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The River Dee near Eaton Hall (View of the River Dee, near Eaton Hall, Cheshire)
Tyntesfield, National Trust
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The River Dee near Eaton Hall (View of the River Dee, near Eaton Hall, Cheshire)
c.1760 (undated)
Oil on canvas
61 x 73.7 cm
24 x 29 in.
The view is near Eaton Hall, Cheshire. According to Howson (see Westminster 1874) it is 'seen from a well-known point of view not very far below the point where the tributary joins the main river.' The river extends from the left foreground to the centre middle distance and is bordered on both sides by trees and bushes. At a bend in the middle distance, there is a cottage and in a field to the left, cows are grazing. A tree in the right foreground extends its branches nearly halfway across the picture. Distant hills are seen on the left and the sky is yellow with the sunset. The direction seems to be downstream, towards the northwest, Chester and the distant hills of Wales.The setting may be partly imaginary, however, as the mood is one of evening, which the direction of the sun does not support.
David Garrick (as A Landscape with View of the Tiber, with figures on a bank in the front ground, angling); Mrs David Garrick, Eva Marie Violetti (1724-1822); her sale, Christie's 23 June 1823 (A Landscape, View on the Tiber) (61), bt Lambton for £89.5.0 (85 guineas); by descent to John Lambton, 5th Earl of Durham, Lambton Castle; sold by Anderson and Garland, 18 April 1932 as View on the Tiber (79); Sotheby Parke Bernet, London 17 March 1982 (66 - Anglers by the River Dee); Good Golly Products, sold Christies 18 November 1983 (76), bt 2nd Lord Wraxall
Unsigned; no inscription
Some possible reserving-out showing a grey ground, upper right.
The artist's home territory on the Welsh-English border provides the backdrop to an evening courtship scene, its gently amorous mood reflected by the two swans in the river, at the lower left. Eaton Hall was the country seat of the first Earl Grosvenor.
D354 The Banks of the River Dee near Eaton Hall Cheshire, Art Institute of Chicago, Leonora Hall Gurley Collection
E25 Thomas Morris after Wilson, The Banks of the River Dee near Eaton, Cheshire, The British Museum & other impressions
E71/1 John Young after Wilson, View on the River Dee, near Eaton Hall, The British Museum
see 'Links' tab
P111 The Valley of the Dee with Chester in the Distance, The National Gallery, London
The focus is a scene of gentle dalliance between the man and woman in the foreground, whose meaning is intensified by the symbolism of the eel and the exposed back of the woman.
Westminster 1874; WGC, p. 174, pl. 34a, b, c II (5)
The present work is one of several versions with anglers in the foreground. It has only two figures, one male with a rod who has caught an eel and is showing it, still on the line, to his companion, a girl with bare top, seen from behind. Discarded drapery is piled at her left. Eaton Hall was the country seat of the 1st Earl Grosvenor who might have commissioned, and certainly owned, a version without anglers now in the Barber Institute (P86).
Dimensions of frame: 85.2 x 98.2 cm.
Kate Lowry has noted: Although a specific reserve around the foliage masses against the sky was not observable, this could be because this is a small scale composition. The grey tone of the ground appears between the tree trunks and foliage at right hand side with a thin brown glaze over. Effective orange pink sky gives the evening effect. Figures in foreground may be intended as a courting couple, with the man fishing.