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Strada Nomentana - II (View on the Strada Nomentana)
Courtesy of the President and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Strada Nomentana - II (View on the Strada Nomentana)
1762 or 1766
Oil on canvas
40.6 x 50.8 cm
18 1/2 x 23 1/2 in.
P0810
P105B
A ruined ancient tomb on the banks of a stream at sunset, with a man and a child together with two hounds reflected in the water.To the right are large rocks and trees. A serpentine path traversed by two small figures leads towards a row of trees in the left distance. Further away in the centre are ancient buildings and mountains.
Burlington Fine Arts Club Winter Exhibition, 1938-39 (7)
Col. M.H. Grant; bt May 1935 by Lt Col. R.H.R. Brocklebank, Stratford-upon-Avon; bequeathed to Magdalen College 1965
Signed and inscribed very faintly on base of fallen column: RW [monogram, R reversed] 1762 [or 6]
The figures and reflections seem good. The sky is brought down to the horizon in the usual way over the trees, which are painted onto reserved areas. However, the sky is more than usually smooth and unclouded.
The ruin has been identified as the 'Sedia del Diavolo', actually the tomb of Elio Callistio, one of many ancient sepulchres to be found along the Via Nomentana, leading north-east out of Rome. In Wilson's day it was well outside the city but now stands in the Piazza Elio Callistio in the urban Trieste district.
E39 Joseph Farington (1747-1821) after Wilson, Twelve Etchings of Views in Italy - In the Strada Nomentana, 1776, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven (B1977.14.21011(h)) and other impressions
E72/23 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, View on the Strada Nomentana in Italy, The British Museum (1854,0708.80) and other impressions
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[1] Francis Towne (1739-1816): A Sepulchre by the Roadside going from Rome to the Ponte Nomentana, watercolour, 1780, The British Museum (Nn,2.14)
Wilson included this structure in several other paintings, for example P68 Classical Landscape with Venus, Adonis and Cupids, Victoria & Albert Museum. However it is doubtful whether the subject was here intended to do more than signify a generalised image of Roman imperial greatness in decay.
Sotheby's Reference Number: 794
Wright 1824, p. 272 (a version); WGC, pp. 90-91 & 210, pl. 96b; Lt Col. H. Brocklebank, A Turn or Two I'll Walk to Still my Beating Mind: Commentary on a Private Collection, 1955, pp. 35-38, repr.; Solkin 1982, p. 230 under cat. 123
The Via Nomentana running from Rome to Nomentum (Mentana), passing near the Alban Hills
Recorded by Brocklebank as in an eighteenth-century frame. Relining has caused the unevenness of the diagonal weave canvas to become very apparent.
15/07/2021