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Syon House from Richmond Gardens II - Evening
Private Collection, England / Photograph by John Hammond
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Syon House from Richmond Gardens II - Evening
c.1761 (undated)
Oil on canvas
34.3 x 41.2 cm
13 1/2 x 16 1/2 in.
Private Collection, England
BB17
P88D
BI 1814 (206 View on the River Thames, lent Lady Ford); Brighton 1920 (15); London 1925 (15); Manchester 1925 (23); Exeter 1946 (68); Birmingham 1948-49 (30); London 1949 (29); London 1951-52 (27); on loan to Kenwood, 1959-60; London 1968 (5); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982 (92); Conwy 2009 (14); Weston 2011 (16); Gainsborough's House 2014 (unnumbered)
Apparently not commissioned by the owner of Syon House, Hugh Smithson, later Percy (1712-1786), 1st Duke of Northumberland. Benjamin Booth; the Revd R.S. Booth; Lady Ford; Richard Ford; Sir Francis Clare Ford; John G. Ford; Sir Brinsley Ford; thence by descent
Unsigned
Syon House, situated on the banks of the Thames near Brentford, had been in the possession of the Percy family since 1604. The Earl of Northumberland (created duke in October 1766) embarked on a scheme of fitting up the apartments in the grandest classical manner in 1762. This refurbishment, not fully realised, took seven years during which time the park surrounding the house was refashioned by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Robert Adam's designs for the remodelling of the interior were published as vol. 1 of his Works in Architecture in 1773. However, there is no evidence of any ducal patronage of Wilson and this scene was probably intended as generic rather than as the portrait of a private estate.
E72/13 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Sion Park and House on Thames from Richmond Gardens, The British Museum (1854,0708.70) and other impressions
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[1] George Lambert View of Copped Hall in Essex, from the Park, 1746, Tate, London
[2] Thomas Hastings, One of the Great Ponds between Hampstead and Highgate, London, looking towards the Surrey Hills, 1831, Bank of England, London (1141)
Wilson produced a number of views of country houses following his return to England from Italy on 1757. Here however he has expressed the classical connotations of the area in pictorial terms by using a compositional formula plus a warm sunset colouring, which overtly recall the works of Claude Lorrain. The work is tentatively datable to c.1761 from Booth Doc. 9, referring to 'Sion House from old Richmond Gardens painted [?] when the road was turned by Kew in 1761.'
Booth Notes Doc. 5, p. 2; Booth Notes Doc. 8; Booth Notes Doc. 9 (11); Rutter 1923, p. 92; Bury 1947, pl. 11; WGC, pp. 92, 185-86, pl. 54b; Herrmann 1973, p. 58, pl. 52; Solkin 1982, pp. 204-205; Walpole Society 1998, I, pp. 15-16, BB17; Lord 2009 p. 55 no. 14; Williams 2011 (16); A. Aymonino, 'The Cult of Antiquity', Country Life, vol. 209, no. 4, 21 January 2015, pp. 38-47
In the early 1760s Wilson painted numerous English scenes, especially of the Thames Valley. Because of its long-standing connection with royalty and more recent association with literary figures, including James Thomson, Alexander Pope and other leading poets, the area round Syon, Richmond and Twickenham had acquired a literary reputation as England's 'classic ground', redolent of history and high culture. Private estates near London, like Syon, were frequently compared with the villa-retreats of the ancient Romans.
05/12/2018