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The Thames near Marble Hill, Twickenham
Private Collection, England
Studio of Wilson
The Thames near Marble Hill, Twickenham
Undated
Oil on canvas
50 x 74 cm
19 5/8 x 29 1/8 in.
Private Collection, England
P89E
The view is taken from the south side of the Thames near Petersham and shows the prospect upstream towards Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, with the pediment of Marble Hill House visible through the trees to the right. In the foreground a man is leaning against a tree, watching his companion bathing, with another swimmer seated next to him. To their left a laden barge is sailing downstream while two horses and a rider head in the opposite direction on the near bank. A man and woman are sitting before a wall under trees in the left middle ground, and in the sky the afternoon sun breaks through fleecy clouds, which are reflected in the water.
Sotheby's London, 12 April 1995 (78)
Unsigned; no inscription
The trees are frothy and not painted onto reserves while the figures to the right are globulous and rather crude. There are no birds in the sky. The background figures are quite well articulated, but the blue of the sky is pasty, thin and broad-brushed, suggesting overpaint and the facture of the clouds seems later. In the left foreground the flowers seem over-detailed and some of the colours are post-1800. The parallel strips of light outlining the tree-trunk at the left are uncharacteristic. The junction of the trees and sky, especially to the left, is opaque and rather unsure. The water of the river is imprecise and sludgy. Overall the effect of the picture is colourful but not limpid.
The Thames at Twickenham was a fashionable location, which had attracted painters from the 1720s. The region had come to acquire an elevated status by the third quarter of the 18th century from the presence and publications of Alexander Pope, who made Twickenham his home from 1719 until his death in 1744 and was much involved in the planning of the gardens at Marble Hill. As a Palladian villa, Marble Hill House could claim kinship with both the great Venetian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-80) and the architectural heritage of ancient Rome. Later Sir Joshua Reynolds was amongst those who lived in the area.
E72/31 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, On the Thames, The British Museum (1854,0708.88)
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Peter Tillemans (c.1684-1734), View of the Thames at Twickenham, c.1720-25, Richmond upon Thames Borough Art Collection, Orleans House, London
The large number of versions confirms this as one of Wilson's most popular English subjects. Twelve copies dating from the 18th and 19th centuries have also been identified.
Marble Hill House was built for Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk and mistress of King George II. Roger Morris oversaw the construction of the house, which was completed in 1729. It was later occupied by Mrs Fitzherbert, mistress and morganatic wife of King George IV.
Relined. Coarse weave canvas is showing through. The frame is rococo-style carved wood with gesso veneer.
23/03/2021