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View on the Thames near Twickenham, Marble Hill House
Photograph by Matthew Hollow
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782) and later intervention
View on the Thames near Twickenham, Marble Hill House
Undated
Oil on canvas
61 x 91.6 cm
24 x 36 1/16 in. ]
Private Collection, England
P89F
The view is taken from the south side of the Thames near Richmond and shows the prospect upstream to Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, with the pediment of Marble Hill House visible (though not accurately reproduced) through the trees to the right. At the bend of the river the red brick of Ham House may be discerned and to its left the cottages of the village of Ham.
Brussels, Collection de M. John W. Wilson : exposée dans la Galerie du Cercle Artistique et Littéraire de Bruxelles, 1873, unnumbered as Sion-House
John Waterloo Wilson (1815-1883), Avenue Hoche 3, Paris, by 1873; Paris, Hotel Drouot (Pillet, Durand-Ruel, Feral, salles 8 & 9), 27 & 28 April 1874 (16) sold for 1500 francs; ... William Congreve Russell, King's Heath, Worcestershire [?]; Anne & Elizabeth Joyce; Sotheby's London, 8 April 1992 (73); Sotheby's London, 4 July 2001 (68); bt William Thuillier, 180, New Bond Street, London W1, from whom bt for the present owner.
Unsigned; no inscription
The original ground preparation is pale pink.
[1] Upper horizontal stretcher bar, pencil: no. 10
[2] Left vertical member of frame, black ink framed with outline: 14019A
[1] Upper right corner of stretcher, old thick white label, pencil: I / 3 [?]
The region had come to acquire an elevated status by the third quarter of the 18th century, and had attracted artists from the 1720s, notably from the presence and publications of Alexander Pope, who made Twickenham his home from 1719 until his death in 1744. 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.
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 Collectrion, Orleans House, London
Exh. cat., Collection de M. John W. Wilson : exposée dans la Galerie du Cercle Artistique et Littéraire de Bruxelles, Paris 1873, p. 29 as Sion-House; A. Bury, 'In Quest of Richard Wilson, Father of English Landscape Painting', Connoisseur, September 1946, p. 7 (repr.); Bury 1947, pl. 39; WGC, p. 188, pl. 57a (version 6)
Marble Hill House was built for Henrietta Howard, mistress of King George II and was later occupied by Mrs Fitzherbert, mistress and morganatic wife of King George IV.
Kate Lowry has noted: The original canvas is a medium weight, simple weave linen and this has been relined onto a similar weight linen canvas with glue-paste adhesive. The 7 member stretcher has provision for keying out and is not original. It dates from the lining, possibly late nineteenth century. Original turnovers were probably removed at time of lining. The original ground preparation is pale pink in colour. This painting is the same size as P89, the version at Norwich Castle Museum and the composition is almost identical. The main differences are the addition of flowers in the left foreground and extra swans near the river bank at the far right. The treatment of the foliage of the trees on the left is less characteristic of Wilson in this version than the same features in the Norwich painting. However the branches of the large tree at the right of the composition have clearly been painted directly onto the pink ground rather than over the sky, in a way which is characteristic of Wilson's painting style. Whilst the right hand tree foliage is loosely handled that of the left hand trees is much heavier and more fussy with multiple small brush strokes of a single shade of dark green. Under UV light extensive retouching is visible in the river either side of the main tree trunk and around the horses and rider. It is possible that a pentiment of another rider has been painted out here. There are retouches around the two main figures strengthening their legs and trousers. However their heads are not retouched. There is a large area of retouching in the bright clouds of the centre sky and in the sky above the right hand tree where several streaks of darker grey look out of place in normal light and may be associated with a possible damage to the support. The evidence suggests that Wilson had a hand in this painting but that another hand may have been involved in the foreground and trees at the left of the composition.