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Villa Borghesi (The Villa Borghese, Rome)
Private Collection
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Villa Borghesi (The Villa Borghese, Rome)
1754
Graphite, black chalk and stump heightened with white, laid down within original lilac wash border
280 x 420 mm
11 x 16 1/2 in.
Private Collection, England
D300
The Villa Borghese is seen at he end of an avenue of trees, with three figures in the right foreground and others further back and to the left
Birmingham 1948-9 (71); London 1949 (70); Whitworth
Art Gallery The University of Manchester 1973,
British Artists in Europe (2)
Commissioned by William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801); by descent to the 8th Earl; sold Christie's 29 January 1954 (4); Derek Lockett; his sale, Sotheby's London, 15 March 1990 (66); with Agnews, London; with Spink, & Son, London; with Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, 1990; Private Collection, Britain; Sotheby's London, An Exceptional Eye: A Private British Collection, 14 July 2010 (57); Private Collection, England
See 'Mount Inscriptions'
Numbered on mount: 52
[1] Signed and dated lower left: R.W.f. Romae 1754.
[2] Inscribed on label lower centre: Villa | Borghesi
[3] Inscribed lower right: No. 2
One of a major series of drawings commissioned by William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth in 1754, of which 25 are known to survive. The Dartmouth set is the most important group of the artist's finished compositions on paper. Originally numbering 68, the drawings were highly prized by the earl and much admired by connoisseurs and artists of the day including William Lock of Norbury, and the artists John Hoppner and Joseph Farington. Hoppner said of them, 'they were such as the Greeks would have made & put all others at a distance' and Farington was almost certainly referring to them when he characterised Wilson's drawings as having 'all the qualities of his pictures except the colour.' Drawings from the set are distinguished by a white mount with lilac wash border, on which the artist attached a small white label, bearing the title of the work.
Farington Diary, vol. 7, p. 2775 (1 June 1806); Farington Biographical Note p. 12; Ford 1948. p. 345; Ford 1951, p. 59, no. 51; Apollo, November 1990
This is one of 20 views of the environs of Rome referred to by Thomas Jenkins in a letter dated 1 June 1754. Of these only no. 1 is missing from the serial numbers recorded in the lower right corner of each. All the Dartmouth drawings have numbers in graphite on the back, ranging (with gaps) from 23 to 61, thus supporting the total of 68 given by Farington. The mounts of all the surviving Dartmouth drawings, with their lilac wash borders, were made by Wilson or under his direction, perhaps by Jenkins.
In exceptionally good condition, largely due to the fact that the whole group remained hidden in a cupboard at Patshull House, Wolverhampton, until discovered by the then Lady Dartmouth in 1948. Held in a British neo-classical frame.