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Cader Idris, with the Mawddach River
Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna, Jnr. Fund
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Cader Idris, with the Mawddach River
c.1774 (undated)
Oil on canvas
89.8 x 105.5 cm
35 5/16 x 41 1/2 in.
1989.52
P179A
The view is of the peaks of Mynydd Moel and Cader Idris from a point several miles to the north-east, near the banks of the River Mawddach in Merionethshire, North Wales. The town of Dolgellau is hidden by the hill on the right of the view and a house called Gelligemlyn is visible in the valley.
RA 1774 (316) - a version entitled View of Caderidris Mountains in north Wales ; RA Old Masters 1892 (7); Corporation of London, Guildhall 1899 Loan Exhibition of Works by J.M.W. Turner and his Contemporaries (162); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (136b); London, Agnews 1989, Master Paintings - Recent Acquisitions (39); Denver 1993 (7)
Col. Michael Glazebrook, Junior Carlton Club, Pall Mall, sold Christie's 21 June 1890 (131; £99-15-0); H.W. Worsley-Taylor; F. Worsley-Taylor Q.C. by 1892; Sir James Worsley-Taylor and by descent to Dorothea Worsley-Taylor, Haslemere, Surrey; Sotheby's London, 15 March 1978 (113); Leggatt & Sons, London; on loan to the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff 1978-83; with Leggatt, London in 1984; 1989, bought by the Cleveland Museum of Art
Unsigned; no inscription
The picture is one of several views that Wilson painted from this location, one of which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1774. The most imposing landmark is the summit of Mynydd Moel in the centre, and to its right lies Cader Idris, which contains the volcanic lake, Llyn Cau, depicted in P153. The mountain was traditionally the focus of numerous legends, supposedly the home of a monstrous giant and a Welsh seat of King Arthur. One of the factors likely to have prompted Wilson to paint this countryside, apart from its rugged beauty, was this mythological association, comparable with the classical legends of Italy
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Although almost all of Wilson's earlier pictures of Wales suggest some association with that country's heroic past, here the emphasis is on the pleasing beauty of the land. Katharine Baetjer has noted how the loosely brushed sky at the upper right and the soft, misty light over the river contribute to the naturalistic effect.
CMA 89.52
Booth Notes Doc. 4, p. 2; WGC pp. 180-81, pl. 45a (untraced version); Solkin 1982, pp. 241-242, no. 136b; Baetjer 1993, pp. 100-101
This is very probably the version described by Benjamin Booth as in the collection of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn at Wynnstay, along with a view of Snowdon (P152B).
Dimensions framed: 105.5 x120.5 x 7 cm (41 1/2 x 47 7/16 x 2 3/4 in.)
27/04/2022