The Valley of the Mawddach, with Cader Idris beyond

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The Valley of the Mawddach, with Cader Idris beyond
The Valley of the Mawddach, with Cader Idris beyond
The Valley of the Mawddach, with Cader Idris beyond
Manchester City Galleries
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Valley of the Mawddach, with Cader Idris beyond
1770-75 (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 91.7 x 106.7 cm
Imperial: 36 1/8 x 42 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
A mountainous landscape in Wales viewed from a high vantage point, with an overall grey-green tone. In the left foreground is a dark slope with trees silhouetted against the sky and large boulders at its foot. Below this, a group of figures on horseback negotiate their way downhill towards trees lining the River Mawddach below, which meanders along the valley from the right bottom corner of the composition towards the centre. A slope scattered with trees rises gently up to the right on the far side of the river. From behind this slope, a more thickly wooded incline emerges to ascend towards the left edge of the composition. On the horizon are the hazy peaks of Mynydd Moel and Cader Idris. The scene is lit by pale yellow sunshine coming from behind and to the left of these mountains.
[?] RA 1774 (316) - a version entitled View of Caderidris Mountains in north Wales; London 1925 (37 - A Welsh Valley); Manchester 1925 (52 - A Welsh Valley); Manchester, British Art 1934 (48); London 1934 (245 - A Welsh Valley); Hull 1936 (37 - A Welsh Valley); Paris 1938 (155, with incorrect dimensions); MOMA Machynlleth, Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape, 19 March-18 June 2016 (unnumbered)
Mrs Gibbons (according to Gillott sale catalogue); Joseph Gillott; Christie's 26 April 1872 (237 - A View in Wales: approach to Snowdon, with horseman descending a hill), bt Agnew (170 gns); either bt in or bt back by Gillott; his sale, Christie's 20 April 1904 (46), bt Shepherd; bt 1905 by Manchester Art Gallery
Unsigned; no inscription
The picture is one of several views that Wilson painted from this location, one of which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1774. The most imposing landmark is the summit of Mynydd Moel in the centre, and to its right lies Cader Idris, which contains the volcanic lake, Llyn Cau, depicted in P153. The mountain was traditionally the focus of numerous legends, supposedly the home of a monstrous giant and a Welsh seat of King Arthur. One of the factors likely to have prompted Wilson to paint this countryside, apart from its rugged beauty, was this mythological association, comparable with the classical legends of Italy.
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Commemorative Catalogue 1934 (116, pl. XL); Manchester City Art Gallery, Concise Catalogue of British Paintings, vol 1, 1976, p. 203; P. Wakelin, Romancing Wales: Romanticism in the Welsh Landscape since 1770, 2016, pp. 10-11, repr.
Dimensions framed: 122.5 x 137cm. Kate Lowry has noted: Rather ill-defined image made worse by the extensive dark blue grey retouches in upper sky and on central mountain. Figures on horseback also retouched. Light coloured smoke effect at centre right is effective. River in valley bottom lacks detail.
Updated by Compiler
2022-04-06 00:00:00