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A Summer Evening River View ('On the Arno'- IV)
Southampton City Art Gallery / The Bridgeman Art Library
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
A Summer Evening River View ('On the Arno'- IV)
c.1765 (undated)
Oil on canvas
126.4 x 209.5 cm
49 3/4 x 82 1/2 in.
1298
P98
The bend of a river with a peasant fishing and his wife with baby seated in the foreground. To their left is a figure in a boat partly obscured by the bank and beyond the river is a towered building on high ground.
Manchester 1857 (Modern Masters, 39 - View on the Arno) lent J.W. Russell; Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, Loan Exhibition of Pictures from Lockinge House, 1934-35 (4); Manchester Art Gallery, Art Treasures revisited, 6 October 2007 - 27 January 2008; Tercentenary 2014 (99)
Thomas Barnett, Parthenon, New Bond Street; bt August 1818 by Sir John Fleming Leicester, created Lord de Tabley, 1826 (receipt dated 22 August for part payment of £112 in Tabley House papers; purchase completed 1819 for £367-10s. in total ); Christie's 7 July 1827 (55 View on the Arno), bt Watts Russell (470 guineas); Jesse Watts Russell, Ilam Hall, sold 3 July 1875 (33 View on the Arno), bt Agnew (#9624); 5 July 1875, Lord Overstone; by descent to Lord Wantage; A. Thomas Loyd, Lockinge House, as View on the Tiber, sold Sotheby's 28 November 1945 (102), bt Leggatt; with Leggatt as View on the Tiber; with Agnew as Tivoli; bt 1946 by Southampton City Art Gallery, through the Frederick William Smith Bequest Fund
Unsigned; no inscription
[1] Agnew's label on stretcher: 11912
E71/3 John Young after Wilson, A View on the Arno, The British Museum
Possible pendant: P90D Studio of Wilson, Apollo destroying the Children of Niobe, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA
Wright of Derby, Lake of Nemi, Sunset, c.1780-82, Private Collection
Wright of Derby, Lake of Nemi, oval, c.1782, Private Collection
Wright of Derby, Lake of Nemi, Sunset, c.1780-82, Private Collection
This is one of Wilson's finest achievements in landscape painting, of majestic scale and painted in an unusally high and intense colour register. Existing in multiple variants, it is also a good example of the variety of titles given to his most popular works, which in the present instance have identified the location as at Tivoli, on the Tiber and on the Arno. The title View on the Arno was first recorded by Carey in 1819, but could well be a corruption of 'Anio', the river that runs past Tivoli and these days is usually called the Aniene. Robin Simon has noted that the Campagna around Tivoli does offer views that resemble features in the present composition, notably the Benedictine convent of S. Cosimato at Vicovaro on the Anio. However, it is as likely that the scene was intended as generic rather than topographical.
W. Carey, A Descriptive Catalogue of a Collection of Paintings by British Artists in the Possession of Sir John Fleming Leicester, Bart., 1819, no. 22; J. Young, A Catalogue of Pictures by British Artists in the Possession of Sir John Fleming Leicester, Bart, with etchings from the whole collection, 1821, pp. 10, no. 22 (A View on the Arno, repr.) & 122, no. 114; A.G. Temple, Catalogue of Pictures forming the Collection of Lord and Lady Wantage, 1905, no. 258 (the river described as the Tiber, the buildings left as Acqua Acetosa and the hills as the Alban Hills); WGC, p. 215, pl. 101b; D. Hall, 'Tabley House Papers: Catalogue of Pictures belonging to Sir John Leicester (Lord de Tabley)', Walpole Society vol. 28, 1962, pp. 102 & 104, nos 221 & 247; B. Nicolson, Joseph Wright of Derby, vol. 2, 1968, pp. 250-51, cats. 252 & 254; Wilson and Europe 2014, pp. 282-83
This is almost certainly the picture that John Constable praised enthusiastically when he visited the collection of Sir John Fleming Leicester. There is a possibility that it was purchased by Sir John as a replacement for P90D Studio of Wilson, Apollo destroying the Children of Niobe , Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA., which had left his collection by 1803. In 1821 Young recorded P126 as hanging in the Gallery of Sir John Fleming Leciester's London house.
Kate Lowry has noted: Original simple weave linen canvas, c12 threads per square cm. Glue lined onto similar weave canvas before it entered Southampton's collection in 1950s. Condition of lining is good. Original canvas also in good condition with one small tear mentioned in conservation record at lower edge towards right, in foliage to left of upright log. Pine stretcher with square mortice joints and provision for keying out, probably dating from the relining treatment. Pale grey commercially prepared ground visible at left and right hand edges where not covered by paint layers. Pale red brown underpaint visible where left exposed around branches and foliage of right hand tree against sky and also beneath the thin blue of the river at centre bottom.
Underdrawing of the figures is visible in normal light, and also in IR according to the conservation record.
Oil medium with no evidence of glazing. There is extensive wrinkling of paint in sky in right hand half of the painting possibly caused by overheating in lining. Paint application is typical of Wilson with thick opaque paint of sky being drawn down to outline the buildings and mountains, and with the foliage masses placed over underpaint layer, leaving some of it exposed. Less typical is the general high tone of the work produced by the strong contrasts of ginger brown and blue in the buildings at upper left and the use of a bright yellow to point up the distant mountains, the trees at upper left and the foliage centre bottom.The work was cleaned 2008-9 and the present varnish is a clear synthetic coating.
R. Lister, British Romantic Paintings, Cambridge University Press, 1989