Richard Wilson, R.A. North Wales artist 1713-1782
|Richard Wilson worked in the mid-18thC, mainly in North
Wales, London and Italy. His classical and Welsh landscapes are reminiscent of
the 17thC French artist, Claude Lorrain, who was very popular with art
collectors of Wilson's time. Both Constable and Turner acknowledged the
influence of Wilson's landscapes on their own work.
He died at Colomendy Hall (map)
on the Flintshire/Denbighshire border (Clwyd), a few miles from
Mold and near the present-day Loggerheads Country Park (map)
(illustrated left: Tate Gallery; click
here for a present-day view).
He is said to have painted the original inn sign for the Loggerheads public house (on the main road from Mold to Ruthin), though the present sign is recent and probably at least the second copy. An earlier copy was still on view (under glass) inside the inn until recently (having suffered the ravages of time!). One unconfirmed explanation for its recent disappearance from the inn is that the owner of the inn recently sold out to the Brewery and that ownership of the painting is disputed. This may have been the version that was taken indoors in 1928, though the empty frame remained on the front wall for some years afterwards. The inn itself belonged to the Colomendy Estate until 1926. Wilson is also said to have painted a second sign for the Ship Inn at Llong (map) on the Mold-Chester road, not far from Leeswood Hall, but it was chopped for firewood when the house ceased to be an inn [Stanley, 1987].
Old Postcards of the Loggerheads Inn (from
Richard Wilson started out as a portrait
painter, the only way to make a living as an artist in England in the mid-18th
century, but the competition from the likes of Reynolds and Gainsborough must
have been formidable. Whereas Gainsborough's success with portraits inhibited
his pursuit of landscape, Wilson's lack of success in the portrait field may
have encouraged his development as a pioneer of landscape in Britain. Wilson's
typical landscape style, though easily overlooked amongst more dramatic pictures
in a gallery, is quite distinctive. A tree with delicate foliage in the
foreground. A stretch of water and a classical building in the middle ground.
Tiny people and animals go about their everyday work or play, dominated by the
landscape around them. And those glowing Wilson skies that are common enough in
real life in North Wales and equally inspiring. The more one sees of Wilson's
paintings, the more one appreciates both the vast range of his output and his
shameless repetition of favourite motifs or whole compositions.
It has been argued that Wilson was influenced by different artists at different stages of his career though it might be equally accurate to say that he was willing to turn his hand to what people wanted. If they wanted Salvator Rosa bandits, or a Vernet seascape, or a Lambert topographical scene, or a Kneller- (or even Rembrandt-) style portrait or a Claudean scene from Ovid, Wilson could make a damned good job of it. Some of Wilson's landscapes have been shown to be virtual copies of works by Dughet (Gaspar Poussin) and Ricci (Solkin, 1982).
Wilson's landscapes derived from the 17thC Roman school dominated by Claude and Nicolas Poussin. He influenced both Joseph Wright of Derby and Turner. Unlike his contemporary, Gainsborough, and Constable who followed, Wilson showed less interest in the 17thC Dutch "everyday life" school of landscape (Rubens, Ruysdael, etc), but could turn his hand to it more than adequately when necessary (e.g. "On Hounslow Heath). Perhaps the treatment of landscape as areas of light and texture on the canvas, going beyond Claude in drawing attention away from any human activity, was Wilson's subtlest influence on Constable and Turner, both of whom frequently acknowledged their debt to Wilson. Wilson's use of human figures in his paintings is not easy to understand. Superficially, they are there to provide scale and depth to the painting without distracting attention from the landscape. Even in "history" paintings like "Niobe" where one would think the dramatic action might prevail, the landscape is allowed to dominate. However, Wilson's famous quotation "Do not fall into the common mistake of objecting to Claude's figures" suggests a greater regard for the importance of figure painting.
Modern critics are often keen to avoid overstating the influence of Claude on the whole body of Wilson's work, but the most endearing, poetic and immediately attractive of his paintings are those in which Claude's influence is clearest. Art experts of the present-day tend to regard his Welsh and English landscapes most highly. Solkin (1982) draws attention to the fact that Wilson painted for reactionary landowners and was himself almost certainly politically reactionary. In this light, the dominance of landscape over human figures takes on a new significance.
Major paintings by Wilson are on public
display at the following galleries:
The links are now direct to gallery home pages, followed by links to photos of Wilsons on display.
To see a list of Wilson's paintings in "W.G.Constable" order, click here.WARNING Note: Times, prices and especially display descriptions may become out-dated - check with gallery before visiting.
Cardiff. (National Museum of Wales [Tues-Sun 10-5; free]) [up to 17 display + 6 stored]
Swansea. (Glynn Vivian Gallery [Tues-Sun 10-5; free]) [1 display?]
Aberystwyth. (National Library of Wales) [1 display? 2+ stored]
Bangor. (Penryhn Castle [April-Oct, Wed-Mon 10-5; £6]) [1 display]
London (Tate Britain. [daily 10-5.50: (until 9pm Fridays) free]) [website shows which of 30 paintings are displayed-search "artist"]
London (National Gallery [daily 10-6: free]) [2 display]
London (National Portrait Gallery [Mon-Sat 10-6; Sun 12-6: free]) [1 display]
London (Victoria and Albert Museum. [daily 10-5.45; (until 9pm Fridays) free]) [1 display? + 4 stored].
London (The Foundling Museum. [Tues-Sat 10-5; Sun 11-5: £7.50 ]) .
Twickenham, London. (Marble Hill House.[Re-opens April 1, 2012: Sat 10-2, Sun 10-5: £5.30]) .
Dulwich, London. (Dulwich Picture Gallery. [Tues-Fri 10-5; Sat/Sun 11-5: £5]) [1 display].
Greenwich, London (National Maritime Museum.[daily 10-5: free]) .
Liverpool (Walker Gallery [10-5 daily;FREE]) [3 display; 1 photo]
Port Sunlight (Lady Lever Art Gallery [Mon-Sat 10-5; Sun 12-5;FREE]) [4 display + 1 stored; 1 photo]
Manchester (Platt Hall Gallery of Costume [Re-opened 2010: Wed-Sat, 1.30-4.30, free]) [1 display; photo]
Manchester (City Art Gallery [Tues-Sun, 10-5; free]) [2 + 1 stored]
Manchester (Heaton Hall [Thurs-Sun 10-5 Apl-August only; free]) [2 display; 1 photo]
Preston. (Harris Museum. [Mon-Sat 10-5; free]) [1 stored]
Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (Laing Art Gallery [Mon-Sat 10-5; Sun 2-5: Free]) [1 display].
Malton, York (Scampston Hall [Tues-Fri plus Sun, June-Aug only, tours at 1, 2 or 3pm; £5- house only]) [2 display]
Leeds. (Temple Newsam House [Tues- Sun 10.30-5: £3.50])  .
Barnard Castle, Co. Durham (The Bowes Museum [daily 10-5; £8]) [1 display; photo]
Oxford (Ashmolean Museum.[Tues-Sun, 10-6; free])[up to 3 display? of 7 total].
Cambridge. (Fitzwilliam Museum [Tues-Sat 10-5; Sun 2-5; free]) [1 display photo+ 3 stored]
Lode, Cambridge. (Anglesey Abbey [Mar12-Oct22: Mon-Tues 12-3; Wed-Sun 1-5; £10)]). 
Birmingham (Barber Institute [daily 10-5; Sun 11-5; free]) [1 display; photo]
Birmingham (Museum and Art Gallery [daily 10-5; Sun 12.30-5; free]) [1 display photo + 2 stored].
Hagley, Birmingham. (Hagley Hall [1.30-4.30pm, Jan9-Feb9 only, 2012; £10 guided tours]) [1 display]
Wolverhampton (Art Gallery [Mon-Sat, 10-5; free]) [1 display]
Bakewell ( Chatsworth House [daily 11.00-5.30 £11.50 + £2 parking]) [1 display].
Banbury ( Upton House [Fri-Wed 1.00-5.00 Mar 9th-Oct; £9 ]) [1 display].
Nottingham. (Castle Museum and Art Gallery [Sat-Thurs 10-5; free, except weekends-£2.00]) [1 display]
Leicester. (City Art Gallery [daily 10-5; Sun 2-5; free]) 
Norwich. (Castle Museum [daily 10-5; Sun 1-5; £6.20 or £1 for 1h before closing]) [1 in store]
Gloucester. (Gloucester City Museum and Art Gallery[Tues-Sat 10-5; £3])
Bournemouth (Russell-Cotes Art Gallery) [1 stored]
Petworth. (Petworth House [Apl-Oct, Sat-Wed (some rooms closed at weekends), 11-5; £11]).
Warminster (Stourhead [mid-March-Oct, Sat-Wed, 12-5.30; £9-40]) [1 display]
Salisbury. (Wilton House [May-Aug, Sun-Thurs 11-4.30; £14]) [9 display]
Southampton (City Art Gallery [Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-4; free]) [1 display?]
Brighton Brighton Museum and Art Gallery [daily ex Wed, 10-5 (Sun 2-5); free]. [2?Wilson].
Bath (No. 1 Royal Crescent Museum) 
Bideford, Devon (Burton Art Gallery (Tues-Sat 10-4; free)) [1 stored]
Bodmin, Cornwall. (Pencarrow House [Sun-Thurs, Apl11-May 1.30-4.30; Jun-Oct15 11-4.30]) [2 display].
Bristol (City Museum and Art Gallery [daily 10-5; free]) [1 display].
Exeter, Devon. (Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery [Mon-Sat 10-5; free]). [1 stored].
Edinburgh (National and National Portrait Galleries of Scotland; also Paxton House) [0, 1, 1, all display]
Aberlady, Edinburgh. Gosford House [open for 45min tours, £6, in summer: see website]. [1 display, 3 private].
Glasgow. (Kelvingrove Art Gallery) [1 display]
Dublin, Eire (National Gallery of Ireland) [4 display?].
Belfast, NI. The Ulster Museum .
New Haven, CT. (Yale Centre for British Art [Tues-Sat 10-5 (Sun 12-5); free]). [usually display over half the 18 paintings]
Washington, DC (National Gallery of Art) [1 display, 1 in store; photos]
Boston, MA. (Museum of Fine Arts) [4 in store].
Philadelphia, PA.( Museum of Art) [3 in store]
New York, NY (Metropolitan Museum of Art) [1 stored]
Buffalo, NY. (Albright-Knox Art Gallery) [1 in store]
Poughkeepsie, NY. (Vassar College Art Gallery) [2 in store].
Cleveland, Ohio. (Art Museum) [1 stored].
Toledo, Ohio. (Museum of Art) [1 display].
Houston, Texas (Blaffer Foundation (closed for renovation, 2012)) [1; photo]
San Marino (near LA), California. (Henry Huntington Library and Art Gallery) [1 display]
Fort Worth, Texas. (Kimbell Art Gallery) 
Northampton, Mass. (Smith College Museum) [1 in store]
Indianapolis, IN. (Museum of Art) [1 display]
Terre Haute, IN. (Sheldon Swope Art Museum). 
Raleigh NC. (North Carolina Museum of Art) [1 display; photo]
REST OF THE WORLD
Munich, Germany (Neue Pinakothek [Wed-Mon; 10-5; 5 Euro]) [1 stored]
Ottawa, Canada (National Gallery) 
Montreal, Canada (Museum of Fine Arts) [2 stored]
Vancouver, Canada (Art Gallery) [1 stored]
Bermuda (National Gallery) [1 display]
Tokyo, Japan (National Museum of Western Art) [1 display]
Adelaide, Australia (Art Gallery of South Australia) [1 display].
Melbourne, Australia. (National Gallery of Victoria) 
Top locations (according to number currently on display):
New Haven (USA) 10 paintings
These are outstanding in both number and quality.
Greater London (UK) 14 paintings (but spread across 7 sites)
Liverpool/Port Sunlight 7 paintings
Dublin (Eire) 4 paintings
Oxford (UK) 3 paintings
The National Museum of Wales in
Cardiff (Tues-Sun 10-5) displays, in Gallery Four, 14 magnificent
paintings which cover the full range of his output (portraits, British and
Italian landscapes, classical scenes) and also has the important portrait of
Wilson by Mengs. In the adjacent room can be found examples of artists who
influenced Wilson's landscape painting, including Dughet and Cuyp (the painting
by Claude Lorrain was taken down into store in Feb 2003).
The Wilson room itself also displays work by Wilson's pupils, notably Thomas Jones (8 paintings), and a Wilsonesque "Lake Albano" by Joseph Wright of Derby. Less directly influenced by Wilson are several Welsh landscapes by J.C. Ibbetson and others, including many views of Caernarvon Castle to compare with the Wilson version. One George Lambert and three J.I. Richards landscapes also make interesting comparisons with the Wilsons. There are also paintings by Zuccarelli who Wilson admired and met in Venice and two Gainsborough landscapes (one a 2001 acquisition).
The Wilson room puts the artist's work into context by displaying other paintings and objects associated with Wilson's principal patron in Wales, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, who inherited the vast Wynnstay estates between Wrexham and Llangollen. These include family portraits by Reynolds and Gainsborough and a large Batoni portrait of Sir Watkin's Grand Tour. Overall, an instructive and imaginative display (2001-recently changed). Sadly, there is no catalogue in print at present.
· The Wilson devotee can also get a cheap lunch in the Pillars self-service restaurant in Cardiff's Queen Street and find two famous etchings of Wilson paintings by Woollett, published Boydell 1763 (Niobe [cat 19a] and Phaeton [cat 22a]) on display just outside the Women's Toilet! The Boydell version of Cardiff's Ceyx and Alcyone can be found in the Reading Room of the National Trust property, Nunnington Hall, in Yorkshire.
Gregynog, a University of Wales property near Newtown (Powys), two paintings
on loan from Cardiff and questionably by Wilson are displayed in the Senior
Common Room. A small "White Monk" is hardly good enough for Wilson, while the
"Shrewsbury: Old Welsh Bridge" is not fully accepted as a Wilson. There is a
large "Conway Castle" by George Barret in the same room.
Apart from the portrait of Rowland Jones in Chirk Castle, the only Wilson on display in North Wales is in Penrhyn Castle, a National Trust property near Bangor, where it hangs high in the Breakfast Room (take binoculars!). It is a unique painting looking down a wide estuary to the sea with Italianate buildings and gardens in the middle ground. Penrhyn Castle also has a typical Gainsborough landscape in the Dining Room.
The Yale Centre for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut (Tues-Sat 10-5 (Sun 12-5); free) has one of the largest Wilson collections in the world, having acquired many that were in private hands when Constable produced his catalogue (1953). Ten of its 18 Wilsons were on view in 2002 in the permanent collection on the fourth floor, including the two large views of Dinas Bran that used to hang in the London house of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn in St. James. They are displayed in separate rooms, one under "The Edge of Civilization" with a Turner "Harlech Castle" and a large "Snowdon" by von Loutherberg, and the other under "Ideal Landscape". A full-size version of the famous "Niobe" is displayed next door under "History Painting", while the following "Grand Tour" room contains three of Wilson's Italian views: a fine "View of Rome from the Villa Madama" with the RW monogram clearly visible, a small oil sketch of "Lago d'Agnano" and an uncommon "Italian Landscape (morning)" with an uncommon signature. In the "Discovery of Britain" room, there is a small oil sketch of his "Dover" and an interesting version of "Caernarvon Castle" with an artist painting in the foreground. In the same room is a view of Box Hill by George Lambert, a companion to the painting in the Tate. The famous view of the "Pagoda in Kew Gardens" is displayed alongside a unique "St. James Park Wilderness" in the "Artist and the Garden room". The collection includes landscapes by Gainsborough (five on display), Joseph Wright and Stubbs, plus a very attractive George Morland (Rustic Family passing a watermill, 1790) and several "English" Canalettos. A range of the work of both Constable and Turner can be seen, a couple of the latter showing Wilson influence as well as that of Claude. The collection offers an outstanding experience of 18th/19thC landscape painting in Britain and the only "permanent" Wilson display to rival that of Cardiff.
In London, the
National Gallery displays two important views of the Dee between Holt and
Chester in Room 35. Acquired from the Tollemache collection in 1953, they have
not been cleaned from fear of crack damage. The rich collection here enables you
to "place" Wilson in a long tradition of landscape from Giorgione, through
Rubens and Claude, to Gainsborough and Constable.
Tate Britain usually has 3 or 4 Wilsons
on display, but it rotates its large collection on a fairly regular basis. The Tate website
gives up-to-date information on what is displayed. The
National Portrait Gallery is
displaying a Flora MacDonald portrait by Wilson (see also Edinburgh) and the
V & A is displaying River
Mouth with Peasants Dancing, the "other half" of Pastoral Scene in the Oxford
Ashmolean,at the beginning of its "Britain: 1750-1900" exhibit. The
(Manchester Square, London) has no Wilsons, but does have an impressive display
of relevant landscapes by Rubens, Claude, Dughet, Rosa and Vernet.
The Tate and the National Portrait Galleries have complete catalogues on their websites, with most items illustrated, while The National Gallery has an excellent CD-ROM and has recently improved its website with images of all paintings. The V & A website has greatly improved in the last few years, with a "Search the Collection" facility that not only finds Wilson paintings but tells you if they are on display.
The Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London offers easy parking and an excellent collection of 17th-early 19thC landscapes. The "Cascatelle at Tivoli" shows Wilson at his most poetic. It is displayed in a small room but can be seen at its best from a distance through the doorway to the adjacent room, which has a modest Claude and a large Duguet (the latter bearing little resemblance to Wilson, as usual). There are a number of paintings on display by Cuyp, who Wilson admired, including some of his best work.
The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight, a few miles across the Mersey on the road to North Wales, display 7 Wilsons between them. The range and quality of these paintings makes Merseyside second only to Cardiff and London as the place to see Wilson at his best in the UK.
· The two important Wilsons in the Walker Gallery, the famous Snowdon and the Valley of the Mawddach, have now been joined by a third. The large painting, "Phaeton's Petition to Apollo", was one of a set of four commissioned by Henry Blundell for Ince Hall near Liverpool and was acquired by the UK Government in 1999, in lieu of a tax commitment of £170,000 (Blundell paid Wilson 70 guineas). This work is more imposing than another of the series displayed in the Bristol Gallery. The same room has four Wrights, four Stubbs and "A view in Borrowdale" by John Rathbone (the "Manchester Wilson" 1750-1807), though this particular painting may not be the one which shows Wilson's influence most strongly. The painting by Dughet (Gaspar) in an adjacent room offers an easier comparison with Wilson than displays elsewhere (e.g. Cardiff, London and Oxford).
· The four Italian/classical scenes in the Lady Lever are perhaps more for the specialist, since three of them are in rather poor condition and, perhaps for that reason, poorly displayed and under glass. A real treat for the Wilson enthusiast, nevertheless. The fourth, a "Tivoli: Villa of Maecenas", hangs high in the Greek Vase Room. The gallery also has landscapes by Gainsborough and Constable and the famous harvest scenes by Stubbs. Another bonus for the visitor here is the unusual atmosphere of Port Sunlight Village, built by Lord Lever next to his Soap works as a community for the factory workers.
Two Wilsons are displayed in the refurbished Manchester City Art Gallery. In room 1, the Valley of the Mawddach originally in Heaton Hall is now displayed in much better light alongside a Wright Caernarvon Castle and a Ludlow Castle by JC Ibbetson. A welcome move, even though the Liverpool version is better. In room 2, Wilson's subtle but modest Hadrian's Villa sits alongside large landscapes by Turner [Thomson's Aeolian Harp] and Claude [Adoration of the Golden Calf], with works by Dughet, Vernet and Wilson's pupil, Hodges. In the early Turner , resemblances to Wilson are unusually clear in the figures, including the shepherd boy, and a special golden hue in the sky. Comparison with the adjacent Claude shows Turner's debt to this artist, but Claude's figures are more part of the action than Wilsonian decorative motifs. To have, alongside these, one of Wilson's larger and more "Claudean" canvases, such as Manchester's own "Cicero's Villa", would make a splendid and instructive display. Elsewhere in the gallery are 12 small 17thC Dutch landscapes and landscapes by Morland, Collins, Samuel Palmer and Cox. Two more of the Gallery's five Wilsons are on display elsewhere in Greater Manchester. Platt Hall on the Wilmslow Road has an important version of "On the Arno" displayed in the upstairs Dining Room in exactly the position it was commissioned for in 1764 (signed and dated). There are no other landscapes of interest in the Hall which is now a Museum of Costume. Heaton Hall in Heaton Park in the north of the city has the fine "Cicero's Villa" on display in the Dining Room, though one can't get close to it. Other 18thC landscapes on display include a George Lambert and a John Wootton in the Music Room and a William Marlow townscape "Lyon" in the Long Corridor. There are also portraits by Hogarth, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Joseph Wright and Batoni. The building itself is a good example of an elegant 18thC mansion. Wythenshawe Hall is, in contrast, a 16th and 17thC Hall of considerable architectural interest, though the "School of Wilson", a copy of the "Pembroke Castle" in Cardiff, is of no great interest, except as a reminder of Wilson's own accomplishment as a painter.
The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, is displaying three very fine Wilson oils; two beautiful Roman scenes and the half-painting "Pastoral Scene with Musicians" (other half in the V & A, London). In the same small room are Vernet's "River Scene with Bathers" (there is a Vernet coast scene elsewhere) and a Tivoli landscape in the Wilson style by Joseph Wright. Claude's last painting (Ascanius and the Stag) can be seen in the adjacent room with a Dughet view of the Roman Campagna. Other landscapes of note include three Ruisdaels and a Bril, Edward Lear's "Thermopylae" and a Zuccarelli watercolour. The "Wintry landscape" by Joos de Momper is notable for its lack of resemblance to Wilson. There is also a good collection of Wilson drawings in the Print Room (appointment only).
Wilton House near Salisbury, ancestral home of the Earls of Pembroke, has no less than nine Wilsons displayed side-by-side in the Upper Cloister, which is the first room one sees but the last on the self-guided tour. There are 5 views of Wilton House, the SE view being much better than the others and having a typical Wilson glowing sky. Some of the others were once regarded as "School of Wilson" and pupils in his studio may have had a hand in them. A smaller 'sketch' of the SE view is also displayed; the SE painting was also engraved and 3 other versions exist, emphasizing its relative importance. Three smaller, but very attractive, oils are a classical ruins scene (Tomb of Horatii and Curatii) and two versions of a 'Fallen tree at Ariccia'. Nearby are 4 views of Westcombe House by George Lambert, who must have influenced Wilson's topographical work, and 2 large London views by another senior contemporary, Samuel Scott. Among the Wilsons, there is also a Zuccarelli landscape for direct comparison. Other relevant landscapes among the outstanding collection in the rest of the house include a beautiful Vernet, a Rubens, an unusual Claude and a mountain scene by Rosa. The tour is self-guided, allowing as much time as required with each painting, but helpful and informed guides are always on hand. In the Exhibition area is a Doll's House which contains two of the Wilson Wilton views in miniature.
In Edinburgh, the National
Gallery once had an outstanding view by Wilson of Caernarvon Castle on loan,
but that has been returned, while the Portrait Gallery has a Flora
MacDonald Portrait. As befits a National Gallery, first class landscapes by
Claude, Gainsborough and Constable can also be found, as well as instructive
landscape work in the Titians. The
Glasgow Kelvingrove Art
Gallery has a very attractive version of the Anconetta on panel (though
considered "very doubtful" by Constable )
Not too far south of Edinburgh is the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle (near Durham) where a version of the small "River and Farmhouse" is rather poorly displayed, too high in an alcove with inadequate lighting
The Huntington Art Gallery is an oasis of European civilisation secreted at San Marino in the affluent suburbs of Los Angeles (Tues-Sun, 11 or 12-5; US$8-50 including gardens and exhibitions). The only Wilson here is the original "Bathers/cattle/ruin" landscape (Constable 99b) but it is also one of his finest. At first, the picture seems dark and poorly lit under low artificial lighting, but once the eyes have had half-an-hour to recover from the harsh California sunshine outside, the sympathetic and appropriate display can be appreciated. Other landscapes of interest include two Claudes and an important Gainsborough, as well as works by Turner and Joseph Wright of Derby, though the major attraction is the collection of British portraits by the 18thC masters.
The Birmingham City Art Gallery (UK) has one of the largest Wilson landscapes, a view of Okehampton castle in Devon. Well-displayed, though under glass. The Gallery also has a Claude (Rome near Ponte Molle) is a nearby gallery and two tiny oils by Wilson's pupil, Thomas Jones. There is also an exhibition of 18thC British water-colours (Sandby, Towne, Cozens, etc). Down the road at the centre of Birmingham University, the Barber Institute displays a charming View of the Dee with an unusual (and unusually prominent) "R.W." signature instead of the monogram, painted for Eaton Hall near Chester. More imposing landscapes in the same Gallery include a Claude, a striking Rubens, a Joseph Wright and two Gainsboroughs. There is also landscape work by Marco Ricci in a large classical painting.
The Wolverhampton Art Gallery (UK) is small but has a whole room devoted to 18thC painting. The Wilson "Niagara Falls" is hung at the bottom of the main staircase. Other landscapes include a large view in India by Hodges, "The Coming Storm" by George Morland and a Snowdon watercolour by Paul Sandby. Portraits include two large works by Gainsborough.
The Southampton City Art Gallery (UK) is currently (at least to Sep, 2003) displaying its large "Summer Evening" (or "On the Arno" or "Classical Landscape") alongside landscapes by Wright of Derby, Salvator Rosa, Turner, Bril, Morland, Ibbetson and Joos de Momper.
The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has a large Diana and Callisto, one of 4 oils painted for Ince Hall in Lancashire. It is said to be the best of the four, though to my mind, the newly-displayed Phaeton at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool, compares very well indeed. The gallery has few other relevant landscapes, except for a William Marlow. "Worth a detour".
The Louvre (Paris) DOESN'T HAVE ANY WILSONS!!, but the 17thC French and Flemish artists who influenced Wilson are well-represented. The 11 canvases by Claude on display are mostly seascapes and port scenes, so the relationship to Wilson's work is not altogether clear from these alone. However, there are 4 large paintings on display by Joos de Momper [1564-1635] and the superficial similarity to Wilson landscapes is quite striking in some of these, though the "Momper" paintings that Wilson admired are thought to be by a quite different artist (Waterhouse, 1968). The Louvre Mompers are mountain landscapes with dramatic light effects. Several by Paul Bril in the same room. Wilson's contemporary, Vernet, is also well-represented, with 2 Roman scenes as well as 4 or 5 of his more famous Ports of France (15 of the latter are displayed in the Musee de la Marine in Paris).
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has the earliest and largest of 3 versions of Apollo and the Seasons, recently restored after damage during earlier cleaning. 17th century European landscapes on view include a Flight into Egypt by Claude and works by Bril, Both, Jan Breughel and Ruisdael. There are also two paintings by Jan van Scorel from the 1540s with a strong landscape element.
The Toledo Museum of Art is displaying one of the original versions of The White Monk in a widely-representative and impressive collection of European paintings that includes landscapes by Gainsborough, Claude, Zuccarelli and Joos de Momper.