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View from Moor Park towards Rickmansworth
From the Collection of the Marquess of Zetland, Photo by Jerry Hardyman-Jones
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
View from Moor Park towards Rickmansworth
c.1765-67 (undated)
Oil on canvas
147.3 x 184.1 cm
58 x 72 7/16 in.
Private Collection, England
132
P135
One of three views of Moor Park painted for Sir Lawrence Dundas (see P133 and P134). This view is from just within Moor Park's western borders, commanding a prospect over Rickmansworth village, with its distinctive church tower and spire, which survived the rebuilding of St Mary's Church in 1826 and again in 1890. Beyond this, the view extends to neighbouring Buckinghamshire. To the left, the River Colne flows northwest, before turning south to join the Thames. It is crossed by two bridges, on the nearer of which a small figure may be observed. Further to the right is a prominent mill or similar industrial building. The hazy distant landscape stretches beyond Chorleywood to the vicinity of Amersham and Chesham. The time is about midday.
BI 1814 (73/76) or (85/88) both described as A View from Moor Park, Hertfordshire; BI 1865 (144 or 162 or 168); Birmingham 1948-49 (66); London 1949 (65); York, Masterpieces from Yorkshire Houses 1951 (50); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (126)
Painted for Sir Lawrence Dundas; thence by descent
Unsigned; no inscription
Warm pink ground. A pupil's hand may be discerned in the rougher handling of the tree and its foliage to the right.
Pencil inscription inverted on lower left stretcher: Thos. Moore Darlington [/] Left to be called for
The frame is inscribed in black in upper centre: 132
Top of frame Tate 1982 label: Inv. No. 132
Joseph Farington, Richard Wilson painting in Moor Park, graphite on paper, 1765, Farington Sketchbook, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (75.1921)
The low flat horizon and detailed account of the weather bring to mind Dutch prototypes. The prominent fencing activities of the peasants resting in the centre foreground are probably connected with the enclosure legislation of the day. A contemporary critic considered this or one of the Moor Park views to be 'one that may convince the World that the simple Grandeur of an extensive, richly-cultivated wooded Plain, and the Verdure, almost peculiar to our Island, so much admired in Nature, and so much decried in Imitation, may have extraordinary Beauties in a Picture.' (Public Advertiser, 1 May 1767). Wilson's careful observation of the changing weather on the horizon prefigures Constable's fascination with such phenomena.
Farington Diary, 14 August 1813; Waterhouse 1953, p. 177; WGC, p. 182 pl. 47a; Solkin 1982, pp. Solkin 1982, pp. 126-29; 232-33
In the left foreground there is evidence of of fence-building, relating to the enclosure movement and the increasing modernisation or 'improvement' of country estates by their owners.
Kate Lowry has noted: The painitng was conserved in 2012-13 when it was cleaned, revarnished and retouched. Pine stretcher probably dates from early 20th century when the work was glue relined. The original canvas is medium weight, simple weave and lined onto a similar weight canvas. There is a pink ground which is visible around the foliage against the sky at the right. The heat haze over the hills on the horizon are indicated by drawing the sky tone down over a dark blue tone of the distant landscape, leaving bluish lines where the bristles have drawn through the paint. On the horizon shafts of sunlight and squalls of rain are visible. The tree foliage is reasonably good for Wilson, but the greens in the foreground are rather bland and bright, suggesting a pupil's assistance.