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The Hermitage, Villa Madama
Private Collection, Wales / Photograph Courtesy of Sotheby's
Wilson and Studio
The Hermitage, Villa Madama
Undated
Oil on canvas
63.8 x 75.8 cm
25 1/4 x 29 13/16 in.
Private Collection, Wales
P91E
A lane runs across the foreground and on the left a man and a woman greet a friar. A rustic building is at the centre, overhung by trees, while to the right on a gentle slope, a line of trees is silhouetted against the sunset sky.
Paul Panton (1727-1797), Bagillt, Flintshire and Lincoln's Inn; thence by descent; Sotheby's London, 9 July 2015 (224); Chorley's, Prinknash Abbey Park, Gloucestershire, 26 January 2016 (815)
Unsigned; no inscription
[1] Incised at upper end of middle vertical stretcher bar: DINER
[1] An old torn, faded and incomplete handwritten label on the reverse of the upper stretcher bar and horizontal frame member reads in part: Dear Panton, Greatly thank ...picture you sent for my inspection ... the picture ... of Wilson but has been ... to buy back. | Most faithfully yours, O. Bowles
E14 William Byrne after Wilson A View in the Villa Madama, near Rome, called Il Teatro, 1765, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven (B1984.21.428) and other impressions
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The present work seems to be a simplified replica of P91 (Petworth House, National Trust) though in some respects it is closer to P91D (National Museum Wales, Cardiff). A label attached to the stretcher is signed by Oldfield Bowles. It is possibly written to Paul Panton who had asked him to examine the picture. Bowles himself owned a version of this composition which he sold to Samuel Rogers for 100 guineas and which was admired by Farington.
WGC pp. 202-3 pl. 82a (version 5). The label written by Oldfield Bowles (see Labels) may have caused some confusion with version 6 in Constable's commentary.
Relined. Fitted in a gilded neoclassical frame. Kate Lowry has noted: Viewed in frame. Turnover edges not examined. Glue-lined probably in 20th century and mounted on new seven-member pine stretcher with square mortice joints. Colour of ground not discovered. Paint film covers ground completely. The foliage is mostly a flat dark green without the variety of green/red/brown tones found in Wilson's best paintings of this subject. The figures have a smoothness and detail to them which is uncharacteristic of Wilson. For these reasons this is probably a studio copy rather than a version by Wilson himself.
19/10/2020