Syon House from Richmond Gardens - II - Evening

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Syon House from Richmond Gardens - II - Evening
Syon House from Richmond Gardens - II - Evening
Syon House from Richmond Gardens - II - Evening
Private Collection, England / Photograph by John Hammond
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782)
Syon House from Richmond Gardens - II - Evening
c.1761 (undated)
Oil on canvas
Metric: 34.3 x 41.2 cm
Imperial: 13 1/2 x 16 1/2 in.
Private Collection, England
Accession Number
Wilson Online Reference
Syon House appears on the right, seen from Richmond or Kew Gardens across the River Thames. In the distance is the church of All Saints, Isleworth. The whole scene is bathed in a serene Claudean evening light. Under the trees in the right hand corner, an artist sits drawing on white paper while an elegant man leans against a tree trunk. Further to the left, the mast of a boat and the back of a sitting hatted man are visible and along the bank a group of figures strain at the boat's towing-rope. On the left, figures promenade or sit on the ground.
BI 1814 (206 - View on the River Thames, lent Lady Ford); Brighton 1920 (15); London 1925 (15); Manchester 1925 (23); Exeter 1946 (68); Birmingham 1948-49 (30); London 1949 (29); London 1951-52 (27); on loan to Kenwood, 1959-60; London 1968 (5); London, Cardiff and New Haven, 1982 (92); Conwy 2009 (14); Weston 2011 (16); Gainsborough's House 2014 (unnumbered)
Benjamin Booth; the Revd R.S. Booth; Marianne Booth, Lady Ford; thence by descent
Techniques and materials
The technique is much broader than that of other versions of the subject, which, combined with its smaller size, suggests that this work may originally have been a preliminary study.
Syon House, situated on the banks of the Thames near Brentford, had been in the possession of the Percy family since 1604. The Earl of Northumberland (created duke in October 1766) embarked on a scheme of fitting up the apartments in the grandest classical manner in 1762. This refurbishment, not fully realised, took seven years, during which time the park surrounding the house was refashioned by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Robert Adam's designs for the remodelling of the interior were published as vol. 1 of his Works in Architecture in 1773. However, there is no evidence of any ducal patronage of Wilson and this scene was probably intended as generic rather than as the portrait of a private estate.
Related Drawings
D347 View of a Country House and Lake, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Related Prints
E72/13 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, Sion Park and House on Thames from Richmond Gardens, The British Museum (1854,0708.70) and other impressions
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Related Works by Other Artists
[1] George Lambert View of Copped Hall in Essex, from the Park, 1746, Tate, London
[2] Antonio Canaletto, Syon House, 1749, Northumberland Collection
[3] John Boydell. A View of Sion House looking towards Kew, 1753, coloured engraving, Orleans House Gallery and other impressions
[4] Thomas Hastings, One of the Great Ponds between Hampstead and Highgate, London, looking towards the Surrey Hills, 1831, Bank of England, London (1141)
Critical commentary
Wilson produced a number of views of country houses following his return to England from Italy on 1757. Here however he has expressed the classical connotations of the area in pictorial terms by using a compositional formula plus a warm sunset colouring, which overtly recall the works of Claude Lorrain. The work is tentatively datable to c.1761 from Booth Doc. 9, referring to 'Sion House from old Richmond Gardens painted [?] when the road was turned by Kew in 1761.' As noted by W.G. Constable, the other versions of the composition differ from P88D in representing the subject by afternoon light; in extending further to the left; in the figures; and in numerous details. However, it was from this version that Hastings's etching, E72/13, was taken.
Booth Notes Doc. 5, p. 2; Booth Notes Doc. 8; Booth Notes Doc. 9 (11); Rutter 1923, p. 92; Bury 1947, pl. 11; WGC, pp. 92, 185-86, pl. 54b; Herrmann 1973, p. 58, pl. 52; Solkin 1982, pp. 204-205; Walpole Society 1998, I, pp. 15-16, BB17; Lord 2009, p. 55, no. 14; Williams 2011, pp. 26-27, repr.; A. Aymonino, 'The Cult of Antiquity', Country Life, vol. 209, no. 4, 21 January 2015, pp. 38-47
More Information
In the early 1760s Wilson painted numerous English scenes, especially of the Thames Valley. Because of its long-standing connection with royalty and more recent association with literary figures, including James Thomson, Alexander Pope and other leading poets, the area round Syon, Richmond and Twickenham had acquired a reputation as England's 'classic ground', redolent of history and high culture. Private estates near London, like Syon, were frequently compared with the villa-retreats of the ancient Romans.
Updated by Compiler
2022-02-10 00:00:00