Lake Albano (Composite Landscape with Lake Albano and Vesuvius)

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Lake Albano (Composite Landscape with Lake Albano and Vesuvius)
Lake Albano (Composite Landscape with Lake Albano and Vesuvius)
Lake Albano (Composite Landscape with Lake Albano and Vesuvius)
Reproduced by permission of the Provost and Fellows of Eton College
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Lake Albano (Composite Landscape with Lake Albano and Vesuvius)
c.1770 (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 99.5 x 152.3 cm
Imperial: 39 3/16 x 60 in.
Accession Number
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, the Sabine Hills and in the centre, Vesuvius, translated from its actual site near Naples. 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.
Richard Hulse, Blackheath (d. 1805); Benjamin Booth; The Revd R.S. Booth; Lady (Marianne) Ford until after 1824; Sir Richard Sutton, Bart, Benham Park, Newbury, Berkshire; 1855 (probably) Sutton Trustees; sold Sutton Trustees, Benham Park, by Farebrother Ellis 7-11 May 1951 (1071); with Leggatt; with Gooden and Fox; or perhaps bought at auction, 29 June 1951; Private Collection; given to Eton by Kit Garnett, 1989
Unsigned; no inscription
Techniques and materials
The work has a bluish-green colouration overall, combined with agitated brushwork in parts of the sky, which give it a sub-aqueous and imprecise look in the foreground. The figures are thickly impastoed. There are no details on the hillsides or of Castel Gandolfo itself.
Verso inscriptions
[1] White chalk down right vertical member of frame: G&F...29/6/51
[2] White chalk right vertical stretcher bar: 1071X1
[3] White chalk on upper horiozontal member of stretcher: 62
[4] Ink accession number on centre reverse of relined canvas: FDA-P.119-2010
[5] Faint pencil inscription upper left corner of stretcher: 438 [+ illegible word]
[1] Several small, numbered labels verso
[2] Paper label upside down top right, ink: 2
[3] Paper label attached to upper horizontal member of stretcher: 438
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 present painting seems to be a later autograph variant of P118 Lake Albano, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. The mountains in the background have been enlarged, with the central one interpretable as Vesuvius, which would make the work a capriccio. From close inspection the woman, who is playing a mandolin, may originally have been black and wearing a mask. W.G. Constable first identified P118B as no. 52 in the list of Benjamin Booth's collection: 'Lake Albano (was Mr. Hulse's. Blackheath | Painted for him) 58 1/2 - 37 1/2'.
Booth Notes Doc. 5, p. 1 (as Lake of Albano); Booth Notes Doc. 9, p. 2, no. 52; WGC, p. 191, pl. 65b; Eton 1440-1990, 1990, pp. 42-43 & 108-9 (cat. 105) [with erroneous dimensions and dating of Wilson's Italian years]
The carved and gilded wooden frame may be contemporary. There is very little retouching, apart from strips down the sides, where rubbing has occurred. There are some small retouchings on the woman's face, the dog's back legs and perhaps the two small lying figures on the right of the foreground group. Kate Lowry has noted: Simple weave linen canvas lined onto similar weight canvas with glue adhesive. Original turnovers probably removed at time of lining. Ground tone is pale, possibly off-white. Paint film is generally thin allowing the tone of the ground to show through, especially in the lake and upper sky. More heavily painted areas are at the centre foreground and figures, the distant plain and the cloud masses in sky. Sky is painted down to the distant mountain and horizon. The pine stretcher probably dates from lining. Under UV no major damages visible. There are minor retouches to the lady's face (eye and chin) and to the back legs of the dog. Other minor retouches present in lower foreground dark centre and left. No obvious retouches in the sky. Possibly slight later strengthening of left hand mountain slope.
Updated by Compiler
2021-06-10 00:00:00