A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - II)

A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - II)
A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - II)
A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - II)
Private Collection
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
A Summer Evening ('On the Arno' - II)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 43.1 x 53.4 cm
Imperial: 17 x 21 in.
Private Collection, England
Wilson Online Reference
An Italianate rural landscape, with a high foreground overlooking a wide river with a fallen tree trunk to the left and a boy fishing with a seated girl and her baby to the right. In the middle distance is a broad stretch of water with a rocky cliff in the background to the right, surmounted by a castle. There is a shallow bank to the left, with hazy plains and mountains in the distance. The delicate light, conveyed through soft colouring, is reflected in the river and enhances the sense of space.
Perhaps Lowther Castle sale, 1947; Bonham's, Knightsbridge, 29 April 2015 (217 - as after Wilson); Christie's London, 9 December 2015 (152 - An Italianate Landscape with Children)

Unsigned; no inscription
Related Prints
E72/9 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, View in Italy, The British Museum (1854,0708.66) and other impressions
Critical commentary
Wilson spent much of the 1750s in Italy and produced paintings of Italian scenes for the rest of his life. However, he also painted views of his native Wales and it is sometimes difficult to be sure whether he meant to evoke the Arno, the Po, the Tiber or the Dee valley. This composition is similar to that found in many of his views, combining topographical detail, often studied in North Wales and Cheshire, with some artistic licence. There are many surviving versions and variants of this composition, an archetypal 'good breeder'. The present one seems to be a contemporary autograph version of P97 (Private Collection, England).
Conserved by Simon Folkes, Thurloe Square, May-June 2015. Kate Lowry has noted: Oil on simple weave canvas, glue-lined onto similar weight canvas probably in 20th century. Four member stretcher dates from lining. Original turnovers removed at time of lining. Lining is in good condition. Original ground colour is pale grey and visible where the paint is very worn in the cliff side, centre right background. Recent cleaning to remove excessive overpaint covering areas of thin paint has revealed various pentimenti. These include a standing figure and possibly part of another seated figure in the central figure group, as well as a pentiment associated with the log in the left foreground. Drying cracks in the log and in the sky at left of the composition have also been revealed. The tower on top of the cliff at far right is in excellent condition and well-painted.
The presence of pentimenti, the style of the figures and the quality of those areas of paint unaffected by wear suggest that this is a version painted by Wilson himself.