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Lake, Villa and Pine Trees: 'A Summer Evening' (The Villa Medici Rome with imaginary Surroundings)
Courtesy of the Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry KBE
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake, Villa and Pine Trees: 'A Summer Evening' (The Villa Medici Rome with imaginary Surroundings)
1752
Oil on canvas
62.2 x 85.4 cm
24 1/2 x 33 5/8 in.
166
P49
Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery, Art Treasures from Country Houses, 1952 (34); Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, Italy and the Grand Tour, in the XVII and XVIII Centuries : From the Collections of Northampton Houses and other Lenders, 1959 (58); London, Royal Academy, Italian Art and Britain, 1960 (150 A Roman Lake View): Munich 1979-80 (81 - Phantasielandschaft mit der Villa Medici, Rom)
Probably A Small Landscape at Boughton by 1827, when it appears in an inventory in the Duchess's Dressing Room. Mentioned in an 1836 inventory as A Landscape of Italian Scenery. Recorded at Boughton by G.F. Waagen in 1854 (see Bibliography).
Signed and dated on second stone to right of the figure: R.W. 1752
The foreground shepherd is thinly painted and the head and hat are not well joined to the body. He stands before what seems to be a seated woman barely painted in with a child in her arms. There are no birds in the sky.
The subject was identified by Sir Brinsley Ford as the Villa Medici, Rome in imaginary surroundings
E78/1 William James Taylor after Wilson, A Summer Evening The British Museum (1861,1214.770)
The signature is uncharacteristic in type and location, perhaps indicative of an early date. The most effective sections are the backlit villa itself and the central trees. Ford noted that Wilson 'has taken considerable licence in placing it [the Villa Medici] so near the Tiber.'
Waagen 1854, vol. 3, p. 460, Letter XXXIII, 'Broughton Hall' [Boughton]: 'A landscape, which has unfortunately suffered much injury'; C.H. Scott, Catalogue of the Pictures at Boughton House, 1911, no. 166 (date incorrectly noted as 1755); Ford 1952, p. 311, fig. 5; WGC, pp. 205-206, pl. 88a
This painting has been used as a pendant to P124 of similar size and also at Boughton. However, the frame is different in design and there is no evidence of the paintings' joint acquisition.
Backed with hardboard. Restored by Messrs Haines, 1888. Cleaned by Lionel Freeman, 1949 during which the signature was tested and found to be contemporary with the painting. There is considerable retouching in areas of sky at the left and right, also intermittent retouching in other areas of the sky. There is incipient flaking of the paint layer in these areas. The central section of trees between the branches has been repainted and so have the edges of the foliage at the left of the central canopy.

Kate Lowry has noted:
Oil on fairly coarse, simple weave canvas. Paste relined either in the 1950's or later in the 1970's. A label on backboard suggests some treatment at this later date. Relining treatment included the removal of the turnover edges, but the remains of the original white ground are still visible at the top edge. The painting has also been cleaned and retouched. In normal light extensive lifting and flaking of paint is visible in the sky, possibly stabilised by the relining but not flat. Under UV light a large area of sky to the left and right of the main foliage mass has been retouched along with the left edge of the foliage; tree trunks have also been strengthened. There are minor small drying cracks in the foreground.
29/07/2019