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Dinas Bran Castle, near Llangollen - II
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782) and later intervention
Dinas Bran Castle, near Llangollen - II
After 1771 (undated)
Oil on canvas
108.6 x 146.7 cm
42 3/4 x 57 3/4 in.
NMW A 3277
P167
The fortress stands on a high wooded hill in the middle distance with a flat valley and mountains beyond. In the foreground groups of peasants rest by a bridge over a torrent, with tall trees left and right.
Arts Council 1946, Masterpieces from Welsh Houses National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth (??)
Reputedly belonged to the French King, Louis-Philippe; Hollingsworth sale, Christie's 11 March 1882 (105 - Wynnstay Park), bt in; said to have belonged to an anonymous Flintshire owner; Watkin William; purchased by the National Museum of Wales, 1919.
Unsigned; no inscription
The support is unusual, being a twill rather than a simple weave cloth and the single cream coloured ground is also uncommon in Wilson's work. However, both the X-ray evidence and the style of painting indicate that it is from his hand.
[1] Label on frame:
Welsh Arts Council / Exhibition: Richard Wilson / Artist: Richard Wilson / Title: Dinas Bran, Near Llangollen II / Owner: National Museum of Wales Cat. 3
Dinas Bran near Llangollen in Denbighshire is located near the River Dee, but is hemmed in by hills, rather than near a coastal plain, as depicted here.
D374 Castell Dinas Bran, Wales, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
D374A Dinas Bran from Llangollen, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
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Old accession number:19.101
Old registration number: 214
1919.1
Pennant 1784, vol. 1, pp. 297-98; The Connoisseur, April 1923; 'Wilson at Wynnstay', Connoisseur, vol. 145, February 1960, p. 46; WGC, p. 176, pl. 36b; Hernon 2013, p. 10, pl. 12B; Wilson and Europe, pp. 197-98
An X-ray shows that the present positioning of the hill at the left side of the composition is an alteration of the original layout, that there were buildings on the side of the hill and possibly a waterfall at the left edge of the composition. No reserve was left for the trees at left or right, indicating that these were not part of the original composition. Infra-red shows a wayside shrine behind and to the left of the figure group, which appears in Wilson's Tivoli compositions. It is thus likely that this painting was begun as a view of Tivoli, abandoned and then completed after 1771, using a study of Dinas Bran.