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A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - II)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782) and Studio
A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - II)
c.1764 (undated)
101.9 x 127.6 cm
40 1/8 x 50 1/4 in.
51.449
P97B
An Italianate rural landscape, with a high foreground overlooking a wide river with a fallen tree trunk to the left and a boy fishing with a seated girl and her baby to the right. In the middle distance is a broad stretch of water with a rocky cliff in the background to the right, surmounted by a castle. There is a shallow bank to the left, with hazy plains and mountains in the distance. The delicate light, conveyed through soft colouring, is reflected in the river and enhances the sense of space.

RA Old Masters 1882 (249 - lent by James Price); London, Franco-British Exhibition 1908 (62 - lent by G. Harland-Peck)
James Price; his sale 15 June 1895 (67 View on the Arno); bt Wallace or Wallis; George Harland-Peck, London; his sale, Christie's 25 June 1920 (146 A View of Tivoli); bt William B. Paterson; 1920 William B. Richardson (buying through Paterson); bequest of William K. Richardson, 8 March 1951
Unsigned, undated no inscription
The figures are finely painted and quite sensitive. The ripples on the surface of the water suggest the style of Joseph Wright of Derby. The background at the left is sketchy. The technique of the horizon is not convincingly Wilsonesque. The tree above the foreground stump is painted over the river. The reflections of the group of trees in the middle distance centre are detailed but painted with no great finesse. The ground of the foreground is dark and that of the sky is light.
E72/9 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, View in Italy, The British Museum (1854,0708.66) and other impressions
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A version was offered at Bonhams, Knightsbridge sale 29 April 2015 (217)
Wilson spent much of the 1750s in Italy and produced paintings of Italian scenes for the rest of his life. However, he also painted views of his native Wales and it is sometimes difficult to be sure, as with this painting, whether he meant to evoke the Arno, the Po, the Tiber or the Dee valley. The composition is similar to that found in many of his views, combining topographical detail, often studied in North Wales and Cheshire, with some artistic licence. There are many surviving versions of this picture, an archetypal 'good breeder'.
Sir I. Spielmann, Souvenir of the Fine Art Section, Franco-British Exhibition 1908, Part I. - British Section: Deceased British Artists (oil) no. 62, repr. opp. p. 16; WGC, p. 214, pl. 100b (other version 1, amalgamated with his last entry)
Heavily flattened craquelure overall, especially in the sky as a result of relining. Some infilled damages by the tree at the left.