Monte Cavo in the Alban Hills

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Monte Cavo in the Alban Hills
Monte Cavo in the Alban Hills
Monte Cavo in the Alban Hills
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Monte Cavo in the Alban Hills
Dated 1754
Black chalk and stump heightened with white on grey laid paper laid down on buff laid paper with integral coloured border
Metric: Object size: 356 x 497 mm; drawing size: 285 x 422 mm
Imperial: Object size: 14 x 19 9/16 in.; drawing size: 11 1/4 x 16 5/8 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
The view is across the south end of Lake Albano from a point north of the town of Castel Gandolfo. Two figures rest by the forked tree on the right while a huntsman and his dog pass by. Boats and tiny figures are visible on the surface of the lake and distant figures appear in the wood at the left.
Birmingham 1948-49 (85); London 1949 (84); J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California, Rome the Grand Tour, October 2001 - August 2002; Tercentenary 2014 (65)
William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, who commissioned it in Rome in 1754; by descent until lost; rediscovered by Lady Dartmouth, Patshull House, Wolverhampton 1948; Christie's, 29 January 1954 (18); Thomas Agnew & Sons, 43, Old Bond Street, London W.1.; purchased by The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, October 1957
See 'Mount Inscriptions'
Verso inscriptions
[1] Upper left corner, pencil: 7401 GWGA
[2] Upper right corner in an old hand, graphite: 38
[3] Upper right corner in a different hand, graphite: 84
Mount inscriptions
[1] Signed and dated on coloured border, lower left: R Wilson f. 1754.
[2] Inscribed in ink on white cartellino, lower centre: Monte Cavo.
[3] Inscribed on coloured border lower right: No. 16
Monte Cavo is the highest point in the Alban Hills near Rome. It was known to the ancient Romans as Mons Albinus and a temple sacred to Jupiter stood on it.
Related Drawings
D280/29 Italian Sketchbook - Drawings 29(v) and 30(r)
D312 Castel Gandolfo and Lake Albano, present location unknown
Critical commentary
One of a major series of drawings commissioned by William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth (1731-1801) in 1754, of which 25 are known to survive. The Dartmouth set is the most important group of the artist's finished compositions on paper. Originally numbering 68, the drawings were highly prized by the earl and much admired by connoisseurs of the day including William Lock of Norbury, and the artists John Hoppner and Joseph Farington. Hoppner said of them, 'they were such as the Greeks would have made & put all others at a distance' and Farington was almost certainly referring to them when he characterised Wilson's drawings as having 'all the qualities of his pictures except the colour.' Drawings from the set are distinguished by a white mount with lilac wash border, on which the artist attached a small white label, bearing the title of the work. Jonathan Yarker has noted that the present view is the reverse of the more famous D312 Castel Gandolfo and Lake Albano, present location unknown, that shows Castel Gandolfo in the distance from across the north end of the lake.
Farington Diary, vol. 7, p. 2775 (1 June 1806); Farington Biographical Note p. 12; Ford 1948, p.345, no. 16; Ford 1951, p. 62, no. 69; Sutton & Clements 1968, vol. 2, p. 49, fig. 57; Clark & Bowron 1985, p. 267 under cat. 195; Wilson and Europe 2014, p. 253
More Information
This is one of 20 views of the environs of Rome referred to by Thomas Jenkins in a letter dated 1 June 1754. Of these only no. 1 is missing from the serial numbers recorded in the lower right corner of each. All the Dartmouth drawings have numbers in graphite on the back, ranging (with gaps) from 23 to 61, thus supporting the total of 68 given by Farington. The mounts of all the surviving drawings, with their lilac wash borders, were made by Wilson or under his direction, perhaps by Jenkins.
Very good condition overall. A small piece of coloured paper has been added to the border at the lower right corner, presumably to make up for a mismeasurement.