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River and Farmhouse -I (Italian River Scene with Figures)
Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
River and Farmhouse -I (Italian River Scene with Figures)
1751
Oil on canvas
43 x 53 cm
16 15/16 x 20 7/8 in.
501-1883
P35
Two trees stand in the left foreground with two figures under them. In the centre on the far bank is a low building with a tall chimney; there are two boats in the water to the right. High ground is in the left distance but to the right is flat country with distant hills.
BI 1814 (166/170 as Landscape), lent Sir Richard C. Hoare; London, Royal Acadermy 1880 Old Masters (22 - A Landscape, lent Sir Henry Ainslie Hoare); London, Royal Academy, 1960 Italian Art and Britain (159); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (60); Tercentenary 2014 (54)
Painted in Italy and presented to the artist's friend, Francesco Zuccarelli (1702-88); bt by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart, in Venice in the late 1780s after Zuccarelli's death; thence by descent; Christie's Stourhead Heirlooms sale, 2 June 1883 (12), bt Agnews for the Victoria and Albert Museum
Unsigned; no inscription
E72/18 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Italian Scenery, The British Museum (1854,0708.75) and other impressions
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P37 Portrait of Francesco Zuccarelli, Tate, London
Presumably painted in Venice before being given to his friend Zuccarelli, this is one of Wilson's first Italian landscapes. The style is an exercise in the Venetian Rococo, as practised by Francesco Zuccarelli (1702-1788) and contemporary artists such as Giuseppe Zais (1709-1784). Wilson borrowed a number of stock motifs from their works, such as tattered peasants and the humble, sloping cottage - plus a loose method of composition which relies on a series of broadly looping curves. This style, however, did not long outlast his departure from Venice in late 1751 and compositional hints of a later, more characteristic approach are already present in the form of the fence and framing tree at the left and the prominent rock in the right foreground.





























E.K. Waterhouse, 'A Richard Wilson Landscape painted in Italy', Burlington Magazine, vol. 91, Aug. 1949, pp. 230-31; WGC, pp. 24, 70, 78, 215-16, pl. 103a; Summary Catalogue of British Paintings, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1973, p. 151; Solkin 1982, p. 178; Wilson and Europe 2014, pp. 244-45
Glue relined; label on stretcher reverse records glue-lining in 1883 and surface sponging in 1894. Original canvas turnovers removed at time of relining. Stretcher probably not original as there are wider members than the stretcher. Bar cracks present on painting face at top and side margins. Grey ground or under painting visible between branches and around foliage. There is an unresolved, smudgy red object in the centre below the mill which might have been a figure in a boat. The reddish tree at far left may have been strengthened or introduced later. The paint in the sky is thick in places, perhaps indicating something else underneath. In raking light, there is severe wrinkling throughout the sky and flattening of impasto resulting from lining is visible. No further information revealed under UV apart from minor retouches to branches and along old cracks in paint.