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Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo
Birmingham Museums Trust
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo
1754 or later (undated)
Oil on canvas
750 x 100.5 cm
29 1/2 x 39 9/16 in.
Lake Albano appears in the middle distance with the banks rising steeply from it. In the foreground to right and left are groups of trees, between which sit a Madonna-like woman with a child, and a man drawing or reading. Disappearing over the edge of a hill, a man on a white pony leads a donkey by its halter. Across the lake a path slants down the face of the cliff, which is surmounted by the town of Castelgandolfo.
Birmingham 1934, Art Treasures of the Midlands (293, as Lake Nemi, Castel-Gandolfo)
Mason & Phillips; bt Agnew's, 18 December 1917 (#5074); 15 March 1920, bt from Agnew's through the John Feeney Bequest Fund
Signed in monogram on stone lower left: RW [R reversed]
Inscribed on arched stone lower centre: XV; l [no further inscription]
Castelgandolfo was and remains the summer residence of the popes. It was built for Urban VIII (1623-44) to the designs of Carlo Maderna. The site of the ancient town, Alba Longa, is nearby and Pompey and Domitian, among other celebrated ancient Romans, built villas on the shore of the lake.
D163 Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, Victoria & Albert Museum
D312 Castel Gandolfo: A View of the Town from across the north end of Lake Albano, with a Shepherd in the Foreground, Private Collection
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[1] Claude Lorrain Pastoral Landscape with Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, oil on copper, 1639, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
[2] Jonathan Skelton, Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, watercolour, 1758, Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester
[3] Jacob More (1740-1793), Lake Albano with Castelgandolfo, The Fleming Collection, London
[4] Joseph Wright of Derby Albano, 1790, National Museum Wales, Cardiff (NMW A 109)
[5] J.-B.-C. Corot, Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, oil on paper, 1826-28, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
This is harder and more mechanical than other versions. The tree on the left is pattern-like but hard in technique. The central distant landscape has some quality however. The inscription 'XV' may be intended as the distance from Rome. Similar milestones appear in P176, P176A & D407.
Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery Catalogue 1930; Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery Catalogue 1960; WGC, p.191 pl. 64b (version 2)
Very discoloured and badly in need of cleaning. Kate Lowry has noted: Simple weave linen canvas, glue relined, original turnover edges missing. Pale grey or white ground. Lining has pressed the canvas weave into the paint, otherwise paint appears to be in good condition. Some areas such as the castle and lower right foreground details are good quality, but the scale of figures in the background is rather small, foreground figures are stiff and the foliage and tree branches consist of repetitive mechanical brush strokes. Covered by heavily discoloured varnish particularly noticeable at upper right. No major damages.