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Celadon and Amelia
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
William Woollett (1735-1785) and John Browne (1741-1801) after Wilson
Celadon and Amelia
1766
Etching and engraving on laid paper
445 x 549 mm
17 1/2 x 21 5/8 in.
NMW A 11009
E18G
Celadon at the centre, looks to the heavens with his arms outstretched in disbelief and grief; Amelia lies dead at his feet. In the background stands a house before which a shepherd drives his sheep up a hill, at the summit of which is a fortress. To the right, a bay with stormy seas and a broken bridge are discernible in the flash of lightning.
Unrecorded
Lettered below the image:
[1] Left: R. Wilson pinxit Londini
[2] Right: Browne Aqua forti fecit Woollett sculpt
The subject derives from The Seasons by the Scottish poet and playwright, James Thomson (1700-1748) - specifically Summer (ll. 1191 ff.), first published in 1727
D135 Broken Trees on a Mountain, The British Museum
D362 Study for Celadon and Amelia, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
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The engraving is of an unlocated painting exhibited by Wilson at the Society of Artists in 1765 (157), entitled A Summer Storm with the Story of the Two Lovers from Thompson (Celadon and Amelia). Its original owner is cited as William Lock of Norbury, the artist's travelling companion from Venice to Rome 15 years previously. Solkin has described the subject as a modern, English, Christian equivalent to the 'Destruction of the Children of Niobe' (see P90 and other versions), noting that such a moral theme was well suited to a landscape painter of Wilson's Grand Style pretensions. The design appropriately recalls storm scenes by Gaspard Dughet and mountain views by Salvator Rosa, both of whom were admired by Thomson.
69.219
Fagan 1885, p. 26 cat. LVII, 5th State; WGC, p.165 under pl. 24b; Solkin 1982, pp. 220-21 (entry on one of several impressions at the British Museum); S. Mitchell, 'James Thomson's Picture Collection and British History Painting', Journal of the History of Collections, vol. 23, no. 1 (2011), pp. 127-28; Wilson and Europe 2014, p. 284 (entry on E18, an impression at YCBA)
WGC notes that a line engraving of the composition, published in France by J.J. Avril (1771-1835) and derived from the Woollett engraving, in earlier impressions has the name of Wilson as painter but substitutes that of Vernet in later impressions.
Trimmed to platemark. Slight discolouration overall. Ink [?] stain lower right; some scuffing upper left.
08/02/2017