Tivoli: Temple of the Sibyl and the Campagna - I

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Tivoli: Temple of the Sibyl and the Campagna - I
Tivoli: Temple of the Sibyl and the Campagna - I
Tivoli: Temple of the Sibyl and the Campagna - I
National Museum Wales, Cardiff
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Tivoli: Temple of the Sibyl and the Campagna - I
Oil on canvas
Metric: 100.2 x 125.2 cm
Imperial: 39 3/4 x 49 1/4 in.
Accession Number
NMW A 495
Wilson Online Reference
This view is from the present via Quintilio Varro outside the Porta S. Angelo, towards the Grand Cascade. The viewer looks down the gorge of the River Aniene, with the Roman Campagna in the distance. On the cliff to the left are the Temple of the Sibyl or Vesta and the Temple of Tiburtius. In the middle distance an artist sits drawing.
London, Burlington House, 1876; Hamburg 1949 (117)
W. Hardman, 1865; Thomas Howard, 1873; William Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong (1810-1900), Cragside, Rothbury; Christie's 24 June 1910 (98 - Tivoli), bt Tooth (£105); George Harland-Peck, sold Christie's (Different Properties) 25 June 1920 (146), bt Tooth; Sir Edward Baron; c.1940 with Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, London; purchased by the National Museum of Wales, 19 March 1945
Signed on rock left of log: R.W. [monogram, R reversed]
No inscription
Techniques and materials
Kate Lowry has noted: Both the double white ground and the pigments are typical of Wilson's work. The marked difference in the densities of landscape and sky shown by X-ray is also typical, even though changes made by the artist to the tree at the right and outline of hill at the left give a rather fussy look to the sky area in the X-ray image. The alteration to the roofline of the righthand building at the top of the hill suggests Wilson at work rather than a copyist or imitator.
Related Prints
E15 William Byrne after Wilson, Tivoli: The Temple of the Sibyl and the Campagna (untitled), Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, New Haven and other impressions
See 'Links' tab
Related Works by Other Artists
[1] Adolf Friedrich Harper, View of Tivoli, Schloss Ludwigsburg, Germany
[2] Adolf Friedrich Harper, View of Tivoli, Klassik Stiftung Weimar
[3] Nicolaus Wilhelm Heideloff after Harper, Vue de Tivoli, etching and engraving, 1782, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Graphische Sammlung
Critical commentary
P52 may be the early version of the subject that Wilson is known to have used as a model for his students in Rome to copy. Steffen Egle has noted that two very similar drawings survive and that Adolf Friedrich Harper, one of Wilson's pupils, also painted two variations of the composition, one in Schloss Ludwigsburg and the other in Klassik Stiftung Weimar (Wilson and Europe 2014, p. 269).
Previous Cat/Ref Nos
Old accession number: 45.48
Old registration number: 602
WGC, p. 222, pl. 115a (version 3); Cardiff 1961, pp. 18-19; Hernon 2013, p. 10, pl. 12A
Link to WG Constable Archive Record
More Information
Very few of Wilson's Italian subjects were definitely completed in Italy and most were reworked from previous Italian studies.
Kate Lowry has noted: Original linen canvas, simple weave, c.11 threads per sq cm. All turnovers removed at time of relining. Relined with glue paste adhesive onto simple weave linen canvas. Pine stretcher with square mortise joints, dates from relining. White, oil ground applied in two layers. At upper right edge the original canvas edge is unprimed which suggests that the priming was applied to the canvas after stretching. Oil medium. Sky painted quite thinly, while landscape paint applied more thickly. The area of foliage in the tree at right has been reduced by the artist. This can be seen in normal light and in the IR image. The IR image also shows that a cupola on the right hand building at the top of the hill has subsequently been painted out by the artist. Changes to the outline of the hills at left and right are suggested by the dense paint visible in these areas of the X-radiograph. Strong drying cracks throughout lower left corner. Retouches at all margins, around central figure group and foreground tree trunk, as well as in the area of the waterfall. Minor retouches in the sky.