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Creator:
Richard Wilson RA, 1713/4–1782, British, active in Italy (1750–56)
Title:

The Arbra Sacra on the Banks of Lake Nemi

Former Title(s):

Studie eines alten Baumes and einem Seeufer

Date:
between 1754 and 1756
Medium:
Black chalk with white chalk on moderately thick, moderately textured, greened white laid paper
Dimensions:
15 5/16 × 22 inches (38.9 × 55.9 cm)
Inscription(s)/Marks/Lettering:

Inscribed in graphite, on back, lower right: "RICHARD WILSON: ANCIENT TREE"

collector's stamp of the Earl of Warwick (Lugt 2600), in black ink, lower right

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1977.14.4655
Classification:
Drawings & Watercolors
Collection:
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
Grand Tour | lake | landscape | tree
Associated Places:
Europe | Italy | Lago di Nemi | Lazio | Roma
Access:
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:14279
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Similar to the Dartmouth series in date and in the sensitivity of its draftsmanship is Wilson's drawing of a plane tree on the banks of Lake Nemi in the Alban Hills south of Rome. Known as the Speculum Dianae (Mirror of Diana), Lake Nemi was revered by eighteenth-century travelers for its association with the Roman goddess of the hunt. The tree in Wilson's drawing is presumably the one mentioned by his pupil Thomas Jones, when he visited Nemi in April 1778: "All went to make sketches about the Lake of Nemi.-.particularly a large Plane tree call'd the Arbor Santa, which has a hollow within that I believe w'd contain about a dozen persons & I was told that my Old Master Willson when in this Country made use of it as a Study to paint in" (Jones, Memoirs, p. 58).

Scott Wilcox

Baskett, John, Jules David Prown, Duncan Robinson, Brian Allen, and William Reese. Paul Mellon's Legacy: A Passion for British Art. New Haven : Yale Center for British Art , 2007, cat. no. 21



Similar to the Dartmouth series in date and in the sensitivity of its draftsmanship is Wilson's drawing of a plane tree on the banks of Lake Nemi. The tree is presumably the one mentioned by Wilson's pupil Thomas Jones, when he visited Nemi in April 1778: "All went to make sketches about the Lake of Newmi - particularly a large Plane tree call'd the Arbor Santa, which has a hollow within that I believe w'd contain about a dozen person 7 I was told that my Old Master Wilson when in the Country made use of it as a Study to paint in."

Scott Wilcox


Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 119, cat. no. 99, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting (National Museum Wales, 2014-07-05 - 2014-10-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Richard Wilson and the Transformation of European Landscape Painting (Yale Center for British Art, 2014-03-06 - 2014-06-01) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : A Passion for British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Thomas Jones (1742-1803) (National Gallery, London, 2003-11-12 - 2004-01-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Thomas Jones (1742-1803) (Whitworth Art Gallery, 2003-08-22 - 2003-10-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Thomas Jones (1742-1803) (National Museum Wales, 2003-05-21 - 2003-08-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Art of Paul Sandby (Yale Center for British Art, 1985-04-10 - 1985-06-23) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Richard Wilson - The Landscape of Reaction (Yale Center for British Art, 1983-04-20 - 1983-06-19) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Richard Wilson - The Landscape of Reaction (National Museum Wales, 1983-01-29 - 1983-03-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Richard Wilson - The Landscape of Reaction (Tate Britain, 1982-11-03 - 1983-01-02) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Painting and the European Continent (Haus der Kunst Munich, 1979-11-20 - 1980-01-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Landscape (Paul Mellon Collection) 1630-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1977-04-19 - 1977-07-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's Legacy: a Passion for British Art: Masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, p. 251, no. 21, p. 21, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Gage, Zwei Jahrhunderte englische Malerei, britische Kunst und Europa 1680 bis 1880 : [Ausstellung] Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, 21. November 1979 bis 27. Januar 1980: [Katalog] , Ausstellungsleitung Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, Mèunchen, 1979, pp. 206-07, no. 104, fig. 104, ND466 Z85 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 2, no. 21, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA) [YCBA]

Martin Postle, Richard Wilson and the transformation of European landscape painting, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2014, pp. 310, 311, Cat. No. 135, NJ18.W72 R53 2014 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Greg Smith, Thomas Jones (1742-1803) : an artist rediscovered, , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2003, p. 129, no. 19, pl. . no. 19, NJ18 J714 T56 2003 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

David H. Solkin, Richard Wilson, the landscape of reaction, Tate Publishing, London, 1982, pp.172-74, no. 52, no. 52, NJ18 W72 S65 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

David Stacey, [ Exhibition Reviews ] And another view of the Richard Wilson exhibition ..., British Art Journal, vol. 15, Autumn 2014, p. 122, N6761 B74 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]


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