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Zoomable Image of Landscape with a Ruined Castle

Landscape with a Ruined Castle

Studio of Richard Wilson (1712/13-82)

Landscape with a Ruined Castle

Studio of Richard Wilson (1712/13-82)

Purchase Enquiries

Phone +44(0)20 7499 6818

Email art@philipmould.com

Price:

Price on request

Materials:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

14 x 18 in (36 x 45.5 cm)

Provenance:

Philip Goodman, until 2015

Wilson was highly successful and received commissions from those many aristocrats fascinated with Rome and the classical age, to which his Italianate landscapes were perfectly suited...

This atmospheric landscape shows a clear affinity with the work of Richard Wilson, arguably the greatest English landscape painter of the eighteenth century, and was almost certainly painted by an accomplished studio assistant.

Wilson was born in Wales into a relatively prosperous family. His father was a cleric and seems to have educated Richard privately to a high degree in classics. Although he initially trained under the portrait painter Thomas Wright, Wilson was soon encouraged to focus his attention on landscape painting, and following his return from Italy in 1756 he established himself solely as a landscapist. At first Wilson was highly successful and received commissions from those many aristocrats fascinated with Rome and the classical age, to which his Italianate landscapes were perfectly suited.

Between 1760 and 1768 he exhibited more than thirty works at the Society of British Artists, before withdrawing from the Society to become a founder member of the Royal Academy. By the mid-1770s, however, the fashion for his works began to decline, and Wilson tended increasingly towards alcoholism. He went from a comfortable studio in Covent Garden (neighbouring Samuel Scott) to a lodging in the Tottenham Court Road, unable to buy either paint or brushes. He managed to obtain the position of Librarian at the Royal Academy, which brought him £50 a year, but his inebriated state lost him friends and patronage. In Zoffany’s celebrated portrait of the early Academicians he was first painted with a bottle of port by his side, though this was later painted out. And at one Academy gathering he was reported to have taken great offence to Joshua Reynolds’ assertion that Thomas Gainsborough was ‘the best landscape-painter’, replying loudly, ‘and the best portrait painter too’. Wilson retired to Wales in 1781 and died in 1782. In that year Peter Pindar published his ‘Lyric Odes to the Royal Academicians’, in which he refers to Wilson’s tragic decline. Pindar foresees, however, that Wilson’s works will come back into taste, concluding ‘Wait till thou hast been dead a hundred year’. In the event, Wilson’s resuscitation came far sooner than that, and by the early nineteenth century his works fetched record prices.

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