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The Convent on the Rock (Santa Maria Aventina)
Upton House, National Trust
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Convent on the Rock (Santa Maria Aventina)
Oil on canvas
35.5 x 45 cm
13 3/4 x 17 in.
446714
P94
At the right a renaissance building surmounts a classical structure which has been built on a rock or artificial rampart. In the centre foreground a man sits resting by a rock and a woman with a baby in arms stands next to him. The ground falls away to a river and bridge at the left.
Acquired by Marcus Samuel, 1st Viscount Bearstead (1853-1927) with no details of its earlier history; Walter Horace Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted (1882-1948), by whom bequeathed to the National Trust
A number of locations have been proposed over the years, all of which Constable dismissed, apart from Sta Maria Aventina, which he believe fitted the composition in some respects but not all, notably the inclusion of the bridge at the left, which occupies the position of the Pons Sublicius, destroyed in 780 AD.
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[1] J.M.W. Turner, Wilson Sketchbook, 1796-97, p. pp. 98-99, Tate, London
It is possible that it was to this picture (rather than P94A) that Joseph Farington was referring when he wrote '[Benjamin] West [P.R.A.] has been cleaning his collection of pictures. ... He dwelt upon his little picture of the Convent on the Rock by Wilson, saying it was coloured equal to Cuyp or Both & in parts like Titian' (Diary 2 October 1803).
WGC, p. 198, pl. 76a