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Studies & Designs: Castle of St Angelo
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
John Whessell (c.1760-1806) after Wilson
Studies & Designs: Castle of St Angelo
Published 1811
Soft-ground etching on India laid paper
98 x 145 mm
3 7/8 x 5 5/8 in.
NMW A 10946
E60/17A
The papal fortress of Castel Sant' Angelo, Rome, surmounted by a cross and with an adjoining wall to the right, is seen from across the River Tiber. To the left a boat with two figures on board seems almost becalmed and there is larger shipping in the background.
Thomas Henry Thomas Bequest 1916
Lettered below the image: Wilson del. | Whessell Sc
[1] Lower centre, pencil: 4
The Castel Sant'Angelo was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. Constructed on the right bank of the Tiber from 134-139 AD, the building, once the tallest in Rome, was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle. According to legend the Archangel Michael appeared above it, sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590 AD. In 1753, the year after Wilson's drawing was made, a new statue of the archangel, executed by the Flemish sculptor Peter Anton von Verschaffelt (1710-1793), was installed on the top of the building.
D53/3 Studies and Designs done in Rome in the Year 1752, p. 3, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
D119 The Castle of Sant' Angelo, Rome, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
D119A The Castle of St Angelo, Rome, Tate, London
E60/18A John Whessell after Wilson, Castle of St Angelo, National Museum Wales, Cardiff
From a set of small soft-ground etchings by Whessell made after Wilson's drawings in a sketchbook at the Victoria & Albert Museum (D53-D53/81). The present print is taken from p.3 (D53/3). In 1811 the etchings were published by the Oxford-based publisher, Robert Archer in more than one format.
16.182
Archer 1811, p. 4
Proof state
25/09/2017