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The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii
Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts. / The Bridgeman Art Library
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii
Oil on canvas
48.5 x 74.3 cm
19 1/8 x 29 1/4 in.
The tomb is on the Via Appia Nuova, just beyond Albano on the way to Ariccia. Only two of its towers now survive. Here it is shown standing on sandy ground with the road running past to the left. A coach and horses are passing along it in a cloud of dust and in the distance figures disappear into the woodland. A goatherd with his dog, a flock of goats and a kid cross the foreground from the left and there are trees behind the tomb and in the background.
SA 1760 (73); Birmingham 1948-9 (53, lent Earl of Pembroke); London 1949 (52, lent Earl of Pembroke)
Probably bt by Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke (d. 1794) or his son, George (d. 1827)
Unsigned; no inscription
The clouds are thinly painted and unsatisfactory, especially at the left. The figures are tiny and the colour concentrated within them. The trees are very misty and undifferentiated while the goats are very close to those in P87 Ariccia - II, Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wiltshire
[1] On the back of the canvas is painted in black letters in a late 18th century or early 19th century hand: 'Pembroke House. Wilson. Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii'
The tomb near Albano is in the Etruscan manner, a massive cube originally surmounted by five obtuse cones of which two are still standing.
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Watercolours: [1] Giovanni Battista Lusieri, View of Lake Averno, 1786, Christie's New York, 29 January 2015 (112)
Differences with P61A and P61A include the presence of only one figure by the tomb. The flock and goatherd are similar to those depicted in P87 Ariccia II in the same collection
WGC, p. 203-4, pl. 82b; S. Pembroke, A Catalogue of the Paintings and Drawings in the Collection at Wilton House, Salisbury, Wltshire, 1968, p. 36, cat. 89
There is no record of when the painting came to Wilton and it is not mentioned in Sidney, Earl of Pembroke and Sir Neville Rodwell Wilkinson,Wilton House Pictures, 1907. P61, P87 and P87A together with a pastoral by Francesco Zuccarelli form part of a set of four paintings at Wilton House in identical carved and gilded wooden frames. George Richardson in his 'Aedes Pembrochianae' (London 1774) mentions a 'Landscape by Wilson', which could be any of the first three. The tomb provided the model for at least two 18th century garden structures in Britain
Cleaned, blisters secured and repaired in 1936 and 1962. Relined 2006 by Richard Watkiss.