The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii

The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii
The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii
The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii
Collection of the Earl of Pembroke, Wilton House, Wilts. / The Bridgeman Art Library
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii
Oil on canvas
Metric: 48.5 x 74.3 cm
Imperial: 19 1/8 x 29 1/4 in.
Wilson Online Reference
The tomb is on the Via Appia Nuova, just beyond Albano on the way to Ariccia. Only two of its towers now survive. Here it is shown standing on sandy ground with the road running past to the left. A coach and horses are passing along it in a cloud of dust and in the distance figures disappear into the woodland. A goatherd with his dog, a flock of goats and a kid cross the foreground from the left and there are trees behind the tomb and in the background.
SA 1760 (73); Birmingham 1948-49 (53 - lent Earl of Pembroke); London 1949 (52 - lent Earl of Pembroke)
Probably bt by Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke (d. 1794) or his son, George (d. 1827)
Unsigned; no inscription
Techniques and materials
The clouds are thinly painted and unsatisfactory, especially at the left. The figures are tiny and the colour concentrated within them. The trees are very misty and undifferentiated.
Verso inscriptions
[1] On the back of the canvas is painted in black letters in a late eighteenth or early nineteenth-century hand: 'Pembroke House. Wilson. Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii'
The tomb near Albano is in the Etruscan manner, a massive cube originally surmounted by five obtuse cones of which two are still standing.
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Related Paintings
P67 Landscape Capriccio with the Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii and the Villa of Maecenas at Tivoli, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
Related Works by Other Artists
[1] J.F. van Bloemen (L'Orrizonte), Paesaggio con Monumento degli Orazi e Curiazi, Pericoli Collection, Rome
[2] Thomas Barker of Bath, The Tomb of the Horatii and Curiatii, 1792, National Museum Wales, Cardiff (NMW A 454)
Critical commentary
Differences with P61A and P61B include the presence of only one figure by the tomb in the present picture. The flock and goatherd are similar to those depicted in P87 Ariccia - II in the same collection.
G. Richardson. Aedes Pembrochianae, 1774, p. 42 (A Landscape) [?]; WGC, pp. 203-4, pl. 82b; S. Pembroke, A Catalogue of the Paintings and Drawings in the Collection at Wilton House, Salisbury, Wiltshire, 1968, p. 36, cat. 89; F. Russell, A Catalogue of the Pictures and Drawings at Wilton House, 2021, p. 118, cat. 202
Link to WG Constable Archive Record
More Information
There is no record of when the painting came to Wilton and it is not mentioned by Sidney, Earl of Pembroke and Sir Neville Rodwell Wilkinson, in Wilton House Pictures, 1907. P61, P87 and P87A together with a pastoral by Francesco Zuccarelli form part of a set of four paintings at Wilton House in identical rococo-style carved and gilded wooden frames. George Richardson in his Aedes Pembrochianae (London 1774) mentions a 'Landscape by Wilson', which could be any of the first three. The tomb provided the model for at least two eighteenth-century garden structures in Britain.
Unglazed. In a contemporary pierced Chippendale-style frame. Cleaned, blisters secured and repaired in 1936 and 1962. Relined 2006 by Richard Watkiss and restored by Simon Foulkes. Stretcher size recorded by him: 19 1/8 x 29 1/4 in.; 48.5 x 74.3 cm. Kate Lowry has noted: Not signed. White ground. Bright blue sky with wispy diagonal clouds upper left. Goatherd and goats in foreground rather too good for Wilson? Tree foliage upper right rendered in a dirty mid-green and rather smudgy brush strokes, unlike Wilson. Figure and tomb are more his style.
Updated by Compiler
2021-12-16 00:00:00