Coast Scene, near Barmouth

Coast Scene, near Barmouth
Coast Scene, near Barmouth
Coast Scene, near Barmouth
The Trustees of the British Museum
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Coast Scene, near Barmouth
c.1760-65 (undated)
Metric: 146 x 199 mm
Imperial: 5 3/4 x 7 13/16 in.
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
View along the coast of a calm sea or lake, with a peaked mountain rising on the right and a few boats in the bay
Sir George Howland Beaumont; George Arnald ARA (1763-1841); Smith [...] purchased from John Deffett Francis, December 1867
Unsigned; inscribed:
[1] Upper right in black ink: This drawing was taken out of Wilson's | Sketch book Novr 20th 1822. belonging | to Sir G. Beaumont Bart.. and given by | him to me [...] G. Arnald | who now gives it his old friend Smith
[2] Centre, black chalk: Vortigern
The traditional location near Barmouth may be misleading. If as seems probable the inscription relates to the fifth-century British warlord King Vortigern, the coastline is likely to be that of Llyn Dinas and the mountain behind it Yr Aran near Beddgelert in Snowdonia, North Wales. In legend the hill fort of Dinas Emrys, Arfon, Gwynedd, owes its origins to Vortigern. Hard pressed by his enemies, he fled westwards into Wales and remained as a powerful exile with Dinas Emrys as his greatest fortification there. A valley on the north coast of the Lleyn Peninsula, known as Nant Gwrtheyrn or 'Vortigern's Gorge', is named after Vortigern, and until modern times sheltered a small barrow known locally as 'Vortigern's Grave', along with a ruin known as 'Vortigern's Fort'. In 1770 Angelica Kauffman exhibited a painting relating to Vortigern at the Royal Academy (116)
Related Drawings
D4 Box Hill, Surrey,YCBA
D367 Study for Snowdon from Llyn NantlleThe Huntington Library, San Marino, California
D370 Conway Castle, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
Related Works by Other Artists
[1] Angelica Kauffman, Vortigern King of Britain enamoured with Rowena, at the Banquest of Hengist, the Saxon General, RA 1770 (116)
Critical commentary
It seems impossible that the sketchbook referred to in the inscription was part of D280 Italian Sketchbook, which belonged to Beaumont from 1784 as the paper size and Welsh subject-matter do not relate to it. However, D263 can be linked to an unlocated sketchbook from which were also taken D4, D367, D370 and a known but missing page with a drawing of a ruined tower.
E. Pugh, Cambria Depicta: A Tour through North Wales, 1816, pp. 138-39; Binyon 33; Sutton & Clements 1968, vol. 2, p. 19, fig. 22; Spencer-Longhurst 2012, pp. 61-62, fig. 34
More Information
George Arnald, ARA (1763-1841) was a British painter who specialised in landscapes and topographical views. He is best known for his celebrated picture,The Destruction of 'L'Orient' at the Battle of the Nile, 1 August 1798 (1825-27, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London). This was exhibited in 1827 at the British Institution (43) and he showed many other works there, as he did at the Royal Academy. Arnald was a friend of fellow artist John Varley, with whom he toured Wales in 1798 and 1799. It is possible that the Smith of the inscription was the topographical watercolourist, John 'Warwick' Smith (1749-1831).
Updated by Compiler
2016-06-09 00:00:00