A View in Kew Gardens

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A View in Kew Gardens
A View in Kew Gardens
A View in Kew Gardens
The Trustees of the British Museum
title=Credit line
William Birch (1755-1834) after Wilson
A View in Kew Gardens
Published 1 February 1789
Stipple engraving and etching
Metric: 158 x 184 mm
Imperial: 6 1/4 x 7 1/4 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
View in parkland with two men in a punt in the centre foreground, putting off from the bank onto a lake, with a Chinese pagoda on the far bank and a low Chinese bridge to the left. There are cattle, two more figures and a man leading a horse on the right.
Purchased from Miss E. Sheean, 12 Somerset Terrace, Carlton Road, London, 1877
Lettered below the image: A VIEW in KEW GARDENS, [in strengthened letters] | 'Painted by Richard Wilson, RA, and engraved by W. Birch, Enamel Painter. | Publish'd Feby. 1. 1789 by Wm. Birch, Hampstead Heath, & sold by T.Thornton, Southampton Strt. Covt. Garden.'
Kew was later to become a favourite retreat of King George III. In the 19th century it was much enlarged and became the famous Royal Botanic Gardens, open to the public. The exotic variety of classical, Moorish and Chinese temples and buildings which Chambers designed were placed within an enclosed garden with a perimeter walk by the side of the Thames. One of the few remaining and the most distinctive was the Chinese Pagoda, 163 feet high. It was built rapidly in six months and finished in the spring of 1762.
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Related Paintings
P109 Kew Gardens: The Pagoda and Palladian Bridge,Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven
Critical commentary
The print was included in Birch's Délices de la Grande Bretagne, published in 1791. This comprised a series of etchings of a uniform size after topographical paintings by well-known artists of the day, including Wilson, Reynolds and Gainsborough. 36 plates were made for this work, of which eight are views of London. Apparently intended for the French market, by the time the collection was published in 1791 the political atmosphere was changing and the accompanying letterpress was all in English.
W.R. Birch, Délices de la Grande Bretagne, 1791, unpaginated
More Information
The print was accompanied by a text which read in part: 'The view was taken in the evening, when the sun approaching the horizon threw its richest hue over the scene, visiting, with golden touch, the various objects which fronted its rays, dignifying the greater masses of shade, and blending the whole into one general glow of pleasing tranquillity. The picture is finely painted by the late Mr. Richard Wilson. It measures two feet five inches by one foot seven, and is in the possession of Mr. Opie.'
Updated by Compiler
2022-05-19 00:00:00