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Italian Sketchbook - Drawings pp. 16(v) and 17(r)
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Italian Sketchbook - Drawings pp. 16(v) and 17(r)
1754
Graphite with black and white chalk on medium, rough, blued white wove paper
281 x 210 mm (each sheet)
11 1/16 x 8 1/4 in. (each sheet)
B1977.14.359 v16 & r17
D280/16
16(v) is blank
17(r) is a quick sketch of a plinth surmounted by a sculptural group of a lion attacking a collapsing horse from behind
Oldfield Bowles; given to Sir George Beaumont, 1784; thence by descent until 1963, when sold to Paul Mellon
Unsigned; no inscription
The sculpture itself, a restored Roman copy in luna marble of a Hellenistic original, is in the garden of the Palazzo dei Conservatori. For centuries one of the most famous monuments in Rome, in Wilson's day it was in the courtyard of the palazzo.
P90C The Destruction of the Children of Niobe, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth / Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru
[1] Giovanni Paolo Panini (1691-1765), A Capriccio of the Roman Forum, 1741 (Yale University Art Gallery, 1964.41) and other capricci
[2] George Stubbs (1724-1806), A Lion attacking a Horse , 1762 (Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven, B1977.14.71) and other versions
The sculpture was often depicted in the 18th century, appearing in several capricci by the Roman artist Giovanni Paolo Panini, and providing the source of the much-repeated Lion attacking a Horse by George Stubbs, who visited Rome briefly in 1754. Wilson himself used the group in P90C The Destruction of the Children of Niobe, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth / Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, where it appears on the far right among trees.
Object ID: 6363
Sutton & Clements 1968, vol. 1, pp. 15-16; vol. 2, pp. 36-37
Only two sketchbooks by Wilson have survived - the present one (D280-D280/33) and D53-D53/81 Studies and Designs by R. Wilson done in Rome in the Year MDCCLII, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (E.3586-1922).