Extensive Italian Landscape (Village, River and Sea…

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Extensive Italian Landscape (Village, River and Sea…
Extensive Italian Landscape (Village, River and Sea…
Extensive Italian Landscape 
(Village, River and Sea…
National Trust Images
title=Credit line
Ascribed to Wilson
Extensive Italian Landscape (Village, River and Sea, Italy) (Italian Landscape, with a House, Gate, Tower, and distant Hills)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 71.6 x 105.7 cm
Imperial: 28 3/6 x 41 5/8 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
In the centre an Italianate villa is seen beyond a bridge and ancient ruins set among poplars and other trees. Behind to the left a campanile is silhouetted against an extensive plain traversed by a winding river with mountains in the background. In the foreground is a group of stationary figures near two large rocks. Two men playing cards are seen from behind, while a standing woman in blue and white gestures towards the right, partly obscuring a dark-skinned man who holds a staff and is accompanied by a greyhound. In the lower left corner a small cart with upturned shafts appears behind a fallen tree. The scene is lit from the front left.
Probably bought by the 1st Lord Penrhyn of the second creation (1800-1886), Penrhyn Castle, Llandegai, Bangor, Gwynedd, North Wales; by descent to Lady Janet Douglas-Pennant (d.1997); accepted in lieu of inheritance tax by HM Treasury and allocated to the National Trust 2016
Inscribed lower left: O [or G] B
Techniques and materials
Heavily varnished. The figures are characteristic of Wilson but otherwise the paint is applied in a way that is not typical of his style.
Verso inscriptions
[1] Lower right corner of stretcher, black paint: 81
[1] Small metal plate, lower left corner of frame recto: 81
Related Drawings
D225 Rome from the Villa Madama, Private Collection, England
See 'Links' tab
Related Paintings
P56 Rome from the Villa Madama Yale Center for British Art and other versions
Related Works by Other Artists
Jacob More (1740-1793) The Villa Madama, Rome, watercolour, 1778 (location unknown)
Critical commentary
The narrative of the group is unclear, though from his costume and hairstyle the seated man seems to be of higher status than the other figures. If the inscription is 'OB' it could signify Oldfield Bowles as the artist; if 'GB', Sir George Beaumont. Both men were admirers and followers of Wilson.
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
NT Inventory Number 1420360
Courtauld List 1970, no.12
Cat. 1991, no.81
WGC, p. 227, pl. 121b
Link to WG Constable Archive Record
Kate Lowry has noted: The painting was examined in its frame, off display. The gilt-compo frame is later than the painting and probably dates from the mid-nineteenth century. The frame is unglazed and not backed. The painting secured in the frame by brass plates. There are no distinguishing marks or labels on frame or stretcher reverse apart from the number '81' painted in black paint at the lower right corner of the stretcher. This number also appears on a small metal plate screwed to the face of the frame at the lower left corner. Possibly signed 'G B' in black paint at lower left corner, about three inches from the lower edge. No other signature or date found. The original support is simple weave linen, medium weight. This has been glue-lined onto a slightly finer weave linen. Original turnovers were removed at time of relining and the painting is now attached to the stretcher by tacks through the lining turnovers. The lining probably dates from the early twentieth century. The pine stretcher dates from the relining treatment and consists of seven members with square mortice joints and provision for keying out. The ground is not easily visible as access to the edges of the original canvas was limited by the frame rebate. However there are no obvious signs of a dark ground underlying the sky area, so a pale grey ground is probable. Dark foreground areas appear to be under-painted with a reddish brown. The paint is quite thickly applied in the sky and distant landscape and these areas are not particularly detailed. The middle ground contains more detail with a church tower and a villa right of centre and a ruined fountain and bridge at the far right. The foreground contains a group of four figures at the centre, two seated and two standing figures, possibly around a fire, two large boulders toward the left and a fallen tree and upturned cart toward the left corner. Some of these foreground details are difficult to read because of extensive drying cracks in the darks. Under UV light a thick layer of natural resin varnish is visible over all the painting. Minor retouches to the areas of drying crackle overlie the varnish film, as do some very tiny retouches to the figures and the ruins at the right of the composition. The most extensive retouching is present in the sky, where a vertical line of raised cracks at the upper right has been retouched over the varnish layer. This retouching then extends over the whole sky as a thin layer of glaze giving the sky a flat yellowish appearance in normal light.
The general condition of the painting is good; the support and its lining are sound, as is the attachment to the stretcher. The overpainted damage in the sky at upper right may still be unstable, but there are no recent paint losses. There are no signs of the painting suffering any damage to the support or any major paint loss in the past, nor has it suffered from over-cleaning.
Updated by Compiler
2020-09-22 00:00:00