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Landscape with River and Ruins
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Style of Wilson
Landscape with River and Ruins
Undated
Oil on panel
41.9 x 51.4 cm
16 1/4 x 20 1/4 in.
527-1882
NWP174A
Landscape scene looking across a fast-running river towards the ruins of Okehampton Castle in Devon, set on a hillside amongst dense trees. A single fisherman stands on the left bank of the river and in the distance are hills and trees beneath sunlit clouds.
Possibly Benjamin Booth [...]; bequeathed by John Jones, 1882
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P173 Okehampton Castle, Devonshire, Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery
Ronald Parkinson noted that 'when this painting belonged to John Jones it was thought to be an autograph work by Richard Wilson, and it entered the museum as such in 1882. In E. B. Chancellor's Walks among London's Pictures (1910, p. 244) he called it "...one of Wilson's Classic Compositions, probably a sketch for [the painting] now at Manchester". However doubts began to be expressed about the relationship of this picture to the Manchester picture [P174]. A note on the Departmental File states: "cf. no. 427 in the Manchester Art Gallery: see the illustration facing p. 142 of J. E. Phythian's Handbook to the Gallery (1910)." The size given is 5' 6" by 5' 4", while a further note adds, "It is a copy of the Jones painting or vice versa; or else the Jones ptg is a sketch for the Manchester picture". Soon after this time the V&A catalogue entry for the painting was amended to "School of Wilson". Thereafter the painting has been considered by a number of experts, and although its relationship to a known work by Wilson is acknowledged, it is generally accepted as being, at best, by one of his pupils.'
Possibly Booth Notes Doc. 9 (*22); South Kensington Museum Art Handbooks, The Jones Collection, 1884; WGC, p. 184 under pl. 52a.
Notes on the museum Departmental File for 527-1882:
[1] 'W.G. Constable (9.viii.39) verbally suggests Hodges as the author of this picture. (William Hodges (1744-97) was a pupil and studio assistant of Wilson and remained a friend until Wilson's death).'
[2] 'Seen with Mr Brinsley Ford and Mr Douglas Cooper, 3/6/48. Not by Wilson'.
Kate Lowry has noted: Mahogany panel with grain horizontal to composition. Small split at centre right side. Two mahogany battens attached across panel reverse. Panel edges uncut. Smooth, 1mm thick, white, oil ground extends to all edges and appears to be commercially prepared. No colourmen's stamp on reverse. Other distinguishing marks include part of an auctioneer's stencil and V&A stamp, plus label describing early treatment. Sky has been thickly painted in around the ruined towers and the ruins are painted thinly allowing the ground to shine through. The joints in the stonework are rather crudely placed in a dark green tone. Foliage of surrounding trees is executed in a rather flat green tone. The figures amongst back-lit tree trunks at centre right middle ground are a characteristic motif of Wilson. River in foreground is painted in thin horizontal strokes over the light coloured ground. Under UV retouches visible to drying craquelure throughout the ruins and middle ground.
26/04/2018