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The White Monk (Stafford Gallery)
Anonymous after Wilson
The White Monk (Stafford Gallery)
c. 1818 (undated)
Etching and engraving
74 x 98 mm
3 x 3 7/8 in.
Landscape with two pilgrims praying at a wooden cross on the rocks left centre, with a waterfall to the left. In the right foreground two women sit beneath a tree, one turning to look at a figure passing on horseback in the centre. There is a town across the water to the right in the background.
Bought through Edward Daniell, 53 Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square, London, 1860
Lettered above the image: 'MARQUIS OF STAFFORD'S COLLECTION. | Class the Sixth LANDSCAPE & FIGURES Schools of Great Britain | 5 '
Lettered below the image, left: R. Wilson; centre: STAFFORD GALLERY; right: 2. 3/4 by 1.9 1/2
The subject and thence the meaning remain open to multiple interpretations. Solkin memorably explained its attraction as a moral landscape by an emblematic interpretation of the Platonic philosophical concept of concordia discors, or the harmonious union of opposing elements, where 'the chaotic multiplicity of nature has yielded to the ordering hand of art.' (Solkin 1982, p. 66). He saw the inclusion of monks or pilgrims on the promontory as reassurance of a world anchored in divinely ordained harmony and reinforcing the moral certitude and authority of the patrician class who patronised the artist.
E17 James Roberts after Wilson, The White Monk (Untitled), The British Museum and other impressions
E70 Samuel Middiman after Wilson, The White Monk, The British Museum
E72/22 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, The White Monk, The British Museum and other impressions
P146 The White Monk - III, Private Collection, Ireland
The 'Stafford Gallery' had as its full title: 'Engravings of the Most Noble the Marquis of Stafford's Collection of Pictures in London: Arranged According to Schools and in Chronological Order with Remarks on Each Picture'. This collection was formed by the 3rd Earl of Bridgewater, augmented by George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland and housed at Cleveland House in London. It was opened to the public in 1806. The related publication was undertaken by W. Y. Ottley and P. W. Tomkins, and issued in four volumes, 1810-1818, by Tomkins; Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme; J White & Co. and Cadell & Davies, with illustrations engraved by Tomkins, Fittler, Romney, Heath and others, from drawings by W M Craig. The publication also included plans of the 13 rooms of the gallery, showing the location of each picture.
W.Y. Ottley, Engravings of the Most Noble the Marquis of Stafford's Collection of Pictures in London ... , vol 4, London 1818, p. 141, no. 5