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Lake Avernus - II (Lake Avernus with a Sarcophagus)
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
Ascribed to Wilson
Lake Avernus - II (Lake Avernus with a Sarcophagus)
c.1764 ( undated)
Oil on canvas
21.6 x 29.2 cm
8 1/2 x 11 1/2 in.
NMW A 5191
P123D
In the left foreground stands a pine tree. On the right is an ancient stone sarcophagus with two figurec. A lake stretches out behind and on its further shore are wooded slopes with two ruined towers.
Perhaps John Constable sale, Foster's, London 15-16 May 1838 (24 - An Italian Landscape, manner of Richard Wilson); ... Trustees of the George Hilditch Will sale, Christie's 27 July 1934 (26); bt National Museum Wales
Unsigned, inscription verso
The free technique can be explained only by the work's status as an oil-sketch. The double layer of white ground with intermediate size layer is the typical commercial ground found in Wilson's works. Underdrawing is partly visible in infra-red imaging and its style is comparable with Wilson's drawing style. The pigments found are also those normally used by Wilson.
[1] Inscribed on the stretcher bar in ink in a 19th century hand: R.Wilson / Presented by Sir George Beaumont / July 1812 to J. Constable and / [illegible =] sold (?) at his sale
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402
WGC, p. 195, pl. 70b
Sir George Beaumont was possibly a pupil and certainly an admirer and advocate of Wilson. He acquired several of his paintings including P90B The Destruction of Niobe's Children, formerly National Gallery London, destroyed by enemy action in 1944.
Kate Lowry has noted: Original linen canvas has simple coarse weave; turnovers removed at time of lining. Glue-lined onto fine weave linen. Pine stretcher dates from lining. Off-white, smooth, oil preparation covering all of canvas and most of the canvas weave. Cross-sections show the ground is made up of two layers of chalk and lead white with intermediate size layer. Oil paint thickly applied throughout with some impasto in the sky, in clouds and in sarcophagus. Underdrawing is visible in IR in distant hills and trees at left.