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Cilgerran Castle (Kilgerran Castle)
Courtesy of the President and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Cilgerran Castle (Kilgerran Castle)
c.1765 (undated)
Oil on canvas
50.8 x 73.7 cm
20 x 29 in.
A view of the River Teifi directly upstream to a bank at the end, at the foot of which is a lime-kiln, with smoke drifting away to the left. In the foreground a fisherman on a rock turns towards some rapids in the river. A great sunlit cumulus cloud fills the distant sky. There is a little fishing boat in the mid-right distance and tiny figures outside the castle walls top left and on the cliff path, lower right.
BI 1849 (91), lent Sir R.W. Vaughan; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, indefinite loan by Canon Chesshire
Sir Robert Howel Vaughan of Nannau and Hengwrt, North Wales; by descent to Sir Robert Williames Vaughan, 3rd Baronet, M.P., Sheriff of Merionethshire, of Nannau, 1849; his deceased sale by William Dew of Bangor at Rhug, Merionethshire, 2 August, 1859 (460 - 'View of Cilgeran [sic] Castle (Engraved by Woollett')); bt Joseph Gillott, penmaker of Birmingham; his sale, 26 April 1872 (228 - 'Kilgarren Castle, South Wales, with engraving by Elliott'); bt William Cox for Joseph Gillott Jr (£53 11s.); presented by Gillott Jr to his friend and neighbour, John Chesshire of Rothes Park, Birmingham; by descent to his grandson, Canon R.S.P. Chesshire, Rector of Areley Kings, near Stourport; with Spink ; bt Col. R.H.R. Brocklebank, June 1934; bequeathed to Magdalen College, Oxford, 1965
Unsigned; no inscription
The facture seems unarticulated and smooth overall. In general the tone is blue. The horizon has been brought down from the sky, suggesting Wilson's own hand but there is blue retouching towards the left and the clouds have been strengthened and retouched. In general the sky is flat and rather dead.
The verso has no marks apart from a modern blue tape embossed with the number 1228
Cilgerran Castle is on the wooded cliffs of Coedmore above the tidal River Teifi near Cardigan, Pembrokeshire in Wales. The castle stands on a precipitous craggy promontory overlooking the river, where it merges with the Plysgog stream. The Teifi is here at its tidal limit. An earlier castle on the site was built by Roger Montgomery, who led the van of the Normans at Hastings. Cilgerran is first mentioned by name in 1164 when the Lord Rhys captured the castle. It was retaken by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, in 1204 but taken back by the Welsh in 1215. In 1223, however, William's son, also called William, regained control and it was probably he who built much of the present structure. In the Tudor period the Vaughan family were granted the castle by Henry VII and they continued to occupy it until the early 17th century, when they built a house nearby. The castle fell into ruin, but its picturesque setting made it an early favourite with tourists who, from the 18th century, could visit by boat from Cardigan.
E31 William Elliott after Wilson Kilgarran Castle, South Wales, 1775, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven and other impressions
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[1] George Barret Sr, Cilgerran Castle, c.1778, Government Art Collection, UK (2149)
[2] John 'Warwick' Smith (1749-1831) Cilgerran Castle on the River Teifi, Pembrokeshire watercolour, with Lowell Libson 2014
[3] J.M.W. Turner Kilgaran Castle on the Twyvey, Hazy Sunrise, previous to a Sultry Day (RA 1799), Wordsworth House, The National Trust
Farington Diary, vol. 4, p. 1441 (13 October 1800); Bury 1947, pl. 22; WGC, p.170, pl. 30a; R.H.R. Brocklebank: A Turn or Two I'll Walk to Still my Beating Mind : Commentary on a Private Collection, London, The Cresset Press, 1955, pp. 29-33; Solkin 2009, p. 101, repr fig. 55
Cilgerran Castle, Cardigan, Pembrokeshire, West Wales
Joseph Farington whilst on a tour in Wales with Sir George and Lady Beaumount in October 1800, visited 'Reig, Col. Salusbury's, formerly Mr. Prices, abt. a mile short of Corwen, where we saw Wilson's pictures of Snowden, - Pembroke Castle, Kilgarren Castle. We were disappointed on finding the two former pictures colder in colour & inferior in all respects to what we expected. The latter is of better colour, but is much rubbed and damaged by cleaning.' P130 may be the picture seen by Farington.
Relined. Recorded by Brocklebank as in an eighteenth-century carved wood frame.