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A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - III)
Private Collection / Photograph by Matthew Hollow
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - III)
c.1764 (undated)
Oil on canvas
124.6 x 105 cm
49 1/16 x 41 5/16 in.
Private Collection, England
P95A
An Italianate rural landscape, with a high foreground overlooking a wide river with two trees and a fallen trunk to the left and two boys fishing to the right. In the middle distance is a broad stretch of water with a rocky cliff in the background to the right, surmounted by a castle. There is a shallow bank to the left, with hazy plains and mountains in the distance. This imaginative scene is framed on the left by graceful tree trunks, which punctuate the sky. The delicate light, conveyed through soft colouring, is reflected in the river and enhances the sense of space.
With Anthony Mould London; 1998, bought by present owner
Inscribed on rock lower left: PC [?] RW
Broadly painted. Note the mask-like face of the standing fisherboy who holds an eel. His hands are clumsy and pink a la Wilson. Broad impasto of cream of the clouds. There is Gainsboroughesque underpainting present, for example in the booted legs of the lying figure. His face and profile are blanked out in pink. The trees on the left are painted in reserves but there is some uncertainty of touch in the upper parts of their foliage. Underdrawing is discernible along the right upper side of the front tree trunk; also in parts of the right and left hand trees, straightened in places. Good atmospheric background detail, for example the boats. The horizon line is drawn down, especially on the left side of the mountain. Overall the picture is thickly impastoed in some places and very thinly painted in others, such as the right foreground.
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Charles Towne (1763-1840), Landscape, Easton Neston
Wilson spent much of the 1750s in Italy and produced paintings of Italian scenes for the rest of his life. However, he also painted views of his native Wales and it is sometimes difficult to be sure, as with this painting, whether he meant to evoke the Arno, the Po, the Tiber or the Dee valley. The composition is similar to that found in many of his views, combining topographical detail, often studied in North Wales and Cheshire, with some artistic licence. There are many surviving versions of this picture - an archetypal 'good breeder'.
WGC, p. 214 under pl. 101a
The title, A Summer Evening was Wilson's own for P95, given in a letter of 18 December 1764 to James Massey, agent of John Lees (see E. Johnston: 'A Wilson for Manchester', Burlington Magazine, vol. 112, August 1970, p. 535). The work has also been known as River View on the Arno.
Cleaned and relined 1998. Some blue retouching in the sky. There are stretcher marks on all sides of the canvas about 2 in. Craquelure is normal. Earlier gilded frame supplied by present owner.