View in Windsor Great Park (Richmond Park: Penn Ponds)

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View in Windsor Great Park (Richmond Park: Penn Ponds)
View in Windsor Great Park (Richmond Park: Penn Ponds)
View in Windsor Great Park (Richmond Park: Penn Ponds)
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
View in Windsor Great Park (Richmond Park: Penn Ponds)
Early 1760s (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 106.9 x 140 cm
Imperial: 42 1/8 x 55 1/8 in.
Accession Number
NMW A 71
Wilson Online Reference
A view over the pond and across the park to the sky, illuminated by diagonal rays of the setting sun. In the left foreground are four figures under a tree and behind them, two cows in silhouette. In the right middle ground, a chaise is being driven down to the pond, on the edge of which are deer.
RA 1778 (352); Welsh National Eisteddfod, 1920; London 1925 (63 - lent Hugh Blaker); Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales 1945 (7); Birmingham 1948-49 (19); London 1949 (18); Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, 1951 (52); Prague, Bratislava, Vienna 1969 (7); Milan, Palazzo Reale 1975 (47); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982-83 (94); Japan, Masterpieces from the National Museum of Wales, 1986-87 (6); Conwy Royal Cambrian Academy 2003, Great Landscapes; Tercentenary 2014 (138)
Bt or commissioned by George Keppel, 3rd Earl of Albemarle (1724-1772); William Keppel, 4th Earl of Albemarle (1772-1849) [...] Captain Edward Fairfax Studd, JP (1855-1942), Oxton House, Kenton, Devon, 1882; General Studd, sold Christie's 25 January 1918 (39); bt Hugh Blaker (1873-1936), 53, Old Church Street, Isleworth, Middlesex; 18 March 1926, bt Gwendoline Davies, Gregynog Hall, Newtown, Montgomeryshire; bequeathed to the National Museum of Wales, 10 April 1952.
Unsigned; no inscription
Techniques and materials
Stylistic idiosyncrasies such as the scattering of foreground highlights confirm the date of the work as the 'Venetian' period of the early 1760s, when Wilson was competing with the fashionable landscapist, Francesco Zuccarelli, who left England in 1762.
Related Paintings
P116 River Scene with Bathers, Cattle and Ruin, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California, for compositional similarities
P120 Dolbadarn Castle and Llyn Peris, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Related Works by Other Artists
William Hodges, View of Windsor, taken from the Great Park, RA 1787 (128), location unknown
Critical commentary
Formerly known as Penn Ponds, Richmond Park, this painting was identified by David Solkin as the View in Windsor Great Park exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1778 (Solkin 1982, pp. 205-7), though painted in the early 1760s. As was often his custom, Wilson elongated his figures in the manner of Claude. This met with disapproval from the anonymous critic of The General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer in an otherwise glowing review when the work was shown at the Academy: 'This is one of the most beautiful and perfect representations of nature in the room. The design is faultless, the costume happily preserved, the light sweetly distributed, the distances finely kept, and the colouring is bold, vigorous and warm. The subject gives the idea of the sultry effect of a summer-day. The first distance partakes of the warmth and glow of the sun in a certain degree. The trees catch the light, and give him the opportunity of drawing the foreground in a middle tint. Here he has naturally disposed his cattle. In the offship [sic] he has introduced many beauties, and has gradually extended and kept his warmth to the horizon. If we can see any fault in the piece it is in the drawing of the figures; they are not at all perfect.'
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
Old accession number: 52.139
Old registration number: 818
Booth Notes, Doc. 5, p. 4; The General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer, no. 468, 2 May 1778, p. 4; Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Society for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art, vol 19, 1882, p. 162; WGC, pp. 89, 183, pl. 48c (as Penn Ponds, Richmond Park); Cardiff 1961, pp. 22-23 (as Penn Ponds); Solkin 1982, pp. 205-7; Quilley & Bonehill 2004, p. 195; Wilson and Europe 2014, p. 312.
Link to WG Constable Archive Record
More Information
Poetic descriptions of the Windsor landscape abounded, notably Pope's On Windsor Forest of 1713. The area was invariably endowed with classical features, usually by invoking a comparison with Mount Olympus.
The double white ground with intermediate size layer and the range of pigments are both typical of Wilson's work, likewise the sharp difference in density between the foreground and sky. Some change has been made by the artist to the masses of foliage in the tree at the left and the deer and carriage to the right of the centre may have been an afterthought as no reserve was left for these.
Kate Lowry has noted: Original canvas is simple weave linen, c.11 threads per sq. cm. All turnover edges removed at time of lining. Weave cusping survives at top and bottom edges, but sides may have been trimmed. Damage to paint/ground centre left sky is probably associated with two small tears in original canvas. Glue relined onto finer weave canvas. Attached to stretcher through lining turnovers. Pine stretcher dates from relining. Double layer of white, oil ground, probably commercially-prepared. X-ray shows usual reserve for main landscape foreground and trees at left and right. Lower branches of left hand tree are painted over the impasto of the sky but otherwise trees and foliage are painted directly onto a thin warm underpaint layer. Various pentimenti are visible. The seated man at the left originally played a flute and the deer, the men and the carriage at right may have been an afterthought as no reserve was left for them. IR examination shows four black birds flying in the sky. These have been replaced by the 3 white birds, visible in normal light in a different position. Old damage filled and retouched below cow at lower left and in sky left of centre a 40 mm long parallel tear has been filled and retouched. Otherwise paint film is in good condition. Small retouches visible under UV light in the sky and foliage and around figures and cows to strengthen the forms.
Updated by Compiler
2024-06-20 00:00:00