376 Items No items selected
Sandpit in a Glade (Landscape in the Villa Chigi, Ariccia)
Private Collection, England / Photograph by Mark Box
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Sandpit in a Glade (Landscape in the Villa Chigi, Ariccia)
By 5 June 1770 (undated)
Oil on canvas
72.3 x 98 cm
28 7/16 x 38 9/16 in.
Private Collection, England
P170
A woodland glade is shown with ruins on a hill in the middle distance. In the left foreground, there is a ruin with a flight of steps partly hidden by trees, with another clump of trees to the right. A clearing is at the centre and three figures can be seen by a ruined archway near a sandpit with trees on higher ground beyond.
BI 1814 (127/130 A Woody Scene or 144/147 A Landscape); probably BI 1848 (131 or 139 both View in Wales); Manchester 1857 (Modern Masters, 151 View in Wales or 162 Welch Landscape); Arts Council 1946, Some Masterpieces from Welsh Houses (13)
Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn; by descent; Sotheby's 5 February 1947 (46 Woodland Glade with two figures near a torrent), bt Appleby; G.P. Dudley Wallis, London; Sotheby's 18 April 1951 (138), bt Croft; Christie's 28 June 1963 (63); Lady Mackintosh with Oscar & Peter Johnson, Lowndes Gallery London; bt 15 February 1966 present owner
Unsigned; no inscription
It was not possible to be sure of the colour of the original priming or ground but the general tone of the whole painting is dark and a warm brown underpaint underlies all of the landscape and foliage masses. There is no sign of any reserve around the foliage masses against the sky but an impasto of white cloud is painted down to the foliage against the sky at the centre of the composition.
[1] Gilded metal label in centre of lower member of frame: LANDSCAPE IN THE VILLA CHIGI / ARICCIA / RICHARD WILSON R.A.
Before the publication of Constable 1954, the location of this painting and P171 (see 'Related Paintings') was assumed to be a Welsh landscape, probably one of 'two small views in Wales' mentioned by Benjamin Booth as hanging in the new Williams-Wynn house at St James's Square London (Booth Notes, document 4).
Pendant: P171 A View in the Villa Chigi at Ariccia, Faringdon Collection Trust, Buscot Park, National Trust
Constable noted Waterhouse's description of the work as 'an attempt at native variation on a theme popular in Dutch painting - a patch of sunlight in a deep woodland glade. But Wilson carelessly painted it over a landscape - perhaps with Italian ruins which he did not trouble fully to eliminate.'
Invoice from Wilson 5 June 1770, National Library of Wales, Box 115; Booth Notes, Doc. 4; WGC, pp. 47, 88, 184, pl. 53a; Constable 1954, p. 140
A document in the Wynnstay papers in Wilson's hand is headed 'Sir Watkin Williams-wynn Bart to Richd. Wilson Dr. June 5th 1770'. It contains two entries that seem to refer to this painting and P91+1: 'To a Landskip taken in the Villa Ghigi at Lariccia "26:6:0' and 'Its Companion £26:6:0'
Relined and in an original carved gilt frame with minor damages and repairs to centre bottom and lower right rebate. Unglazed, not backed. According to Constable, when the painting was cleaned after the 1947 sale it proved to be in good condition and the 'torrent' was revealed to be a sandpit, hence the new title.

Kate Lowry has noted:
Original support is simple weave medium-weight linen canvas, now lined onto a close weave fabric with glue-paste adhesive. This treatment was perhaps carried out at the time of cleaning in 1947. Original turnovers were not examined; possibly these were removed at time of relining. Lining treatment has flattened the paint texture throughout somewhat. The four member pine stretcher, which has square mortice joints with provision for keying out, probably dates from the relining. Lining is in good condition. It was not possible to be sure of the colour of the original priming or ground, but the general tone of the whole painting is dark and a warm brown underpaint underlies all of the landscape and foliage masses. There is no sign of any reserve around the foliage masses against the sky, but an impasto of white cloud is painted down to the foliage against the sky at the centre of the composition. The foliage of the trees is very dark and appears to have been augmented in places with regular dots of lighter colour, possibly by a later hand. These underlie the present varnish. Under UV light minor retouches over the present varnish are visible in the foliage against the sky at upper right and in foreground foliage at lower right. Extensive areas of filling and retouching are present down the right hand edge of the painting and particularly at the top right corner in sky which can be observed in raking light where cracks have lifted. A large old fill and retouch is also present in the sandpit above and behind the central rock. Minor retouches strengthen the figures. Some drying cracks in foreground darks. Vection cracks are visible in upper right sky formed along the inside edge of the stretcher. General condition is sound.