nuovo to the left, the island of Capri and part of Baiae in the distance to the right. The lake, with woods around it, is seen from a height, with two figures resting in the foreground and a third descending past them on horseback. To the left at the water's edge stands the Temple of Apollo.
London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (54)
Bequeathed by Campbell Dodgson 1949
Inscribed lower right: RW
Inscribed: The Lake of Avernus, Monte Nuovo, Island of Capri and part of Baya
Lake Avernus, to the west on Naples, near Pozzuoli, lies in the volcanic region of the Phlegraean ('Burning') Fields. In classical mythology this was the site of the Underworld or 'Hades'. The entrance to Hades was said to be in a nearby grotto, inhabited by the prophetess known as the Cumaean Sibyl. In Virgil's epic poem, The Aeneid, the Sibyl helps Aeneas, the Trojan prince, to enter Hades. There his father's ghost foretells his destiny as the founder of the Roman nation. Such associations made Lake Avernus a major attraction for landscape artists and travellers on the Grand Tour. The semi-ruined Temple of Apollo on the eastern shore of the lake to the left, was believed in Wilson's day to have been dedicated to Juno or Proserpina. On the south bank is the cavern of the Cumaean Sibyl.
E85 Joseph Clayton Bentley after Wilson, Lake Avernus, The British Museum
E85A Joseph Clayton Bentley after Wilson, Lake Avernus, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
P93 Lake Avernus and the Island of Capri, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea
P93A Lake Avernus and the Island of Capri, Tate, London
Watercolours: [1] Giovanni Battista Lusieri, View of Lake Averno, 1786, Christie's New York, 29 January 2015 (112)
This drawing or another version of it served as the basis for the paintings P93 and P93A. It is comparable in size and finish to the Dartmouth drawings.
Solkin 1982, pp. 174-75