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The Baths of Ischia, near Naples
Tate, London 2014
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Baths of Ischia, near Naples
c.1753 (undated)
Oil on canvas
44.5 x 54.6 cm
17 1/2 x 21 1/2 in.
N02646
P58
The view, identified for the first time at the Tercentenary exhibition, is taken from a position on the coast just to the east of the thermal spa of Casamicciola Terme on the north of Ischia, looking west past the harbour. Wilson's position was by the destroyed Pio Monte thermal spa.
Tercentenary 2014 (48)
Colnaghi & Co., London; bt 1900 by George Salting (1835-1909); bequeathed to the National Gallery, London, 1910; transferred to Tate Gallery 1955
Unsigned; no inscription
The application of paint to the horizon and foreground is typical of Wilson's hand.
Ischia is the largest island in the Gulf of Naples. In Greek mythology it was inhabited by the hundred-headed monster, Typhon who, having been vanquished by Zeus's thunderbolts and buried under Mount Etna, took vengeance by creating volcanic eruptions. In classical antiquity, Ischia was a celebrated resort, with hot mineral springs and sub-tropical vegetation. It remained very popular with visitors in the 18th century.
D220 The Baths of Ischia, Victoria & Albert Museum (DYCE.642)
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Pendant: P47 View of Lago d'Agnano, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford
Richard Wilson visited Naples and the surrounding area in 1752 and again in the spring of 1753 with Lord Dartmouth. It is uncertain whether he completed this picture during his time in Italy or on his return to England. Close examination suggests that it was perhaps left unfinished and completed later in the lower section. Exceptionally, apart from the sky, the painting agrees in detail with a drawing D220The Baths of Ischia, Victoria & Albert Museum (DYCE.642)
2646
Davies 1946, p. 178, cat. 2646 - An Italian Coast or Lake Scene; Ford 1951, pp. 32-33; WGC, pp. 110, 204, pl. 83a; Wilson and Europe 2014, p. 240
Framed dimensions: 64.4 x 73.5 cm. Simple weave linen with pale grey ground left exposed in lower right foreground. Conserved June 2001.