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The Thames near Marble Hill, Twickenham
Tate, London 2014
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Thames near Marble Hill, Twickenham
c.1762 (undated)
Oil on canvas
46.4 x 73 cm
18 1/4 x 28 3/4 in.
N04874
P89A
The view is taken from the south side of the Thames near Petersham and shows the prospect upstream towards Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, with the pediment of Marble Hill House visible through the trees to the right. In the foreground a man is leaning against a tree with another, evidently a swimmer, seated next to him. To their left a laden barge is sailing downstream while two horses and a rider head in the opposite direction on the near bank. Beyond, the afternoon sun breaks through fleecy clouds, which are reflected in the water.
BI 1814 (200/204 - Small landscape, lent John Knight, Esq.); Manchester 1857 (Modern Masters, 37 - View on the Thames near Marble Hill); BI 1866 (148); Birmingham 1948-49 (37); London 1949 (36); Hamburg 1949-50 (116)
John Knight (1767-1850), Lea Castle, Wolverley, Worcestershire, 52 Portland Place, London, and Simonsbath House, Exmoor; sold Christie's 24 March 1819 (152 - A Small Landscape); William Beckford; sold Fonthill sale, 26th Day, 14 October 1823 (243); Duke of Newcastle, Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, passed to Earl of Lincoln; sold Christie's 4 June 1937 (124, repr. sale catalogue), purchased by the National Gallery; transferred to the Tate Gallery, 1955
Signed in monogram lower left centre: RW [monogram, the R reversed]
Drying oil on primed and stretched canvas (linen); coarse weave. A large style in a small picture. Beautiful details include the figures, swans and fence.
[1] Stamp, upper horizontal member of stretcher: 592GK
From stretcher:
[1] His Grace the Duke of Newcastle [C19 script];
[2] City of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. R. Wilson | The Thames at Twickenham | lent by the National Gallery, London | 37 [K. Garlick's handwriting];
[3] British Council Fine Arts Department | Scandinavia 1949-50 British Painting 1949-50 no. 116
The Thames at Twickenham was a fashionable location, which had attracted painters from the 1720s. The region had come to acquire an elevated status by the third quarter of the 18th century from the presence and publications of Alexander Pope, who made Twickenham his home from 1719 until his death in 1744 and was much involved in the planning of the gardens at Marble Hill. As a Palladian villa, Marble Hill House could claim kinship with both the great Venetian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-80) and the architectural heritage of ancient Rome. Later Sir Joshua Reynolds was amongst those who lived in the area.
E72/31 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, On the Thames, The British Museum (1854,0708.88)
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Peter Tillemans (c.1684-1734), View of the Thames at Twickenham, c.1720-25, Richmond upon Thames Borough Art Collection, Orleans House, London
This painting is cooler in tone with a more liberal use of cool green and blue-green than P89 (Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery). The large number of versions confirms this as one of Wilson's most popular English subjects. P89A is one of four versions known to have been painted by him. A further twelve copies dating from the 18th and 19th centuries have also been identified.
4874
Catalogue 1814, p. 22; Waagen 1857, p. 511 - 'A landscape with a piece of water. Very attractive'; Davies 1946, pp. 179-80, cat. 4874; Davies 1959, pp. 106-107; WGC p. 187 under pl. 57a; Solkin 2015, pp. 213-14
Marble Hill House was built for Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk and mistress of King George II. Roger Morris oversaw the construction of the house, which was completed in 1729. It was later occupied by Mrs Fitzherbert, mistress and morganatic wife of King George IV.
Dimensions in frame: 62.5 x 89.5 x 8.5 cm. Drying cracks in the sky have been retouched and there may be something underneath.
Kate Lowry has noted: Reserve around foliage against the sky at right. Old drying cracks in the sky have been retouched and these have blanched slightly.
23/03/2021