View on the Thames near Twickenham, Marble Hill House

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View on the Thames near Twickenham, Marble Hill House
View on the Thames near Twickenham, Marble Hill House
View on the Thames near Twickenham, Marble Hill House
Photograph by Matthew Hollow
title=Credit line
Richard Wilson (1713/14-1782) and later intervention
View on the Thames near Twickenham, Marble Hill House
Oil on canvas
Metric: 61 x 91.6 cm
Imperial: 24 x 36 1/16 in.
Private Collection, England
Wilson Online Reference
The view is taken from the south side of the Thames near Petersham and shows the prospect upstream towards Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, with the pediment of Marble Hill House visible through the trees to the right. In the foreground a man is leaning against a tree, watching two companions bathing, with another swimmer seated next to him. To their left a laden barge is sailing downstream while two horses and a rider head in the opposite direction on the near bank. A man is sitting before a wall under trees in the left middle ground, and in the sky the afternoon sun breaks through fleecy clouds, which are reflected in the water.
Brussels, Collection de M. John W. Wilson: exposée dans la Galerie du Cercle Artistique et Littéraire de Bruxelles, 1873, unnumbered as Sion-House
John Waterloo Wilson (1815-1883), Avenue Hoche 3, Paris, by 1873; Paris, Hôtel Drouot (Pillet, Durand-Ruel, Feral, salles 8 & 9), 27 & 28 April 1874 (16) sold for 1500 francs; [...] William Congreve Russell, M.P. (1778-1850), King's Heath House, Worcestershire [now Birmingham]; Elizabeth & Anne Joyce; Sotheby's London, 8 April 1992 (73); Sotheby's London, 4 July 2001 (68); bt William Thuillier, 180, New Bond Street, London W.1; Private Collection, England
Unsigned; no inscription
Techniques and materials
The original ground preparation is pale pink.
Verso inscriptions
[1] Upper horizontal stretcher bar, pencil: no. 10
[2] Left vertical member of frame, black ink framed with outline: 14019A
[1] Upper right corner of stretcher, old thick white label, pencil: I / 3 [?]
The Thames at Twickenham was a fashionable location, which had attracted painters from the 1720s. The region had come to acquire an elevated status by the third quarter of the 18th century from the presence and publications of Alexander Pope, who made Twickenham his home from 1719 until his death in 1744 and was much involved in the planning of the gardens at Marble Hill. As a Palladian villa, Marble Hill House could claim kinship with both the great Venetian Renaissance architect, Andrea Palladio (1508-80) and the architectural heritage of ancient Rome. Later Sir Joshua Reynolds was amongst those who lived in the area.
Related Prints
E72/31 Thomas Hastings after Wilson, On the Thames, The British Museum (1854,0708.88)
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Related Works by Other Artists
Peter Tillemans (c.1684-1734), View of the Thames at Twickenham, c.1720-25, Richmond upon Thames Borough Art Collection, Orleans House, London
Critical commentary
The large number of versions confirms this as one of Wilson's most popular English subjects. Twelve copies dating from the 18th and 19th centuries have also been identified.
Exh. cat., Collection de M. John W. Wilson : exposée dans la Galerie du Cercle Artistique et Littéraire de Bruxelles, Paris 1873, p. 29 as Sion-House; A. Bury, 'In Quest of Richard Wilson, Father of English Landscape Painting', Connoisseur, September 1946, p. 7 (repr.); Bury 1947, pl. 39; WGC, p. 188, pl. 57a (version 6)
More Information
Marble Hill House was built for Henrietta Howard, Countess of Suffolk and mistress of King George II. Roger Morris oversaw the construction of the house, which was completed in 1729. It was later occupied by Mrs Fitzherbert, mistress and morganatic wife of King George IV.
Dimensions framed: 73.7 x 104.1 cm; 29 x 41 in.
Kate Lowry has noted: The original canvas is a medium weight, simple weave linen and this has been relined onto a similar weight linen canvas with glue-paste adhesive. The seven-member stretcher has provision for keying out and is not original. It dates from the lining, possibly late nineteenth century. Original turnovers were probably removed at time of lining. The original ground preparation is pale pink in colour. This painting is the same size as P89, the version at Norwich Castle Museum and the composition is almost identical. The main differences are the addition of flowers in the left foreground and extra swans near the river bank at the far right. The treatment of the foliage of the trees on the left is less characteristic of Wilson in this version than the same features in the Norwich painting. However the branches of the large tree at the right of the composition have clearly been painted directly onto the pink ground rather than over the sky, in a way which is characteristic of Wilson's painting style. Whilst the right hand tree foliage is loosely handled that of the left hand trees is much heavier and more fussy with multiple small brush strokes of a single shade of dark green. Under UV light extensive retouching is visible in the river either side of the main tree trunk and around the horses and rider. It is possible that a pentiment of another rider has been painted out here. There are retouches around the two main figures strengthening their legs and trousers. However their heads are not retouched. There is a large area of retouching in the bright clouds of the centre sky and in the sky above the right hand tree where several streaks of darker grey look out of place in normal light and may be associated with a possible damage to the support. The evidence suggests that Wilson had a hand in this painting but that another hand may have been involved in the foreground and trees at the left of the composition.
Updated by Compiler
2022-09-22 00:00:00