Lake Albano

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Lake Albano
Lake Albano
Lake Albano
Private Collection / Photograph by Christopher Chard
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Albano
Oil on canvas
Metric: 119.4 x 171.7 cm (sight size)
Imperial: 47 x 67 5/8 in. (sight size)
Private Collection, England
Wilson Online Reference
The view is from the east side of Lake Albano, with Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence, on the left and on the right, Monte Cavo with the Roman villa used by Marcus Aurelius and above it the monastery. Between them on the shore is a prominent wayside shrine and in the distance lie the Roman Campagna with aqueducts and the Sabine Hills beyond. In the foreground, a woman, two children and a dog stand on a rocky hilltop and a woman and child are seated to their right.
Mrs Collingwood, Bissington Hall, Dalton, Northumberland; Sotheby's 20 June 1956 (113), bt Leggatt Brothers; bt by Lady Kleinwort, 1956; thence by descent
Signed and dated in foreground, lower right centre: WR [sic, monogram] 1762
Techniques and materials
The facture is highly unusual, especially at the lower right where it is thin, generalised and quite transparent. Much apparent underdrawing appears under the water on the right, immediately to the left of the heads of the small figures on the bank in the centre foreground and above the profile of the bank to their right. The form of the signature is most uncharacteristic, though similar to that on P118 (National Gallery of Art Washington). The mattness of the stretch of water on the right might suggest later completion by another hand. However in general the facture is beautiful and sensitive, as for example in the distant landscape of Rome and plume of smoke rising further away on the right.
Verso inscriptions
The compiler was unable to see the reverse because of hanging restrictions
Related Drawings
D163 Lake Albano and Castel Gandolfo, Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Related Prints
E72/39 Thomas Hastings, The Lake of Albano, 1824, The British Museum (1854,0708.96)
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Related Works by Other Artists
[1] Joseph Wright of Derby, Lake Albano and Castelgandolfo, 1792, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter (40/1957/3)
Critical commentary
The evidence of the underdrawing in the present work suggests that Wilson may have worked on it simultaneously with P118 (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.). In general both versions are extremely close in composition, right down to the position of the birds in the sky.
WGC, p. 191, pl. 65b (a version)
Unglazed and relined in Victorian gilded frame with heavy distressing. There were no major signs of reinforcement or alteration under ultra-violet light.
Kate Lowry has noted: Simple weave linen canvas lined onto a similar weight linen with glue-paste adhesive. Original turnovers probably lost at time of relining. Five-member pine stretcher with single vertical cross-member and four corner braces. Probably dates from relining. Vection cracks in paint indicate that the original stretcher was similar in construction but with narrower members. Ground appears to be pale grey where paint is thinly applied in lake lower right. There is some underdrawing visible which appears to have been drawn with a pencil rather than a brush, some of which is quite like Wilson's drawing line, such as in the trees against the lake at lower right. The lines delineating the reflection of the hill in the lake however are quite crude. The heads of the seated figures and the sailboat on the lake were drawn in slightly different positions to those subsequently painted. The sky, foreground figures, hills and distant landscape all appear fully finished, but the lake is very thin hence the visibility of the initial drawing.
Updated by Compiler
2021-06-09 00:00:00