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Pastoral Scene with Musicians by a classical Ruin
Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Pastoral Scene with Musicians by a classical Ruin
Early 1770s (undated)
Oil on canvas
68.8 x 50.8 cm
27 1/16 x 20 in.
WA1962.17.30
P177C
[?] BI 1814 184/187 (A landscape; Birmingham 1948-9 (39); London 1949 (38); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (139)
Charles Lambert; Christie's 7 March 1812 (93 A Landscape with a Tower a rich and brilliant specimen), bt Samuel Rogers for £52.10s; Rogers sale, Christie's 2 May 1856 (582 or 696), bt Radclyffe or Bayly respectively; Baroness Burdett-Coutts; Christie's 4 May 1922 (81), bt Hibbard or Hubbard; Mrs F.L. Evans; bequeathed by Francis Falconer Madan, 1962
Unsigned; no inscription
[1] Stretcher inscribed: 'Miss Burdett Coutts & (45) Wilson'
[1] 'Samuel Rogers - mentioned in Farington's Diaries'
A version was early identified with the ruins near Baiae just north of Naples but the scene is probably an evocation of pastoral contentment rather than being topographically accurate. This area did serve as a vehicle for visual amalgamations of Roman glory on the one hand and Arcadian perfection on the other.
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This is a fragment of a larger canvas, seemingly cut in two during the 19th century. The other piece is P177B River Scene with Castle, Victoria & Albert Museum. If the two works were to be reunited, with the present work on the left, they would form a less than complete version of P177 River Mouth with Peasants dancing , Neue Pinakothek, Munich. Solkin noted that the missing areas include a narrow vertical strip between the two fragments and at least 2 1/2 in. of sky in P177B. Confusingly, another version of the entire composition is in the Victoria & Albert Museum (P177A).
A988
[?] Catalogue 1814, p. 21; Hazlitt 1843-44, p. lxvii, no. 62 Landscape - a tower on the near right; [?] Cook & Wedderburn, vol. 3, p. 189; WGC, p. 217, pl. 105b; Herrmann 1973, p. 54, pl. 45; Solkin 1982, pp. 243-45; The Ashmolean Museum: Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings, 2004, p. 245
Dimensions in frame: 87.8 x 69.8 x 8.5 cm. Relined. The varnish appears to be thick, even and glossy. Under it appears to be an earlier discoloured (yellowed) varnish, which has losses in places, giving a patchy appearance to the sky, where blue retouchings are visible. Unspecified damage is mentioned on an undated photograph in the curatorial file. Carved wooden frame; not glazed or backed.
28/08/2018