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The Bridge of Augustus at Rimini
Private Collection, Yorkshire / Photograph by Jerry Hardman-Jones
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Bridge of Augustus at Rimini
c.1758-59 (undated)
Oil on canvas
47 x 72.4 cm
18 1/2 x 28 1/2 in.
Private Collection, Yorkshire
The Ponte d'Augusto crosses the River Marecchia at Rimini and in the distance is the hill of the republic of San Marino. The bridge, with two buildings at one end to the left, spans the centre of the composition, the river extending from it to fill most of the left foreground. Above its banks at the left, in shadow, some buildings can be seen. In the right foreground, beyond a bank of low rocks, is a shelving beach in sunlight, on which a woman and a kneeling man handle some washing. To the left another kneeling figure washes linen in the river. A dense clump of trees stands on the right. Beyond the bridge rises a low ridge, with a hill in the background.
SA 1761 (135 - a version); York, Yorkshire Loan Exhibition August 1934 (39, lent St Quintin); York, Masterpieces from Yorkshire Houses, 1951 (52 - Italian Landscape with a Bridge, lent Malone); Leicester 1953 (78); London, Royal Academy, Italian Art and Britain, 1960 (169)
Probably purchased by Sir William St Quintin (c.1700-1770); by descent to Mrs M. L'Estrange Malone; thence by descent
Ornate signature scratched into the brown paint lower right: RW [monogram]
Saturated colours with sumptuous blues in the sky, painted over a pink ground. There are pentiments of upright trees visible through the light band immediately behind the bridge at the right.
[1] On upper horizontal member of frame in black ink in an old hand: 63
The Ponte d'Augusto, built by the Emperor Augustus, leads out of Rimini near the triumphal arch (also dedicated to him), across the River Marecchia, to the ancient Via Emilia linking Rimini and Bologna.Commenced in AD13, a year before the emperor's death, it was completed later by his successor, Tiberius. With five arches, it was built of white Istrian limestone.
D41 Tate, London
D41A Private Collection, England
D46 Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
E38 Joseph Farington, Twelve Etchings of Views in Italy - Bridge of Augustus at Rimini, 1776
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Pendant: P70 Torre delle Grotte near Naples, Private Collection, Yorkshire
Based on drawings made on the spot between 1753 and 1757. The details of the architecture hint at Canaletto. The scene is populated with well observed and well painted figures, the two in the foreground engaged in taking washing out of the basket while to the left a third is washing linen in the river.
Perhaps Brettingham Account Book, p. 42; E.K. Waterhouse, 'Exhibitions of Old Masters at Newcastle, York and Perth', Burlington Magazine, vol. 93, August 1951, p. 262; WGC, pp. 45, 71, 82, 211-12, pl. 99a
One of a pair acquired by Sir William St Quintin, 4th Baronet, recorded in an account book of 1759 as 'A Picture Wilson 13 gns'
In original gilt frame. Kate Lowry has noted: Oil on canvas, glue relined, and on a five member stretcher probably dating from the relining treatment. Pink coloured ground with bright reddish brown under-paint in lower right foreground. Figures are neatly painted. Foliage also quite precise; no obvious reserve left for the foliage against sky. Slight pentiment visible of poplar tree painted out in distant landscape above and beyond the right hand side of the bridge. Sky appears to be painted with Prussian rather than Ultramarine blue.